Surrealist, Lover, Resistant

Robert Desnos


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Arc Publications
31 August 2016
ISBN: 9781906570699

From the publisher

Translated and with an introduction by Timothy Adès

This extensive and wide-ranging selection is taken from three collections of the poetry of one of France's most exciting writers of the twentieth century, the surrealist Robert Desnos. Hailed as the 'prophet' of the Surrealist movement by André Breton, Desnos was a hugely influential figure across all art forms at the time, and yet today his work is completely underrepresented in the English language. The present volume of nearly 300 poems seeks to redress the balance.

Although he died in 1945 in the death-camp of Terezin, Robert Desnos - witty, scabrous, tender, truculent, mysterious, patriotic, childishly playful - survives as the poet par excellence of his age.

Desnos the Surrealist...
Hailed by the Surrealists' leader, André Breton, as their prophet, Desnos took Surrealism to a wider public on air, interpreting listeners' dreams and reaching huge audiences with his songs and jingles.

Desnos the Lover...
His hopeless infatuation with the singer Yvonne George and his lasting love for the woman who became his wife, Youki Foujita (Lucie Badoud), inspired some of Desnos's most complex and intense poems.

Desnos the Resistant...
During the occupation of France in the Second World War, Desnos produced three great poetic sequences that managed to pass the censor, and other poems which struck directly at the oppressors, heralding the return of freedom.

This volume, impeccably translated by Timothy Adès, a poetry translator working especially with rhyme and metre, is the most comprehensive volume of Desnos's poetry ever to be published in English.