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Hugo's poetry

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:31 am
by between4walls
So, which of Hugo's poems has anyone here read? Likes and/or dislikes? Translation recommendations?
I like what I've read of Les Chatiments in a bilingual edition by Blackmore, but there seems to be one huge mistake in the translation of "L'Expiation" (which I highly recommend as a sort of bitter companion to the Waterloo chapters in LM). The last words are "DIX-HUIT BRUMAIRE!" which the translator chooses to render "NINTH OF NOVEMBER!"
If Hugo had wanted to use the regular calender date, he would have. Oh, well.

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:59 pm
by Pantinois
I love his poem "the poor children" It's so beautiful!
I think it very much relates to Gavroche as well, who is one of my favourite characters
Has anyone here read it? I just found it online :)

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:41 am
by mahlerite
I also have the Blackmore edition of Hugo’s poetry. Unfortunately, I don’t read French so I can’t really pass judgment on the quality of the text, but from the perspective of an English speaker, the poems read quite naturally. What I liked best was that the translators acknowledged that Hugo (being Hugo) would not have approved of a volume of selected poems, seeing as his works were “an indivisible whole.” They quote Hugo, in proper form, as saying that “publishers who, exploiting the public domain, will abridge my work, under the pretext of offering selections...will be...imbeciles.” :D
Aside from that, I really loved the poetry. It has been a while since I read this, but I remember being impressed by the selections from La Légende des siècles – Hugo at his epic, sweeping best. Next to that, I liked the charming contrast of L'Art d'être grand-père, mostly because I love thinking of him being a loving grandfather, especially since the lives of his own children were so tragic.
Does anyone know of any other good English translations of Hugo’s poetry? I think it’s a shame (unless I’ve just been having remarkably bad luck in finding any of it) that his poetry isn’t more available in translation, especially since I believe he considered himself to be primarily a poet.

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:03 pm
by IBelieveInYou
I came here to make such a thread and I'm so glad to see that there already is one! I bought a book from Paris which has both the French original and an amazing English translation and I'm in love with many of the poems. When I return home and have the book with me I'd like to discuss many of them with you!

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:57 am
by The Bricklayer
I've read translations of "Sur Une Barricade" and "L'aurore s'allume". I really should read more of them.

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:41 am
by Morgan
I haven't read very much of his poetry, but I went to a concert in May that was French poetry set to music and had Adieux de l'hotesse arabe and Soleils couchants, so I've read those.

Soleils couchants I really liked (it reminded me a lot of Valjean at the very end of the Brick)

I would definitely like to read more of his poetry.

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:29 pm
by Gervais
I've been reading a little bit of them (translated, woo) and when I've read more, I'll probably have a favorite picked out. Maybe. :lol: (Gervais is horrible at picking favorites)

The free translation on iBooks, titled "Poetry" with a a green cover, doesn't list a translator that I can see, and I know nothing about how accurate they are, but I think they read rather well.

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:28 pm
by between4walls
The Bricklayer wrote:I've read translations of "Sur Une Barricade" and "L'aurore s'allume". I really should read more of them.


Ooh, "Sur Une Barricade"! I had always thought the kid was implied to have been shot at the end (due to reading a shorter extract/version), but I just read the longer extract/version and found out the officers let him go! :) Which is a much less depressing end, and more in tune with them letting him go when they think he won't come back.

Even though just cutting it off at "Me voilà" is awesome/more poetic than the versions that go on and on with Greek allusions.

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:17 pm
by humanracer
Poland - highly political look at the partition of Poland. I would love to gain more of an insight into Hugo's views about the political map of Europe. I know he was a strong supporter of Italian unification. He probably wasn't keen on Germany but then I have no sources to say either way. We know he opposed the treatment of Irish nationalists in the United Kingdom. I have seen some texts that appear to show he supported European integration but I cannot find them right now.

Back to poems, I find a lot of the childhood themed ones are really good.

Re: Hugo's poetry

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:01 pm
by IBelieveInYou
Currently the poems about his daughter leopoldine's death are ruining my life.
I still have a few poems in my book unread and when I finish I will be sure about my favorites, which I think I've already picked.
I love Poland!