Poems of Guido Gezelle
The Bruges-born poet-priest Guido Gezelle(1830–1899) is generally considered one of the masters of 19th-century European lyric poetry. At the end of his life and in the first two decades of the 20th century, Gezellewas hailed by the avant-garde as the founder of modern Flemish poetry. His unique voice was belatedly recognised in the Netherlands and often compared with his English contemporary Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889). In this bilingual anthology, award-winning translator Paul Vincent selects a representative picture of Gezelle’soutput, from devotional through narrative, to celebratory and expressionistic. Gezelle’sfavourite themes are childhood, the Flemish landscape, friendship, nature, religion and the Flemish vernacular, and his apparently simple poems conceal a sophisticated prosody and a dialogue with spiritual and literary tradition. However, an important barrier to wider international recognition of his lyric genius up to now has been the absence of translations that do justice to the vigour and musicality of Gezelle’sWest Flemish idiom. Two of the translations included go some way to redressing the balance: ‘TheWatter-Scriever’ by Scotland’s national poet Edwin Morgan and ‘A Little Leaf . . .’ by Francis Jones. Both translators make brilliant use of their own vernaculars (Glaswegian and North Yorkshire respectively) to bring Gezelleto life for the non-Dutch-speaking reader.
Subjects: Language & Literature, History
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