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The Sonnets: Including The Erotic Sonnets, The Crimean Sonnets, and Uncollected Sonnets

9.9524.99

Author: Adam Mickiewicz

Translated by Charles S. Kraszewski

Because the poetry of Adam Mickiewicz is so closely identified with the history of the Polish nation, one often reads him as an institution, rather than a real person. In the Crimean and Erotic Sonnets of the national bard, we are presented with the fresh, real, and striking poetry of a living, breathing man of flesh and blood. Mickiewicz proved to be a master of Petrarchan form. His Erotic Sonnets chronicle the development of a love affair from its first stirrings to its disillusioning denouement, at times in a bitingly sardonic tone. The Crimean Sonnets, a verse account of his journeys through the beautiful Crimean Peninsula, constitute the most perfect cycle of descriptive sonnets since du Bellay.

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Because the poetry of Adam Mickiewicz is so closely identified with the history of the Polish nation, one often reads him as an institution, rather than a real person. In the Crimean and Erotic Sonnets of the national bard, we are presented with the fresh, real, and striking poetry of a living, breathing man of flesh and blood. Mickiewicz proved to be a master of Petrarchan form. His Erotic Sonnets chronicle the development of a love affair from its first stirrings to its disillusioning denouement, at times in a bitingly sardonic tone. The Crimean Sonnets, a verse account of his journeys through the beautiful Crimean Peninsula, constitute the most perfect cycle of descriptive sonnets since du Bellay. The Sonnets of Adam Mickiewicz are given in the original Polish, in facing-page format, with English verse translations by Charles S. Kraszewski. Along with the entirety of the Crimean and Erotic Sonnets, other “loose” sonnets by Mickiewicz are included, which provide the reader with the most comprehensive collection to date of Mickiewicz’s sonneteering. Fronted with a critical introduction, The Sonnets of Adam Mickiewicz also contain generous textual notes by the poet and the translator.

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Author

Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855) is the national poet of Poland. He was successful in every genre at which he tried his hand, setting the benchmark for excellence in poetry, prose and drama for all the writers that came after him. His lyric poems, collected in Ballads and Romances [Ballady i romanse, 1822], ushered in the Romantic Movement in Polish literature. His Erotic and Crimean Sonnets [Sonety miłosne and Sonety krymskie, 1826] form one of the most accomplished cycles in that demanding form since Petrarch. His narrative poems, Konrad Wallenrod (1828) and Grażyna (1823), reveal his sustained mastery with longer poetic genres. Mickiewicz’s epic in twelve cantos, Pan Tadeusz (1834), is universally recognized as Poland’s national epic, as well as the last Vergilian epic written in Europe.

Prose occupies a rather minor niche in Mickiewcz’s corpus of writings. The quasi-Biblical  Books of the Polish Nation and Polish Pilgrimage [Księgi narodu i pielgrzymstwa polskiego, 1832] put the English reader in mind of a more practicable William Blake. With their socially and politically-applied Christianity, Mickiewicz had an appreciable influence on the thought of his friend, Lammenais. Finally, his Cours de littérature slave professé au Collége de France, delivered during his exile in Paris, and published posthumously in 1860, is one of the first balanced and comprehensive accounts of the Slavic traditions in literature and culture to meet Western eyes.

It is impossible to assess the importance of Adam Mickiewicz to the Polish consciousness. During the period of the Partitions, which lasted from 1795 until 1918, Poles looked to Mickiewicz for the guidance that political figures could not supply them. He died in exile, trying to raise troops in Turkey for the Polish independence struggles.

Translator

Charles S. Kraszewski (b. 1962) is a poet and translator. He is the author of three volumes of original verse (Diet of Nails; Beast; Chanameed). Several of his translations of Polish and Czech literature have been published by Glagoslav, among which may be found: Adam Mickiewicz’s Forefathers’ Eve (2016) and Sonnets (2018), Zygmunt Krasiński’s Dramatic Works (2018) and Stanisław Wyspiański’s Acropolis: the Wawel Plays (2017). His translations of the poetry of T.S. Eliot, Robinson Jeffers, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti into Polish have appeared in the Wrocław monthly Odra. He is a member of the Union of Polish Writers Abroad (London) and of the Association of Polish Writers (Kraków).

Additional information

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Author

Adam Mickiewicz

Pages

188 pages

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Hardcover, Paperback, EPUB, Kindle, PDF