The Bestiary, or Procession of Orpheus
Guillaume Apollinaire’s first book of poems has charmed readers with its brief celebrations of animals, birds, fish, insects, and the mythical poet Orpheus since it was first published in 1911. Though Apollinaire would go on to longer and more ambitious work, his Bestiary reveals key elements of his later poetry, among them surprising images, wit, formal mastery, and wry irony.
X. J. Kennedy’s fresh translation follows Apollinaire in casting the poems into rhymed stanzas, suggesting music and sudden closures while remaining faithful to their sense. Kennedy provides the English alongside the original French, inviting readers to compare the two and appreciate the fidelity of the former to the latter. He includes a critical and historical essay that relates the Bestiary to its sources in medieval "creature books," provides a brief biography and summation of the troubled circumstances surrounding the book’s initial publication, and places the poems in the context of Apollinaire’s work as a poet and as a champion of avant garde art.
This short introduction to the work of an essentially modern writer includes four curious poems apparently suppressed from the first edition and reprints of the Raoul Dufy woodcuts published in the 1911 edition.
Cataloging-in-Publication Data Apollinaire, Guillaume, 1880–1918. [Bestiaire. English & French] The bestiary, or, Procession of Orpheus / Guillaume Apollinaire ; translated, with an essay, by X. J. Kennedy ; woodcuts by Raoul Dufy. p. cm. French and English. Includes bibliographical references. isbn-13: 978-1-4214-0006-8 (hardcover : alk. paper) isbn-10: 1-4214-0006-5 (hardcover : alk. paper) isbn-13: 978-1-4214-0007-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) isbn-10: 1-4214-0007-3 (pbk. : alk.
A Natural History of the Poet itzky adopt the more Gallic-sounding pen name Guillaume Apollinaire. A book lover who liked to search through the stalls of bouquinistes by the Seine, a frequenter of museums and libraries, Apollinaire was no doubt acquainted with some of the bestiaries of the thirteenth through sixteenth centuries. The most celebrated ancestor of such works was the Physiologus, a book of forty-nine beasts thought to date back to a Greek manuscript written between the second and
saw scattered about Picasso’s Paris studio in 1906. The long, mutually nourishing friendship between the two men has been chronicled extensively by Peter Read in Picasso & Apollinaire, with ample evidence that in 1907 Picasso played x A Natural History of the Poet seriously with the idea of illustrating the Bestiary, filling pages of notebooks with sketches of creatures, only a few of them those that Apollinaire had chosen for his poems. But the collaboration was not to be. Apollinaire wanted
not tempted by the time-consuming prospect of engraving thirty same-sized illustrations. Read has traced the artist’s involvement with work of his own, in particular the major painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which required many studies, made in the same sketchbooks as his attempts to illustrate the Bestiary. In the end, after a disappointing five years of delay, Apollinaire turned over the assignment to Raoul Dufy. It was a fortunate compromise. Apollinaire admired Dufy, and in reviewing his
saint Jean. Puissent mes vers être comme elle, Le régal des meilleures gens. Grasshopper Here’s the delectable grasshopper, The diet of Saint John. Be like her, my verses, What the best folk nibble on. 34 Orphée Que ton Coeur soit l’appât et le ciel, la piscine! Car, pécheur, quel poisson d’eau douce ou bien marine Egale-t-il, et par la forme et la saveur, Ce beau poisson divin qu’est JESUS, Mon Sauveur? Orpheus May your heart be the bait and the heavens your pool! For, sinner, what fish of