Between 1852 and 1865, Charles Baudelaire translated a lot of Poe’s works, especially his short fiction. In fact, he was one of the reasons Poe’s works became renown and admired in Europe. Although the two men never met, Baudelaire believed that he had met a kindred spirit in Poe.
My copy of Baudelaire’s translation of The Raven is a bilingual edition illustrated by Hamiru Aqi. I love the drawings as well as having the two poets’ words side by side.
Poe’s famous first lines:
and Baudelaire’s translation:
“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.” Edgar Allan Poe
“To elevate the soul poetry is necessary” this is so so true…………… It elevated my soul today to read your blog
I know how much you love poetry too….
wonderful. French and English are so different in feeling…same meanings, more or less the same words but the English is almost abrupt compared to the French. Our language is made for people who like to get to the point. French is…not. I like the pictures too.
Often the beauty of the English language can be in its simplicity, I agree. And French, well, your comment said it all, haha!
A special book for sure. I don’t read enough classics–in fact, it’s been quite some time since I have (though my book club will be reading A Tale of Two Cities this spring, so that will give me a chance to revisit that wonderful book). But I’d love to go back and revisit some of Poe’s stuff, too. I only read a bit of his in high school, which is a shame to admit!
Poe’s short stories are worth rereading, especially for a thriller writer; some of them are quite bone chilling. I wonder if people are often put off reading or rereading classics as adults because of their introduction to them as children in school. Perhaps by a bad teacher who made a certain book or author incredibly dull (I’ve had my share). Or maybe it’s just that there are new books to read. So many books, so little time!
That’s a good point about the initial introduction to classics. In high school and college, reading is always disrupted to talk about this; dissect that; write a report on that, etc. Of course, that’s necessary to learn, and I loved my lit courses, but sometimes you just want to read a book and leave it at that. 🙂
Reading without being graded, yes!
It must be tough to translate poetry, to get the rhymes and the rhythms in there. They might even have to be kindred souls for it to truly work. Poetry is a magical kind of language because it does elevate the soul more than any other kind of writing. You’re making me want to read The Raven again – perfect for a snow day!
Good point, Sheila – translating poetry must be particularly difficult, so much to get across in so few words. Hope you’re enjoying the snow – I saw that you got quite a lot!
Yes! I had to take a vacation day from work but it was worth it because the roads were pretty bad. Just came back from cross country skiing and haven’t done that in years because there’s usually not enough snow around here. 🙂
What fun! I was watching some people cross country ski in our local park this morning while walking my dog- such a lovely sight.
Hahah! I’m sure I wasn’t such a lovely sight. I kept falling and swerving in a weird way but it was fun. 🙂
At least you were having fun!
Did you ever see The Simpson’s version of the Raven? It’s cool. Even my high school students liked it!
I’ve never seen it but I’ll have a look at it, thanks!
Thanks for the reminder.
Glad you enjoyed it. Happy reading.
I was just over at Fiction Fan’s Tuesday Terror post saying that I prefer Poe when I want to feel scared. I will say it again! But the comment about French is priceless. I only have high school French and haven’t used it it years. I miss hearing it spoken.
Isn’t that comment about French wonderful? Haha.
You’re right, Poe is just the writer to read when one wants to feel scared….
I haven’t read ‘The Raven’ in years. Amazing poem! 😀
I always find something new in it to love each time I read it. And the translation makes me read it in a new way which I love.
Letizia did you see Julie Israel’s ‘Eveline’ in the style of The Raven? I think it’s quite brilliant.
Wonderful, thanks for sharing!!
What a beautiful book. My poetry book celebrated Poe’s birthday with Annabel Lee.
I hadn’t read that one in a long time so I just reread it after reading your comment, thank you for that. I like that you have a poetry book.
I keep two of them beside my bed, all the time 🙂
What a wonderful way to start and end your day!
Letizia. I wish I had your command of the Romance languages. But in any language Poe is a talent. A fine Southerner who’s talent has few equals. His private life left a lot to be desired, but that’s true on many of us. Wonderful post.
I sometimes have to put my authors’ private lives on the shelf in order to enjoy their words! I can’t always do it completely…
That looks awesome, love the black and white sharpness…I feel a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read and Poe…yet.
I think you would really enjoy Poe’s short stories, wonderfully creepy and morose…..
I now have the complete works, yay for inspiration!
That’s great, I hope you enjoy them!!
Not much of a classics gal myself, but you can’t knock Poe…that’s for sure! I really love those drawings, especially the feathers. I’ve had a pair of feather earrings in my wardrobe consistently for the past five years. Love them!
Aren’t those feather drawings lovely? I like the idea of feather earrings…. ready to fly away with inspiration at anytime!
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before.” Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Edgar Allen Poe’s stories are chilling indeed!! And I find them even more chilling when I listen to someone read them aloud! You have a treasure in that edition!!!
Your post reminded me that we need each other to tell the story. That there are connections that create synergies that allow a greater flow of knowledge and experience.
I like the Christopher Walken reading of The Raven. His voice suits the words quite well.
Good point about needing each other to tell a story. I like that a lot.
Yes – Christopher would be excellent! Scary….
A very interesting story!
A fascinating relationship, right?
It would appear so, yes.
When young I read some Poe’s work. Thank You taking some French in this post.
De rien. Je suis contente de savoir que vous aimer lire en français!
I always enjoyed Poe growing up, but it has been so long since I read any of his works. Thank you for the reminder. I am not as familiar with Baudelaire, but my hat is off to him for translating one of America’s finest. 🙂
Baudelaire is worth exploring when you get a chance. His most famous work is Les Fleurs du Mal (I suppose its The Flowers of Evil in English?). Quite different from Poe although perhaps stemming from the same emotions?
I am reading Poe right now, maybe it was because of his birthday ha! Love the post had to share it on Facebook, I love illustrated poem books, they are my weakness, cannot say no to one. I do not have this one, but will look for it now ;). Funny I was going to do a post about illustrated books, but I am too lazy because is cold, so I am reading.
That’s the great thing about these anniversaries – it reminds us to revisit these wonderful authors.
Thanks for sharing the post on FB! I hope you get this edition, it’s so lovely that I keep it displayed on my desk.
I look forward to reading a post on illustrated books from you when it gets warmer, haha!
Poe is one of my favorite authors. My husband’s, too. He tries to teach some Poe every year to his students. This book looks like a beauty. I love those illustrations!
Aren’t they cool illustrations? How wonderful to try to sneak in some Poe in every course – that makes your husband an A+ teacher in my book!
Gorgeous book! great quote, thanks!
Knew you would love the quotation!
How wonderful to see your copy here! Have you heard the reading of The Raven by Sir Christopher Lee on YouTube? I think you will enjoy it, xx http://youtu.be/ofSOul1NB8Q
Ooo, his voice is perfect for the poem! Thanks for sharing!
I’m so glad you liked the video too – I’m glad you told me!!
A couple of months ago, I was in a seminar where we traced how Baudelaire became better and better at translating Poe. One of the books we read was also a bilingual edition: http://www.amazon.fr/Double-assassinat-dans-rue-Morgue/dp/2070394913/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391122243&sr=8-1&keywords=bilingue+double+assassinat+dans+la+rue+morgue
This book, of course, isn’t nearly as nice as yours! Thank you for the post. Will be coming back regularly. 🙂
I don’t have that particular translation, thanks for leading me to it. That seminar must have been so interesting, to see Baudelaire’s evolution as a translator (even the beauty of the imperfections!).
Baltimore Ravens are named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem. Looks like the lucky bird got a lot of free publicity! Let’s not forget Poe’s cat either, who I guess is equally famous 🙂
I had forgotten that the Baltimore Ravens were named in its honor. I just learned that last year so you’d think it would have stayed in my memory!
Two of my favorite poets. How cool that Baudelaire admired Poe. 🙂
A fascinating relationship, isn’t it? 🙂
“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.” Edgar Allan Poe
Excellent post… I found that Baudelaire´s translation hits many points but misses the rhyme, the assonance and dissonance and the music of onomatopeia…
But, one thing is sure: both Baudelaire and Poe are magnificient… Thanks for sharing, Letizia,
Translating poetry is so tricky, it’s true. I agree, Baudelaire’s translation works well in some respects but not in others. But he also adds something to the original as well. And, as you point out, both are great. Thanks for dropping by and commenting 🙂