September 22, 2008
9.25 Inches (US)
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$99.00 USD, £73.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

French Women Poets of Nine Centuries

The Distaff and the Pen

Winner, 2009 National Translation Award. American Literary Translators Association

Winner, 2008 PROSE Award for Best Single Volume Reference in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.

Winner, 2008 PROSE Award for Excellence in Reference Works. Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.

2009 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice

Unprecedented in scope and depth, this tour de force collection of poetry by French-speaking women contains over 600 poems from 56 different pens, from the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman Marie de France through such noted poets of the past century as Lucienne Desnoues, Liliane Wouters, and Albertine Sarrazin. Through artful, careful translations that remain true to the authors’ voices, style, and artistic integrity, Norman R. Shapiro provides an exceptional window into the development and evolution of French poetry from the Middle Ages up to the present.

Original texts and translations are presented on facing pages, allowing readers to appreciate the vigor and variety of the French and the fidelity of the English versions. Divided into three chronological sections spanning the Middle Ages through the sixteenth century, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the volume includes introductory essays by noted scholars of each era’s poetry along with biographical sketches and bibliographical references for each poet.

This bilingual panorama is an essential addition to the libraries of all scholars and readers of poetry, French, literature, and—especially—women's writing. It will also interest students of the art and craft of literary translation.

Featuring the poetry of: Louise Ackermann, Victoire Babois, Natalie Clifford Barney, Fanny de Beauharnais, Catherine Bernard, Castelloza, Elisabeth-Sophie Chéron, Christine de Pizan, Gabrielle de Coignard, Louise Colet, Marie Dauguet, Lise Deharme, Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, Antoinette Deshoulières, Lucienne Desnoues, Catherine des Roches, Madeleine des Roches, Stéphanie-Félicité de Genlis, Rosemonde Gérard, Delphine Gay de Girardin, Elisabeth Guibert, Pernette du Guillet, Henriette de Coligny de La Suze, Gérard d’Houville, Jeanne d’Albret, Marie-Madeleine Joliveau de Segrais, Anne-Marie Kegels, Louise Labé, Marie-Amable de La Férandière, Madeleine de l’Aubespine, Marguerite de Navarre, Marie de Clèves, Marie de France, Anne de Marquets, Elisa Mercœur, Louise Michel, Marie-Emilie Maryon de Montanclos, Amélie Murat, Marie Nizet, Anna de Noailles, Marie Pape-Carpantier, Louisa Paulin, Cécile Périn, Marie de Romieu, Louise-Geneviève Gillot de Sainctonge, Albertine Sarrazin, Cécile Sauvage, Madeleine de Scudéry, Sabine Sicaud, Andrée Sodenkamp, Amable Tastu, Marie-Catherine Desjardins de Villedieu, Louise de Vilmorin, Renée Vivien, and Liliane Wouters

About the Authors

Norman R. Shapiro is a professor of romance languages and literatures at Wesleyan University and a widely published, award-winning translator of French poetry, theater, and fiction. His works include Four Farces by Georges Feydeau, Selected Poems from 'Les Fleurs du Mal' of Baudelaire, One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine, The Fabulists French, and The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine, winner of the Lewis Galantière Prize. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets and in 2010 was admitted as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, Republic of France (Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres).


"Pat adjectives come to mind: monumental, for instance, and authoritative, but likewise one not so pat: iconic. All three happen to fit this artistic and scholarly work of 1,229 pages."

- Virginia Quarterly Review

"Expertly rendered and carefully presented, each gem is lovingly treated... This is an exceptional, magnificent monument to French women poets, so long neglected and herewith redeemed. Summing Up: Essential."

- Choice

"Norman Shapiro allows light to shine on a host of neglected talent in this book. And he does so, lovingly. With 1182 pages in this anthology, there is a lot to love. So if you happen to know somebody who loves women, or better still, if you happen to know somebody who loves poetry, this is a great gift."

- Translation Journal

"It is a volume that offers many delights... There are anticipated pleasure to be found in relative abundance."

- Michael Bishop - Dalhousie French Studies

"A singularly monumental achievement in the literary rediscovery of female-authored poetry."

- Deborah Lesko Baker - French Forum
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$99.00 USD

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