Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jacques Prévert – trans. by Anne Berkeley



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“Jacques Prévert (1900-1977) remains one of France's most popular poets. His books are on sale in supermarkets. His songs were immortalised by Juliette Greco and Yves Montand, and as a scriptwriter he'd be remembered for Les Enfants du Paradis alone. During the German occupation of France, his poetry sounded in protest. He was on the side of the underdog - the child, the worker - and he ridiculed hierarchies and rulers whether military, clerical or civil. Lyrical, witty and often surreal, his writing presents a challenge to the translator. So far as possible, I've attempted to honour the presence of rhythm and rhyme in the original. His puns and wordplay die when transplanted from their native French, so I have attempted to give the English an equivalent force. So these are not always literal translations but I hope they are closer in spirit to the original.”

Anne Berkeley
Cambridge, England
April 2000

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