Rossetti's Armadillo is Charles S. Kraszewski's attempt at fulfilling the desiderata expressed by George Steiner in the introduction to his Penguin Book of Modern Verse Translation. An honest translation of poetry must be a verse translation, and should include a commentary by the translator, dealing with his critical interpretation of the original and an assessment of the difficulties encountered in the process of translation. Many of the thirty-three verse translations included in Rossetti's Armadillo are appearing in print for the first time. They are accompanied by the original verses he worked from, as well as critical essays. Arranged in chronological order from Sappho to Isidore Isou, the poems in Rossetti's Armadillo constitute a cross-section of the history of European poetry, stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to the steppes of Russia. An introduction and a conclusion interject a translator's-eye-view of the art of poetic recreation, and the humility it enforces upon those who take up the metier.
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