Winter 1957 • Vol. XIX No. 1 Book ReviewsJanuary 1, 1957 |

The Extraordinary Char

Hypnos Waking, Poetry and Prose by René Char. Selected and translated by Jackson Mathews and others. Random House. $5.00. René Char is a great poet, and I hope the bilingual edition got up by Mr. Jackson Mathews will mark something of a date in this country. Mathews merits well by amateurs of French letters, but I have the thankless task of saying that his translation is not the greatest of his merits. His verses are not much inferior to his collaborators', which means they are very creditable, although they lack maybe a little point. It is in the prose, almost all of which comes translated by him, that Mathews falls down. Char's vocabulary and syntax are extremely personal, and I wonder if they could not have been better rendered by following more closely the word order of the French; and if Mathews would not recreate, as his collaborators do at their best, he should simply have translated rather than explained. But one can't really blame him. There is very little prose poetr

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Hypnos Waking, Poetry and Prose by René Char. Selected and translated by Jackson Mathews and others. Random House. $5.00. René Char is a great poet, and I hope the bilingual […]

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