The Poems of François Villon

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UPNE, 1982 - Literary Criticism - 246 pages
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This bilingual edition of the 15th-century poet’s work incorporates recent scholarship.
 

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Contents

THE LEGACY i
21
You lost men deaf to reason
159
May he meet the creatures who belch fire
173
Have pity have pity on me
191
I am Francois which is my cross
207
Notes
221
Selected Bibliography
243
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About the author (1982)

Villon is one of the first great French lyric poets and one of the greatest French poets of any age. His "testaments" are mock wills, written in a racy blend of French and underworld slang. Scattered here and there among the ironic items of bequest are exquisite ballads and lyrics, some crystallizing classic themes of medieval literature. Villon's poetry uses traditional forms to create a powerful poetic personality during a period in which poetic individualism was rare. Indeed, his exquisite "Ballad of the Hanged Men" ("Ballade des Pendus") (1489) offers one of the most immediate depictions of death in Western poetry. Moreover, his dissolute life, lived among thieves and prostitutes, makes him a prototype of later decadent or bohemian poets. He was at various times arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and nearly put to death; his final sentence was commuted to exile by King Louis XI on accession to the throne, when he declared amnesties of all sorts, according to the usual practice of the time. It is not known how Villon spent his last years, after his release from prison. Villon's poetry has been translated by Rossetti (see Vol. 1), Synge (see Vol. 1), and Swinburne (see Vol. 1).

Galway Kinnell was born on February 1, 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island. During World War II, he served in the Navy. He received a B.A. from Princeton University in 1948 and a M.A. from the University of Rochester in 1949. He taught writing at many schools around the world, including universities in France, Australia, and Iran, and served as director of the creative writing programs at New York University. He wrote several collections of poetry including Body Rags, The Book of Nightmares, Walking down the Stairs, When One Has Lived a Long Time, Imperfect Thirst, and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and a National Book Award for Selected Poems in 1983. He also wrote one novel entitled Black Light. He died from leukemia on October 28, 2014 at the age of 87.

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