Although the troubadours flourished at the height of the Middle Ages in southern France, their songs of romantic love, with pleasing melodies and intricate stanzaic patterns, have inspired poets and song writers ever since, from Dante to Chaucer, from Renaissance sonneteers to the Romantics, and from Verlaine and Rimbaud to modern rock lyricists. Yet despite the incontrovertible influence of the troubadours on the development of both poetry and music in the West, there existed no comprehensive anthology of troubadour lyrics that respected the verse form of the originals until now.
Lark in the Morning honors the meter, word play, punning, and sound effects in the troubadours' works while celebrating the often playful, bawdy, and biting nature of the material. Here, Robert Kehew augments his own verse translations with those of two seminal twentieth-century poets—Ezra Pound and W. D. Snodgrass—to provide a collection that captures both the poetic pyrotechnics of the original verse and the astonishing variety of troubadour voices. This bilingual edition contains an introduction to the three major periods of the troubadours—their beginning, rise, and decline—as well as headnotes that briefly put each poet in context. Lark in the Morning will become an essential collection for those interested in learning about and teaching the origins of Western vernacular poetry.
"This is an important book. . . . It is a handsomely produced and illustrated selection, in paperback, of some of the most important lyrics composed between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. . . . [It] is likely to generate a new wave of interest, among undergraduates and the general reader especially, in the emotional vitality and rhetorical freshness of a group of poets who . . . influenced profoundly not only medieval poets such as Dante and Chaucer, but English and French Romanticism and even, distantly, rock lyricists. . . . A valuable book: a useful and stimulating introduction to a poetic tradition undergraduate students and the general reader might otherwise neglect."—Michael P. Kuczynski, Medieval Review
Michael P. Kuczynski