105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry

By Whit Burnett | Go to book overview

PABLO NERUDA

SANTIAGO, CHILE

Among my works, I have chosen a poem I am including, Alturas de Macchu Picchu*which I estimate the most representative of my last production. It has not yet been included in any of my books. First appeared in Expressión ( 1947), a literary magazine of Buenos Aires, and then published in Confluences ( 1947), a literary magazine of Paris (translated into French by Roger Callois); is almost an unknown piece of my work among a big portion of my readers. This poem represents a tendency in my literary development to confine and devote my efforts to my continent, America, its land, people and culture. This tendency is visible in all of my poems which have appeared in several Latin American periodicals lately. Part of them are ready to be printed by Editorial Losada of Buenos Aires, this year, under the name of Canto General.

PABLO NERUDA

[The following translation, specially prepared for THE WORLD'S BEST, is the first English rendering of Alturas de Macchu Picchu.]

____________________
*
Translator's Note: The ancient fortress city of Macchu Picchu, cradle of the Inca Empire, is located more than 12,000 feet above sea-level in the most inaccessible corner of the Peruvian Andes. Built some 3000 years B. C., this oldest American city was lost for many centuries before it was uncovered and excavated by Hiram Bingham in 1912. Although the roofs, which were made of thatch, are gone, the city is still almost intact: a terraced city of narrow streets, rock-hewn stairways (over a hundred of them, some of more than 150 steps), walls (some of them curved) of granite blocks, beautifully fitted together, a temple with sundial, monolithic lintels, windows, hanging gardens. From the excavations of Macchu Picchu the silver rings, bronze knives, bone needles, exquisite terra cotta and pieces of pottery with complex decorations bear eloquent testimony to the advanced techniques and aesthetic expressions of this early Inca civilization. Further details are given in Hiram Bingham's articles in The National Geographic Magazine April 1913, February 1915 and May 1916, and in his book Lost City of the Incas( 1948).

In Neruda's long quest for the essence of America, it is fitting that he should be inspired by these ruins. After the philosophical introduction, the poet climbs up to Macchu Picchu (Stanza VI) and contemplates the geology, geography and history of the Inca city, and reflects upon man's cruelty to man and the meaning of "eternal" verities.

-355-

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105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • A Foreword in the Form of a Report xi
  • I The Americas 1
  • Eugene O'Neill 3
  • Ernest Hemingway 16
  • Sinclair Lewis 38
  • Robert Frost 52
  • John Steinbeck 61
  • Carl Sandburg 77
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay 98
  • Thornton Wilder 104
  • John Dewey 111
  • John Dos Passos 124
  • Pearl Buck 131
  • Van Wyck Brooks 141
  • H. L. Mencken 148
  • William Faulkner 155
  • Maxwell Anderson 173
  • Edgar Lee Masters 184
  • Archibald Macleish 188
  • Upton Sinclair 196
  • Robert Sherwood 204
  • John Gunther 221
  • William Rose Benét 225
  • Carl Van Doren 228
  • Erskine Caldwell 237
  • Robinson Jeffers 248
  • James Thurber 250
  • James Branch Cabell 268
  • John P. Marquand 279
  • Vincent Sheean 309
  • William L. Shirer 314
  • Mazo De La Roche 323
  • Mariano Azuela 339
  • Gabriela Mistral 349
  • Pablo Neruda 355
  • Eduardo Mallea 368
  • II The British Isles 391
  • T. S. Eliot 393
  • Aldous Huxley 400
  • W. Somerset Maugham 420
  • John Masefield 431
  • E. M. Forster 435
  • Bertrand Russell 447
  • Walter De La Mare 457
  • V. Sackville-West 466
  • Hilaire Belloc 472
  • W. H. Auden 479
  • Julian Huxley 490
  • Noel Coward 510
  • Siegfried Sassoon 529
  • J. B. Priestley 536
  • Winston Churchill 541
  • C. E. M. Joad 556
  • Graham Greene 566
  • Arnold J. Toynbee 577
  • A. J. Cronin 587
  • Lord Dunsany 592
  • Sean O'Casey 599
  • Padraic Colum 618
  • Elizabeth Bowen 623
  • Liam O'Flaherty 634
  • III Europe 643
  • André Gide 645
  • Jules Romains 655
  • André Maurois 670
  • André Malraux 677
  • Jacques Maritain 685
  • François Mauriac 696
  • Jean Cocteau 714
  • Paul Claudel 720
  • Jean-Paul Sartre 726
  • St. John Perse 731
  • Albert Camus 736
  • Colette 747
  • Louis Aragon 750
  • Thomas Mann 757
  • Erich Remarque 797
  • Albert Schweitzer 809
  • Albert Einstein 824
  • Hermann Hesse 830
  • Sigrid Undset 841
  • Knut Hamsun 852
  • Isak Dinesen 862
  • Johannes V. Jensen 876
  • Frans Eemil Sillanpää 889
  • Halldór Laxness 898
  • Benedetto Croce 912
  • Ignazio Silone 919
  • Geroge Santayana 936
  • José Ortega Y Gasset 945
  • Salvador De Madariaga 951
  • Pio Baroja 959
  • Pierre Van Paassen 965
  • Angelos Sikelianos 971
  • Arthur Koestler 977
  • Ferenc Molnár 993
  • Ivan Bunin 1008
  • Mikhail Sholokhov 1029
  • Ilya Ehrenburg 1044
  • IV Asia China • 1059 India • 1078 1057
  • Lin Yutang 1059
  • Hu Shih 1066
  • Jawaharlal Nehru 1078
  • Sri Aurobindo 1093
  • Biographies and Bibliographies 1109
  • Acknowledgments 1160
  • Index of Authors 1181
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