A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets

By John Pilling | Go to book overview

Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914)

Born in Munich, the only son of a landscape painter and tubercular mother, whose malady he inherited. Tutored privately and at secondary school in Breslau. For a time a student of economics and politics at Breslau University, where he began to develop an intellectual humanitarianism. Estranged from his father in 1895, soon after his father's third marriage and a disagreement over money. Translated several plays of Ibsen's into German, and became friendly with Ibsen during his time in Scandinavia. Travelled extensively in Italy and Switzerland; resident thereafter primarily in Berlin. Famous from 1905 for his Galgenlieder, though he considered his serious, philosophical and mystical verse much more important. Became a member in 1909 of the Anthroposophical Society of Rudolf Steiner, whom he had heard lecture in Berlin and whom he followed on his lecture tours throughout Europe. Married in 1910, the year in which his health took a decisive turn for the worse. Largely resident in Swiss sanatoria in his last years, he died in private quarters near Merano at the age of forty-three, by which time his comic poems had sold in tens of thousands.

Morgenstern's reputation rests, uniquely among poets of distinction, on a body of work which falls squarely into a category that flouts all attempts to make sense of it: Nonsense poetry. So considerable is his achievement in this genre that it is customary to place him above even Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, although by virtue of writing in German and not English his audience has been much smaller than theirs in global terms.As

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A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) 13
  • Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98) 23
  • Paul Verlaine (1844-96) 32
  • Tristan Corbière (1845-75) 40
  • Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) 47
  • Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933) 56
  • Stefan George (1868-1933) 64
  • Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) 73
  • Paul Valéry (1871-1945) 80
  • Hugo Von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) 88
  • Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) 97
  • Antonio Machado (1875-1939) 108
  • Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) 118
  • Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921) 127
  • Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) 136
  • Umberto Saba (1883-1957) 143
  • Dino Campana (1885-1932) 150
  • Gottfried Benn (1886-1956) 158
  • Georg Trakl (1887-1914) 166
  • Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) 173
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) 181
  • Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960) 190
  • Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) 197
  • Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) 206
  • Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938 215
  • César Vallejo (1892-1938) 225
  • Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) 234
  • Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) 243
  • Paul Éluard (1895-1952) 259
  • Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) 266
  • Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) 276
  • Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) 284
  • Jorge Luis Borges (born 1899) 292
  • George Seferis (1900-71 ) 301
  • Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-68) 308
  • Lucio Piccolo (1901-69) 316
  • Attila József (1902-37) 324
  • Pablo Neruda (1904-73) 333
  • René Char (born 1907) 344
  • Cesare Pavese (1908-50) 351
  • Yannis Ritsos (born 1909) 360
  • Octavio Paz (born 1914) 368
  • Johannes Bobrowski (1917-65) 376
  • Paul Celan (1920-70) 383
  • Vasko Popa (born 1922) 392
  • Yves Bonnefoy (born 1923) 400
  • Yehuda Amichai (born 1924) 408
  • Zbigniew Herbert (born 1924) 416
  • Joseph Brodsky (born 1940) 424
  • Bibliographies 432
  • Index 461
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