Six Masters of the Spanish Sonnet: Essays and Translations

Synopsis

With poems selected and translated by one of the preeminent translators of our day, this bilingual collection of 112 sonnets by six Spanish-language masters of the form ranges in time from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries and includes the works of poets from Spanish America as well as poets native to Spain. Willis Barnstone's selection of sonnets and the extensive historical and biographical background he supplies serve as a compelling survey of Spanish-language poetry that should be of interest both to lovers of poetry in general and to scholars of Spanish-language literature in particular.

Following an introductory examination of the arrival of the sonnet in Spain and of that nation's poetry up to Francisco de Quevedo, Barnstone takes up his six masters in chronological turn, preceding each with an essay that not only presents the sonneteer under discussion but also continues the carefully delineated history of Spanish-language poetry. Consistently engaging and informative and never dull or pedantic, these essays stand alone as appreciations- in the finest sense of that word- of some of the greatest poets ever to write. It is, however, Barnstone's subtle, musical, clear, and concise translations that form the heart of this collection. As Barnstone himself says, "In many ways all my life has been some kind of preparation for this volume."