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About the Author
Yves Bonnefoy is a poet, critic and professor emeritus of comparative poetics at the Collège de France. In addition to poetry and literary criticism, he has published numerous works of art history and translated into French several of Shakespeare's plays. Stephen Romer is maître de conférences at the University of Tours. A poet and critic, he has published four original collections and two anthologies of modern French poetry in translation.
"The Arrière-pays is an immersion in the heady waters of a profound aesthetic consciousness. . . . Yves Bonnefoy has modeled how to conduct enquiry into an aspect of the mind, a purely subjective and intimate endeavor, bringing in the signs, symbols, and imagery that this aspect has used as vehicle. The result is an extraordinary contribution to art criticism, fresh evidence that Bonnefoy has earned his lionized reputation. The Arrière-pays is a visible manifestation of intellectual and spiritual engagement. It is a thing of surpassing beauty."--Nicole Zdeb "Quarterly Conversation"
"Yves Bonnefoy's The Arrière-pays is an exemplary translation by Stephen Romer. This is its first appearance in English and Seagull Books has produced a handsome book, interspersed with images of the paintings and places the text visits in its quest for what lies 'over there, ' out of sight. It is a gift to literature." A "Books of the Year" Selection--Nicole Zdeb "Times Literary Supplement"
"[Translator] Stephen Romer has respected Bonnefoy's sentences with their hesitations and additions, phrase appended to clause as the author attempts to refine his thought; the text is subtle, lyric, analytically clear and, most important, pleasurable. Like a Piero painting, it is a layering of transparencies, with thoughts and perceptions as primary as those that concern a poet's childhood, and as poignant as the enigmas of great art."--Beverley Bie Brahic "Guardian"
"The Arrière-pays, published in 1972, appears now in English for the first time. Stephen Romer's translation manages to capture both Bonnefoy's precision of statement and perception and his discomfiture and restlessness. The narrative tracks a traveler who in turn is hunting for the presence of le arrière-pays while planning a text called An Unknown Feeling. Bounding between exaltation and constraint, he ultimately seems to settle for a recognition of presence in the world itself, not in the dream."--Ron Slate "On the Seawall"