Poets of Brazil: A Bilingual Selection

Poets of Brazil: A Bilingual Selection
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Poets of Brazil: A Bilingual Selection

Author Frederick G. Williams

This anthology is the first to present the full range of Brazilian poetic creativity and beauty in English translation. English editions of modernist and contemporary poets exist, most notably An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Brazilian Poetry, edited by Elizabeth Bishop and Emanuel Brasil, and the more recent Other Shores: 13 Emerging Brazilian Poets, by Ricardo Corona and Charles A. Perrone. Until now, however, no volume has assembled the works of the great poets of Brazil's earlier periods—those who wrote according to the baroque, neoclassical, romantic, Parnassian, and symbolist styles that were sequentially popular from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.

As all readers know, translation is a difficult task fraught with all manner of complexities and choices faced by translators in their attempt to be faithful to the original poem. These include, but are not limited to, meaning, language usage, style, tone, form, rhyme, meter, rhythm, and a host of other variables that most often do not have a one-to-one correspondence in the target language. Many books have been written and many theories have been applied to achieve the 'best' translation. That this is an ongoing quest never fully realized is demonstrated by the repeated translations of the same texts by many different writers. Camões's epic poem The Lusiads (1572), for example, has been translated anew into English nearly every century since its publication as tastes and interests shift, for living languages are never static. In the twentieth century, both a rhymed as well as a prose rendering appeared. Which is best? Which is closer to the original?