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Reviews 283 Psiháris's Gulliver and the use of the term "paramithi." Niki Likoúrgou on Myrivflis's renderings of Papadiamándis in demotic. Aglaia Kehayiá-LipourlÃon the Xefloúdas-Tatákis correspondence concerning the periodical Makedonik és Iméres. N. D. Triandafillópoulos on Yánnis Skarimbas. Kóstas Steryi- ópoulos on symbolism in PlaskovÃ-tis. Nátia Haralambidou on the Left and the reception of Dimitris Hatzis. Ilias S. Spirópoulos on grammatical textbooks used in schools. Yánna Sivropoúlou-Kapláni on foreign literature in secondary -education textbooks supposedly of Modern Greek literature. Günther Steffen Henrich on Pontic elements in a ca. 1500 Greek-Persian-Arabic lexicon written in Arabic characters. Jean Irigoin on shorthand ligatures used in writing the Modern Greek dialects of southern Italy. Yórgos Alisandrátos on the linguistic views of Nikólaos Koneménos. Massimo Peri on the possible origin of the thirteen-syllable line. Evirpidis Garantoúdis on problems of nomenclature and method in Modern Greek metrics. Peter Bien Dartmouth College Yannis Ritsos, Selected Poems 1938—1988. Edited and translated by Kimon Friar and Kostas Myrsiades. Brockport, New York: BOA Editions, 1989. Pp. xxii + 486. $15.00. Readers of JMGS will not be slow to recognize the auspicious matching of parties to this ambitious project of presenting half a century of Ritsos's poetry to the English-speaking world in a single volume. The poet is legendary as a compulsive creator of art of all kinds, his hyperactivity having been heightened paradoxically by deprivation of both opportunity and media for creativity during many years of confinement in the prime of his life. The singular credentials of Kimon Friar to oversee and contribute to the awesome task of selection, translation, and annotation do not need to be rehearsed here, beyond recalling that he cut his translator's teeth on Kazantzakis's TL· Odyssey: A Modern Sequel (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958) and proved his stamina beyond all doubt in the no less epic project—twenty-five years in the making—of publishing thirty modern Greek poets, from Cavafy to Elytis, in English in his Modern Greek Poetry (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973). The co-editorial contribution of Kostas Myrsiades is not to be undervalued: apart from his solo and joint translations of poems, he has complemented Friar's introduction to Ritsos's short poems with an essay on the long poems and has supplied an extremely useful chronological table of dates of composition and publication of Ritsos's poetry, prose fiction, theatrical works, essays, and translations—information that sets the selected poems in the broader context of the total literary output of this extraordinarily productive man. 284 Reviews The Friar-Myrsiades volume also provides an alluring hint of Ritsos's artistic versatility via the oil painting on the cover, the calligraphic Greek manuscript of the unpublished poem "I mávri várka" prefixed to the anthology of translations, and chiefly through the xerographically reproduced painted stones tastefully interspersed between the exquisitely printed pages of translated poems. The tiered or writhing naked torsos and sullen fine features are an appropriate visual complement to Ritsos's "stoney" verses, as Friar describes them (445). Altogether a handsomely and lavishly produced volume: a worthy vehicle of Ritsos poetry to the so-called "decadent countries" (to use Friar's phrase once more, 440) in which Ritsos's anticapitalist poetry has exercised a paradoxical fascination. Testimony to this fascination is the fact that during the fifteen-year gestation of this volume, books of translations of Ritsos's verse into English alone (to say nothing of forty-odd other languages) appeared at an average rate of one a year. This book is unique among them in representing the whole range of Ritsos's poetic modes, including ten examples of his booklength poems (dramatic monologues, narratives, and choral poems) as well as over four hundred poems "written in their margins." What also sets this volume apart from other books of translations of Ritsos (and of other Greek poets, for that matter) is its use of the ingenious expedient of selecting "offthe -hook" translations from the published and scattered work of fifteen translators besides Friar...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 283-286
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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