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Dressed as an Admiral

Michael Wood: Neruda’s Hocus Pocus, 2 September 2004

by Pablo Neruda, translated by Hardie St Martin.
Souvenir, 370 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 9780285648111
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Isla Negra: A Bilingual Edition 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Alastair Reid.
Souvenir, 416 pp., £14.99, June 2004, 0 285 64913 2
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The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems 
edited by Mark Eisner.
City Lights, 199 pp., $16.95, April 2004, 0 87286 428 6
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... make up ‘The Heights of Macchu Picchu’, and some later work. It includes strong versions by Stephen Mitchell and Robert Hass (from one of which I have already quoted), and the editor, Mark Eisner. In some cases Eisner has reworked translations by others, notably John Felstiner and Stephen Kessler, and he includes ...

The Unreachable Real

Michael Wood: Borges, 8 July 2010

The Sonnets 
by Jorge Luis Borges, edited by Stephen Kessler.
Penguin, 311 pp., $18, March 2010, 978 0 14 310601 2
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Poems of the Night 
by Jorge Luis Borges, edited by Efraín Kristal.
Penguin, 200 pp., $17, March 2010, 978 0 14 310600 5
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... pretty quickly on the reader of Borges’s collected sonnets, and even creeps up in the course of Stephen Kessler’s introduction to the volume. Here we learn first that Borges the poet is ‘quite a different writer from the one we thought we knew’; then that he is ‘earnest’ in his poems and ‘less ironic’ than in his fiction; that he is ‘a ...

The Colour of His Eyes

Michael Hofmann: Hugo von Hofmannsthal, 12 March 2009

The Whole Difference: Selected Writings of Hugo von Hofmannsthal 
edited by J.D. McClatchy.
Princeton, 502 pp., £24.95, October 2008, 978 0 691 12909 9
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... the other hand. Even Hofmannsthal’s bottom came in for commentary, from the diarist Harry Kessler, who used to notice such things; unkindly and anti-semitically, he observed ‘its levantine tendency to breadth’. Given a person of such acute, so to speak, personal interest (despite the Broch-delighting ‘suppression of self’), one of the most ...

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