Poésies PDF/EPUB Ð Paperback
  • Paperback
  • 270 pages
  • Poésies
  • François Villon
  • English
  • 02 August 2019
  • 9780874512366

About the Author: François Villon

François Villon in modern French, pronounced [fʁɑ̃swa vijɔ̃]; in fifteenthcentury French, [frɑnswɛ viˈlɔn] c – after January was a French poet, thief, and vagabond He is perhaps best known for his Testaments and his Ballade des Pendus, written while in prison The question Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?, taken from the Ballade des dames du temps jadis and translated by Dan.

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10 thoughts on “Poésies

  1. Geoff says:

    Can't believe I haven't rated this one yet... Villon is Rimbaud and Baudelaire and Poe and Genet a half-millennium before those beloved brethren in sin. Villon is the bloodied words of God writ on the Satanic chasuble. Villon is the banished poet-murderer-thief haunting the interstices of a dead-lily hued Middle Ages. Villon is original sin. Villon wrote Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?, one of the most famous lines of poetry ever penned. Villon is the snows of yesteryear- Villon is the shadow of existence- François des Loges, François de Montcorbier, Michel Mouton, fleeing Paris with gold stolen from the broken chapel, Villon's guilty tears stained the parchment with eternal bitter blood-testaments. Villon wanders the darkest regions of the vanished dream of the 15th century, finds his way into Rabelais, and vaults over into the land of death without a sound, a true ghost, only existing forever between the lines scrawled on time-harried pages, decayed and disbursed to become the fertile undersoil of all succeeding French literature.

  2. Antonomasia says:

    translation by Galway Kinnell

    There's a game I've always loved to play when looking at portraits: imagining people in other costumes and other eras. The aristocratic lady who in all her Watteau finery looks as if she'd be happiest manning a stall at the church bring-and-buy sale in a nice sensible jumper. Or how about a Roman toga instead of a suit for him? The gormless looking young noble who would suit casting as a mailroom boy; peasants with an air of confidence and leadership who look like they should be in charge and probably would be now.

    Reading François Villon, then, is a real version of Portrait of the Bedsit Poet as a Fifteenth Century Man.
    From 'The Legacy':

    Near Christmas, the dead time
    When wolves live on the wind
    And men stick to their houses
    Against the frost, close by the blaze
    A desire came to me to break out
    Of the prison of great love
    That was breaking my heart...

    [several pages later]

    As soon as my mind was at rest
    And my understanding had cleared
    I tried to finish my task
    But my ink was frozen
    And I saw my candle had blown out
    I couldn't have found any fire
    So I fell asleep all muffled up
    Unable to give it another ending

    He has neither tent nor pavilion
    That hasn't been left to a friend
    All he has now is a bit of change
    Which will soon be gone

    I liked it from the first bits I read on Google Books, and - having previously contemplated reading Villon a few weeks ago on hearing he was the first of Verlaine's poètes maudits - I read all I could on there one day, after other things nudged me in this direction: posts about Osamu Dazai and then Rabelais. And then I ordered this edition. I've looked at several translations; this and Anthony Bonner's are my favourites, then David Georgi, and then Peter Dale's (the last I really didn't like; some of the rhymes made me cringe).

    Villon's two major works are 'The Legacy' (1456) and 'The Testament' (1461) which use a popular late medieval verse form of making a satirical will. (A while ago there was an issue of McSweeney's in which modern poets wrote in archaic forms; I don't think this was among them but I would rather like to see a contemporary one done - though it obviously has far less traction in a century and hemisphere when the vast majority of people are healthy and long-lived than it did in the wake of the Black Death and the Hundred Years' War.) The poems do lose out a bit by having references to people Villon knew, records of whom have not survived in all cases, but the mocking tone still becomes evident from what is known and there is a real sense of wit and personality here. I think it probably does help to already know some medieval history, however. (And if you do, the sense of an artist projecting their own identity is absolutely stunning and quite unlike anything else before Montaigne.) The maturing of voice in the five years between these two long poems is incredibly striking: 'The Legacy' is simply by a clever, angry young man; 'The Testament' is far more wide-ranging and one feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. Sadly among the reasons for this were experiences of being imprisoned and tortured (for common crimes such as robbery rather than any elevated political or religious dissent). 'The Testament' is still in a way the same witty personality but with greater complexity and seriousness of thought, and blackly bitter where once he was more playful. Though in one section there is an imaginative, vituperative disgustingness which made me a little queasy and reminded me of some of Will Self's fiction. To a reader who was not an aficionado of late medieval European history, I think it's possible this long poem may pall at times; in the verses full of names - which I did not want to interrupt to constantly check notes - and some others, what kept it going for me was the atmosphere of time and place.

    His shorter poems include a few semi-devotional verses probably written for patrons, but in most of the short works a grumpy, yet puckish insolence is still present. The final poems here are about execution and torture and give an insight I'd never seen before into how at least one medieval criminal viewed these. They are also very moving - though because of the distance in time I did not find them so upsetting as modern accounts.

    I must say that older foreign texts, by dint of a good choice of translations, are are more accessible than native ones. I don't (though I'd like to be able to truthfully say I still did) sit down and casually read a bit of Chaucer or Langland for an hour when I really should be doing something else. But neither could I stoop to reading modernised versions. It's easy to get out of practice with stuff like Middle English and even when I was a student it required a lot of focus. This, by contrast, was very enjoyable to read.

    Two other poems from this translation are here

  3. Forrest Gander says:

    These are straight translations and well done. We miss (it will forever be missed) those poems written in underworld slang, but we get from these translations the sense of a vibrant, rascally personae, a man with friends and grudges, a lyric and narrative poet stuffed with talent, eager to break normative constraints. Still, it would be crippling to read only this translation and not, beside it, the work of genius by Stephen Rodefer, translated under the pseudonym of Jean Calais: Villon and published (appropriately) by The Pick Pocket Series. It's a bit hard to find, but in print still and one of my favorite books in or out of translation.

  4. Justin says:

    I have about 12 different translations of Villon dating from the mid 19th century through the late 20th. This version by Kinnell is the best. He captures both the spirit and form of the master so well it's almost spooky.

    For sheer fun though, my favorite is the free verse translation done by Anthony Bonner and published in 1960 by Bantam.

  5. Steven Godin says:



    Selected Bibliography

  6. Selena says:

    Verity, are you ready to hear it?
    In sickness alone is there joy
    Life's true stories are tragedies
    Louts are the only knights errant
    Only in screeches are there melodies
    Nor any cool heads but lovers.

    -passage from Ballade (pg 169-171)

    thank you, aaron.

  7. david-baptiste says:

    i reread this continually
    one of the most completely alive poets and poetries there is

  8. Neil says:

    I've always liked the superhero writers (kafka, villon,Disraeli!), working a desk job by day, writing gold by night.

  9. rebecca says:

    passion. humor. // don't piss off the king. if u do, make sure u have a poem good enough to pardon u before your hanging.

  10. Catherine Limbsombe says:

    Mr. Villon's dray cart seems to carry a heavy load of poems, length wise & noun wise, but his ostinatos inspire & will lead readers to hot embers. Try your own. His gripsack is beautiful. I ran away a couple times before 5 - with a gripsack around my neighborhood. But my songs would have been about Neil Diamond & Barbara Streisand instead of Duke & Earl & Sebastian, etc. :) Aunt June, maybe. And the little girl who threaten to beat me up after school. But I will reveal that poem later. AArrpp.

    His ballades are structured and his tone is sometimes facetious.