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[book cover] The Metabolism of Desire

translated by David R. Slavitt

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March 2012

9781926836843 (Paperback)
9781926836850 (PDF)
9781926836867 (ePub)


Mingling Voices

Literature / Translations



About the Book

all pale beside my lady whose lovely face
and gentle heart show the unworthiness
of him who catches a glimpse of her perfection,
for she is an earthly vessel of heaven's grace
before whose greatness we are so much less,
beyond any redemption.

ciò passa la beltate e la valenza
de la mia donna e 'l su' gentil coraggio,
sì che rasembra vile a chi ciò guarda;
e tanto più d'ogn' altr' ha canoscenza,
quanto lo ciel de la terra è maggio.
A simil di natura ben non tarda.

The fact that Cavlacanti's friend, Dante Alighieri, was a supremely fine poet ought not blind us to Cavalcanti's own, rather different excellence. Both men were attracted to the dolce stil nuovo, the "sweet new style" that emerged in thirteenth-century Florence. While Dante's poetry was devoted to his childhood sweetheart, Beatrice, Cavalcanti's poetry had more the tang of real-world experience: he struggled against unruly passions and sought instead to overcome love – a source of torment and despair.

It is chiefly through the translations of Rossetti and Pound that English-speaking readers have encountered Cavalcanti's work. Pound's famous translation, now viewed by some as antiquated, is remarkably different from the translation provided here in the graceful voice of poet David Slavitt. Working under the significant restraints of Cavalcanti's elaborate formal structures, Slavitt renders an English translation faithful to the original poetry in both rhyme and rhythm.


About the Translator

David R. Slavitt is a widely known poet, novelist, critic, and translator who prepared these English versions of the poems because he loved them.



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Copyright: This work is licensed under a เกมส์ยิงปลาออนไลน์Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 CA). It may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original author is credited.


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