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Synopsis

Guillaume Apollinaire’s final years exactly coincided with the clamorous advent of European Modernism and with the cataclysms of WWI. In The Self-Dismembered Man, poet Donald Revell offers new English translations of the most powerful poems Apollinaire wrote during those years: poems of nascent surrealism, of combat and of war-weariness. Here, too, is Apollinaire’s last testament, “The Pretty Redhead,” a farewell to the epoch that he—as poet, convict, art-critic, artilleryman and boulevardier—did so much to conjure and sustain until his death on Armistice Day in 1918. Readers of Apollinaire’s more familiar early work, Alcools (Wesleyan, 1995), will find here a darker and yet more tender poet, a poet of the broken world who shares entirely the world’s catastrophe even as he praises to the end its glamour and its strange innocence. This English translation, facing the original French, illuminates Apollinaire’s crucial and continuing influence on the European and American avant-garde. The volume includes a short translator’s preface.

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