François Villon in English Poetry

François Villon in English Poetry

Translation and Influence

Claire Pascolini-Campbell





Responses from the nineteenth century onwards to the medieval French poet.
Medieval Paris' paradigmatic poet, François Villon, has long captured the imaginations of creative writers. Attracted by his beguilingly pseudo-autobiographical literary persona and a body of work that moves seamlessly between bawdy humour, bitterness, devotion, and regret, Villon's heirs have been many and varied. A veritable "poet's poet", his oeuvre has appealed to fellow versifiers in particular, providing a rich source for translation and imitation.
This book explores creative responses to Villon by British and North American poets, focusing on translations and imitations of his work by Algernon Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ezra Pound, Basil Bunting, and Robert Lowell. They are presented as exemplary of the greater trend of rendering Villon into English, transporting the reader from the first verse translations of his work in the nineteenth century, to post-modern adaptations and parodies of Villon in the twentieth. By concentrating on the manner in which individual poets have reacted to Villon, and to one another, the study unravels multiple layers of poetic relations. It argues that the relationships that exist between the translated or imitated texts are collaborative as much as they are competitive, establishing a canon of Villon in English poetry whose allusions are not only to the French source, but to the parallel corpus of English translations and imitations.

CLAIRE PASCOLINI-CAMPBELL holds degrees in medieval and comparative literatures from the University of St Andrews and University College London.

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November 2018
224 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
ISBN: 9781843845140
Format: Hardback
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004150, LIT004120
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Table of Contents

Then and Now: The Legend of Villon in the Middle Ages and in Modernity
Villon and Swinburne: Finding and Singing Villon
Villon and Rossetti: Poetics of Strangeness
Villon and Pound: Modernity and the 'Mediaeval Dream'
Villon and Bunting: Prison-Writing and Parody
Villon and Lowell: Imitation and the Visible Translator

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