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Published in 1923, near the end of his life, the fifty-five Sonnets to "Orpheus" were completed in less than a month and famously described by Rilke as 'perhaps the most mysterious - in the way they arrived and entrusted themselves to me - the most enigmatic dictation I have ever received: the whole first part was taken down in a single breathless act of obedience, between the 2nd and 5th of February 1922, without one word being in doubt or having to be changed.' The result was both a masterpiece of German literature and a landmark of modern poetry, pondering the dismembered fate of Orpheus in a belated world - the mythical poet and son of Apollo who could enchant beasts and birds and spirits with his song, and who might have brought his Eurydice back from the dead, had he not turned to look before she set foot in the world of the living...Don Paterson's translation is an act of intensely sustained creative attention, which has produced new poems of remarkable independence. At the same time - and for the first time - the lucidity of this great sequence has been honoured, as well as Rilke's intuition that 'it was the task of transforming the sonnet, of picking it up and, as it were, taking it along on the run, without destroying it, that was in this instance my particular problem and my project.'

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Product details

  • Hardback | 80 pages
  • 136 x 250 x 14mm | 209g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0571222684
  • 9780571222681
  • 849,094

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About Don Paterson

Don Paterson has won the T. S. Eliot Prize (twice), the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Prize.

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