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This review is taken from PN Review 20, Volume 7 Number 6, July - August 1981.

LOST AND FOUND IN TRANSLATION Paul Eluard, Last Love Poems, translated by Marilyn Kallet (Louisiana State University Press) £6.00
Edmond Jabès, A Share of Ink, translated by Anthony Rudolf (Menard Press) £1.65
Alain Bosquet, Instead of Music, translated by William Frawley (Louisiana State University Press) £7.95
Jean Mambrino, The Inner Gold, translated by Jonathan Griffin (Menard Press) 90p
Henri Peyre, Victor Hugo: Philosophy and Poetry, translated by Roda Roberts (University of Alabama Press) £7.50

In 1921, when Paul Eluard first recited his poetry on stage, the Paris audience hurled bad eggs and-it is said-beefsteaks in derision. On another occasion, Eluard was dragged from the theatre after trying to beat up a member of the audience, and soon after that he was the victim of a knife attack by a fellow poet in a trance. Can the Eluard of those days-doyen of the Paris Dadaists, bête noire of the beau monde, anti-poet, radical, founder Surrealist-can he be the same poet who in age sat down to write a love poetry of classical serenity, lyrical, and orthodox in form? This question can now be more easily answered thanks to Marilyn Kallet's translation of Eluard's Last Love Poems, the four loosely autobiographical volumes of verse written between 1946 and his death in 1952.

Although widely different in form from Eluard's Surrealist experiments, these poems nevertheless reveal a continuity of purpose with that earlier work. Love, here explored in all its meanderings, was a major subject for the Surrealists. By definition concerned with reconciliation, and the mating of opposites, they found in it an assertion of the naked forces they were intent on tapping. Allied to Imagination it was an attack on rationality, a liberation from logic and an enlargement of reality. Last Love Poems are devoted to the same purposes, and must be seen not as a break with, but as an extension of Eluard's Surrealist involvement, in their profound ease and technical assurance ...


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