Juan Ramon Jimenez : Three Hundred Poems, 1903-1953 Translated by Eloise Roach ; With drawings by Jo Alys Downs ; Introduction by Ricardo Gullon
Austin, Tx. : University of Texas Press, 1962. First Edition. Hardcover. 263 pages ; illustrated ; 22 cm. $5.00 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
Before the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Juan Ramon Jimenez in 1956 he was known to comparatively few Americans, but those few recognized his pre-eminence as a writer and cultural leader. For fifty long years, he had been creating, for all the world, images of lyric beauty and great spiritual depth. Constantly striving to make his poetry ever more perfect, he worked and reworked his poems—or as he might say "lived and relived" them—until they finally represented the very essence of his emotional experience, his philosophical thought, his spiritual probing. And as such they achieve a universality which speaks to all who read them.
That the poetry of Juan Ramon Jimenez might speak to a yet wider audience is the aim of this translation by Eloise Roach, whose affinity with Jimenez has already been displayed in her brilliant translation of the delightful Platero and I, published by the University of Texas Press in 1957. Representative selections from most of Jimenez's major works are here presented in translations as accurate as the elusive nature of language itself will permit; Miss Roach has somehow managed to transfer to the English the music and artistic purity which are so innately present in the Spanish. The poems are arranged chronologically to provide a broad view of a poetic lifetime, a view through which the reader may trace the deepening maturity of thought and the stylistic development of the poet, from the simple singing lyrics of the Arias tristes to the complex, almost ponderous movement of Animal de fondo. An introduction by Professor Ricardo Gullon, noted authority on Spanish literature, helps to guide the reader through the life and poetry of the man and through the literary and philosophical era in which he lived and worked.
ELOISE ROACH is a teacher of Spanish and French in Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas. Through the years the translation of these poems has been for her both a source of pleasure and a kind of dedication, a desire to make available to others the deep enjoyment and spiritual guidance that is to be found in the work of the poet.
Her translation of Platero and I received extensive critical acclaim. The New Yorker described it as "rich, shimmering, and truly incomparable." Time hailed it as "sheer descriptive magic."
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