Friday, April 06, 2018

Why Stanislaw Lem?



Wojciech Druszcz: Stanisław Lem


What is it about Stanislaw Lem that sets him apart from other SF writers? Because there is something that puts him in a category of his own, somewhere between J. G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick, though with powers of pure intellect quite different from their more sensitive, aesthetic approach to what Lem himself once called (in his essay "Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans"):
the whole threadbare lot of telepaths, cosmic wars, parallel worlds, and time travel ...


Stanisław Lem: Solaris (1961)


Ever since I first chanced on a copy of Solaris in the local second-hand shop in Mairangi Bay, I've been trying to come to terms with his work. I wasn't even aware then that there was a film - let alone one as beguiling and magical as Tarkovsky's - so the book made its impact on me without any other visual aids.

The long account of the science of "Solaristics" in the middle chapters of Lem's story function as a satire on Academia in general: its tendency to lurch from one one-sided theory to another, but it also shows a faith in the basic seriousness of his readers which transcended any of the more conventional slam-bang American or British Sci-fi I'd grown up on.



Stanislaw Lem: The Invincible (1964)


The other book of his I read at this time was The Invincible. Wow, what a contrast! This grim story of a thwarted attempt at planetary colonisation would have been almost unimaginable in English-language SF at the time. No boosterism - no Campbell-era "man plus" thinking. Lem was a serious dude, and his books clearly repaid study rather than providing instant gratification.



The Mind's Eye, ed. Douglas R. Hofstadter & Daniel C. Dennett (1981)


It's a little difficult now to account for the excitement surrounding Douglas R. Hofstadter's book Gödel, Escher, Bach in the late 1970s. Everyone I knew - in my own little circle of secondary school 'intellectuals,' that is - made some attempt to read it. I got about halfway through. Perhaps some of the others, cleverer at Maths, were actually able to get to the end. This anthology of pieces, co-edited by him and Daniel C. Dennett, appeared a couple of years later, and introduced me to a whole species of thinking about Artificial Intelligence and other cool subjects I knew virtually (pun intended) nothing about.

I'd already read Borges, but meeting him in this new company made me see that his work was the beginning rather than the end of a particular train of thought. And there were pieces in there by Stanislaw Lem, too: strange, non-naturalistic tales of computer derring-do which called all conventional genre-categories into question. I began to realise that the basically realistic settings of Solaris and The Invincible were only a small part of his work. I started to wonder, in fact, if they were simply intended as cynical strategies to lure the unwary into the seamless web of his "deeper" works.

And so my quest began: to explore the strange galaxies of Stanislaw Lem, to attempt to understand just why he was the "most widely read SF writer in the world" (as all his blurbs proclaimed). Was it simply because he had a virtual monopoly on the field in the entire Eastern bloc, or was there more to it than that? Did he offer something better than those "threadbare" themes, mentioned above?



Stanislaw Lem: Solaris / The Chain of Chance / A Perfect Vacuum (1961, 1975 & 1971)


As so often in those days, Penguin books came to the rescue. These two wonderful King Penguins from 1981 reprinted the two novels I'd already read alongside a series of strange mock-reviews of imaginary books (A Perfect Vacuum); a bizarrely circumstantial account of a particular 'coincidental' set of events (The Chain of Chance); a completely convincing - because almost completely incomprehensible - account of the future world encountered by a returning astronaut (Return from the Stars); as well as some strangely subversive tales of space-travel by the eponymous Pirx the Pilot.



It was, in retrospect, a pretty good sample of Lem's wares: the faux-essays, the off-narratives, the weird attempts at surreal humour - his basic preoccupation with the functional impossibility of human-to-human, let alone human-to-alien, communication.



Stanislaw Lem: His Master's Voice (1968)


This latter theme comes to a head in His Master's Voice, a book which reads (in part) like a bitter parody of the sunnier visions provided by Carl Sagan's Contact or even the slightly more hardheaded The Black Cloud, by Astronomer Royal Fred Hoyle.

[Warning: plot spoilers ahead]: A book of random numbers is returned to its publishers by various disgruntled users, who point out that it starts to repeat on a certain page. The numbers, it turns out, were generated from the random static produced by a particular frequency band in a radio telescope. They must, therefore (it is reasoned) constitute some kind of message from the stars, given that they do repeat after a certain interval.

The rest of the book is largely consumed by philosophical discussions around the implications of all this. The complete failure of the scientists to decode the message beyond a few basic steps is, finally, reasoned to be proof of the validity of the message. It could only be decoded by civilisations fit to receive it, which ours (manifestly) is not. Our failure constitutes the message's success.
As you can imagine, such austerity of narrative discipline can lead to a certain reduction in one's potential fan base. Luckily, his new books continued to attract enough interest in America to be translated into English there. They became harder and harder to locate in these parts, however.

This is my own (partial) list of his works - though I don't own copies of any of the titles in bold:



Stanislaw Lem

Stanisław Herman Lem
(1921-2006)

  1. Hospital of the Transfiguration. [‘Czas nieutracony: Szpital przemienienia’, 1955]. Trans. William Brand. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1988.

  2. The Star Diaries: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy (1). [‘Dzienniki gwiazdowe’, 1957-71]. Trans. Michael Kandel. Illustrated by the Author. 1976. An Orbit Book. London: Futura, 1978.

  3. Memoirs of a Space Traveller: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy. [‘Dzienniki gwiazdowe’, 1957-71]. Trans. Joel Stern & Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek. Illustrated by the Author. 1982. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982.

  4. Eden. [‘Eden’, 1959]. Trans. Marc E. Heine. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.

  5. The Investigation. ['Śledztwo', 1959]. Trans. Adele Milch. New York: The Seabury Press, 1974.

  6. Mortal Engines. [‘Bajki robotów’, 1961]. Trans. Michael Kandel. 1977. A Bard Book. New York: Avon Books, 1982.

  7. Return from the Stars. [‘Powrót z gwiazd’, 1961]. Trans. Barbara Marszal & Frank Simpson. 1980. King Penguin. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981.

  8. Solaris. [‘Solaris’, 1961]. Trans. Joanna Kilmartin & Steve Cox. 1971. London: Arrow Books, 1973.

  9. Memoirs Found in a Bathtub: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy (2). [‘Pamiętnik znaleziony w wannie’, 1961]. Trans. Michael Kandel & Christine Rose. 1973. A Harvest / HBJ Book. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986.

  10. The Invincible. [‘Niezwyciężony’, 1964]. Trans. Wendayne Ackerman. 1973. Penguin Science Fiction. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

  11. Summa Technologiae (Electronic Mediations). [‘Summa Technologiae’, 1964]. Trans. Joanna Zylinska. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2013.

  12. The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age. [‘Cyberiada’, 1967]. Trans. Michael Kandel. Illustrated by Daniel Mroz. 1974. An Orbit Book. London: Futura, 1977.

  13. His Master's Voice. [‘Głos pana’, 1968]. Trans. Michael Kandel. 1983. London: Mandarin, 1990.

  14. Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction and Fantasy. [‘Fantastyka i futurologia’, 1970]. Ed. Franz Rottensteiner. 1984. London: Secker & Warburg, 1985.

  15. A Perfect Vacuum. [‘Doskonała próżnia’, 1971]. Trans. Michael Kandel. 1979. King Penguin. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981.

  16. The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy (3). [‘Ze wspomnień Ijona Tichego; Kongres futurologiczny’, 1971]. Trans. Michael Kandel. 1974. An Orbit Book. London: Futura, 1977.

  17. Tales of Pirx the Pilot. [‘Opowieści o pilocie Pirxie’, 1973]. Trans. Louis Iribarne. 1979. King Penguin. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981.

  18. More Tales of Pirx the Pilot. [‘Opowieści o pilocie Pirxie’, 1973]. Trans. Louis Iribarne with Magdalena Majcherczyk & Michael Kandel. 1982. London: Mandarin, 1990.

  19. Imaginary Magnitude. [‘Wielkość urojona’, 1973]. Trans. Marc E. Heine. 1984. London: Mandarin, 1991.

  20. The Chain of Chance. [‘Katar’, 1975]. Trans. Louis Iribarne. 1978. King Penguin. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981.

  21. Highcastle: A Remembrance. ['Wysoki zamek', 1975]. Trans. Michael Kandel. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1995.

  22. The Cosmic Carnival of Stanisław Lem: An Anthology of Entertaining Stories by the Modern Master of Science Fiction. Ed. Michael Kandel. New York: Continuum, 1981.

  23. One Human Minute. ['Biblioteka XXI wieku', 1986]. Trans. Catherine S. Leach. 1986. London: Mandarin, 1991.

  24. Fiasco. [‘Fiasko’, 1986]. Trans. Michael Kandel. 1987. London: Futura, 1989.

  25. Peace on Earth: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy (4). ['Pokój na Ziemi', 1987]. Trans. Michael Kandel & Elinor Ford. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994.

  26. A Stanislaw Lem Reader (Rethinking Theory). Ed. Peter Swirsky. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1997.





Agnieszka Gajewska: Zagłada i Gwiazdy (2016)


There is, however, another aspect to the life (and works) of Stanislaw Lem. Philip K. Dick famously proclaimed him to be not so much a man as a communist committee (mainly, it appears, out of pique at not being able to collect royalties on Lem's Polish translation of Ubik - a situation completely beyond Lem's control).

For a long time I was hesitant to learn too much about his background, in fact, lest it have the unfortunate effect of souring me on his work. He did, after all, prosper greatly under the communist regime in Poland. Just what compromises might that fact conceal?

The truth, it appears, is stranger, much stranger than that. A recent article entitled "Stanisław Lem: Did the Holocaust Shape His Sci-Fi World? by Polish critic Mikołaj Gliński reveals a whole hidden world under the slick, space-age surface of Lem's most disturbing fictions:
Perhaps the most direct case of encrypting personal experiences in Lem’s sci-fi work comes in his 1968 novel His Master’s Voice. In it, Hogarth the protagonist ... relates a wartime story of his friend Professor Rappaport ...

The story ... includes terrifying scenes of a street execution taking place in the yard of the prison, in his hometown, in 1942. Rapaport spent a couple of hours lined up against the wall waiting his turn before the unexpected arrival of a film crew saved his life. During this time he witnesses a grotesque scene where a Jewish man tries to persuade Germans that he too is German, only he is saying this in Yiddish, a scene which to Rappaport, in his current state of mind, appears to be infinitely funny. Then awaiting his turn in front of the firing squad, he decides to turn his thoughts to reincarnation.

Only many years later, in a private letter to his American translator Michael Kandel from 1972, did Lem for the first time admit that Rappaport’s story ... is in fact his own.
Lem's Jewish heritage was something he seldom discussed, and in fact claimed to have only discovered during the war as a result of the Nazi Nuremberg laws. In her 2016 book Zagłada i Gwiazdy [Holocaust and Stars] Lem scholar Agnieszka Gajewska argues otherwise.

The "happy, almost idyllic, childhood, surrounded by loving parents and a whole entourage of cousins, aunts and uncles" Lem describes in his memoir Highcastle (1975) is a characteristically selective account of his past:



Almost all the members of his extended family – the anonymous uncles and aunts from Highcastle – died in the Holocaust, murdered in Lviv and Bełżec. The last of Lem’s relatives were killed after the war in the Kielce pogrom.
Far from a communist hireling or a state-sanctioned apologist, then, Lem was a Holocaust survivor, with - as Gliński and Gajewska's analysis of his published work reveals - possibly more than his fair share of survivor's guilt. Like other Jewish writers such as Paul Celan and Georges Perec, Lem shied away from direct representations of the events themselves, instead preferring to code them into the aporia of his increasingly strange stories.

As in the case of Celan's "Todesfuge" [Death Fugue], though, this came after earlier attempts at a more direct approach:
Wartime reality appears quite directly in Lem’s first novel. The Hospital of the Transfiguration is a realist novel set during a war in an unidentified mental institution where doctors prepare for the Nazis' imminent appearance. Lem’s protagonist, Polish doctor Stefan Trzyniecki, is the same age as Lem at the time of writing the novel. One of the recurring themes is that whenever he doesn’t shave, he starts to look Jewish.

... Gajewska argues that in this encrypted way, Lem’s novel becomes not only a depiction of the wartime tragedy of the patients of a mental institution but also a tale of the Jewish inhabitants of Lviv. At the same time, as Gajewska points out, this was also part of the complicated game with the communist-imposed censorship in postwar Poland.
Celan grew to hate "Todesfuge" after he learned that it was being taught in the Secondary School curriculum in Postwar Germany as an exemplar of "forgiveness" for the brutal realities of the Final Solution. His later, more austere work was harder to adapt to such phony, lying ends (or so he hoped).

Lem's battles with censorship may have been more directly influential on the content of his books: Highcastle, for instance, may have taken its present form for reasons quite outside its author's control.

Whether deliberate or unconscious, it seems impossible to deny the presence of these unassimilated memories in the midst of Lem's most cerebral and otherwordly offerings. The result, I would hope, should be to give him a new currency as one of the twentieth century's greatest and most influential writers.



Stanisław Lem: A Bibod


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Which Book Would You Most Like to Annotate?



The Ocean of Story (Bronwyn Lloyd: 27/12/17)


The other day we were playing one of those parlour games where you have to decide which great book you'd most like to annotate.

After all, when you come to think of it, the immense Ocean of Story (pictured above), is really nothing more than an annotated edition of C. H. Tawney’s two-volume, nineteenth-century translation of Somadeva’s Sanskrit epic the Kathā Sarit Sāgara (or Ocean of Streams of Story). Norman Penzer, Richard F. Burton's bibliographer, set out to emulate the master's classic ten-volume translation of the Arabian Nights (1885), with his own, similarly bound, 10-volume masterwork. Penzer may not have known much Sanskrit, but he knew a great opportunity when he saw one.

I put up a post some time ago about the multiple annotated editions of Bram Stoker's Dracula. "Marginalising Dracula," I called it (rather wittily, or so I thought at the time). Since then I've written a novel called The Annotated Tree Worship, so you can see the subject's been on my mind a bit.



Rumer Godden: The Doll's House (1948)


Our own discussion was provoked by Giovanni Tiso's longerm project of an annotated Dante, which he was outlining to us at the time. After a bit of reflection, Bronwyn went for Rumer Godden's The Doll House, explaining that she thought children's books were the most fun to examine in depth (though the example of the annotated Charlotte's Web is not very encouraging here, since its editor seems most interested in detailing E. B. White's proof corrections over the years to its myriad editions!).



I found myself toying with a number of alternatives: Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, possibly my favourite SF novel of all time; Pauline Réage's Story of O, a strange erotic classic, the truth about which only emerged a few years ago ... Somewhat staidly, I finally settled on the Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James.



M. R. James: The Collected Ghost Stories (1931)


I guess one reason for this is that I've already made a start on the task on this blog. I did a general post on M. R. James a few years ago, but then I followed it up with a more detailed commentary on one of his most enigmatic short stories, "Two Doctors," including a complete print-out of the text from the first edition, and sundry reflections of my own. Since then I've included "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" as one of the prescribed texts in my Stage 3 Advanced Fiction Course here at Massey.

The last time I ran into Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, he told me he was working on an illustrated (by which I assume he meant at least partially annotated) edition of Moby Dick as a companion volume to his fascinating version of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams.



Sigmund Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams: Illustrated Edition (2010)


I haven't yet seen it listed anywhere, but I have to confess that I'd really like to read it. Masson is a very brilliant man, and while I didn't get the impression that he knew that much about Herman Melville, he does seem to be very well informed about marine biology, so I'm sure his version would be replete with psychological insights into the that perennially vexed question: the whiteness of the whale.

For myself, I contented myself with recommending to him Harold Beaver's Penguin English Library edition, which includes a long commentary on the text as well as copious notes. Steve Donoghue describes it as "the work of a madman" in his blogpost "Eight Great Dicks", going on to call it "the most critically overloaded edition ever nominally intended for a mass-market audience." He does, however, conclude:
If you’re a reader who likes this kind of herbaceous annotation (I sure as Hell am), this is the edition for you.
I think you know enough about me by now to guess that it's my favourite edition, too.

But how about the rest of you? Which book (or books) are you longing to annotate? What authors have you been collecting obsessively since childhood, compiling a slew of useless detail you're just longing to unload on some poor bystander?



Herman Melville: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, ed. Harold Beaver (1972)


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Penguin Poets in Translation



Harry Thomas, ed. Montale in English (2005)


We were in town on Thursday for the opening of Graham Fletcher's survey exhibition at the Gus Fisher gallery (which I greatly recommend for anyone who admires his wonderful "Lounge Room Tribalism" paintings). We had a bit of time to kill, which almost always means a visit to Jason Books in O'Connell Street. There I found this beautiful anthology of English translations of Eugenio Montale.
Thomas, Harry, ed. Montale in English. 2002. Handsel Books. New York: Other Press, 2005.

One of the most interesting things about it (from my point of view, at any rate) was that - although it had been put out by an American publishers - it was clearly intended for the 'Poets in Translation' series which Penguin were publishing around the turn of the millennium. In fact, the '2002' date above denotes an earlier UK publication which appears to have left few traces on the internet, at any rate.

There are two reasons for my being so pleased with this book. The first is that I do vaguely recall my friend Marco Sonzogni in Wellington mentioning that the reason he couldn't call his own anthology of English translations of Montale (which I'm included in) "Montale in English" was that there was already a book of that title. I hadn't actually seen a copy before, however.




Corno inglese. An Anthology of Eugenio Montale's Poetry in English Translation. Edited by Marco Sonzogni. ISBN-13: 978-88-7536-203-4. (Novi Ligure: Edizioni Joker, 2009)


Marco Sonzogni, ed. Corno Inglese (2009)


The second reason is because I'm always on the lookout for stray copies of Penguin Poets in Translation. There was a final volume of "Rilke in Translation" promised (to be edited by poet / translator Michael Hofmann), but this doesn't seem to have ever appeared. Who knows, though? I don't despair of finding it someday, lurking at the back of some shadowy shelf - perhaps alongside other volumes I know nothing about.

The brilliance of the concept for this series - surveying the entire history of English translations of certain representative poets who have exercised a huge influence over our poetry - was so striking that it's hard for me to believe that they can have sold poorly. The fact that they're so difficult to obtain might imply either that all of them were snapped up the moment they appeared, or that only small numbers of each title were produced. I don't know. All I know is that I lament their passing, and (especially) that the series was not continued.

Here are the volumes I know about: mostly classical Greek and Roman poets, with one Frenchman (Baudelaire), two Italians (Dante and Petrarch), and the Hebrew Psalms to vary the pattern. Why not Ronsard, though? or Mallarmé? Rimbaud, too, could easily flesh out such a volume. And then the great Russians: Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Mayakovsky, Pasternak and Tsvetayeva could easily have been featured, too.

Never mind. I guess not everyone is as keen on the subject of verse translation as I am. It is a hugely important part of poetic practice in English, though, and there's no better way of focussing a discussion of it than can be found in this beautiful series of books:


  1. Homer in English, ed. George Steiner & Aminadav Dykman (1996)

  2. Horace in English, ed. D. S. Carne-Ross & Kenneth Haynes (1996)

  3. Martial in English, ed. John P. Sullivan & Anthony J. Boyle (1996)

  4. The Psalms in English, ed. Donald Davie (1996)

  5. Virgil in English, ed. K. W. Gransden (1996)

  6. Baudelaire in English, ed. Carol Clark & Robert Sykes (1998)

  7. Ovid in English, ed. Christopher Martin (1998)

  8. Seneca in English, ed. Don Share (1998)

  9. Catullus in English, ed. Julia Haig Gaisser (2001)

  10. Juvenal in English, ed. Martin M. Winkler (2001)

  11. Dante in English, ed. Eric Griffiths & Matthew Reynolds (2005)

  12. Petrarch in English, ed. Thomas P. Roche (2005)


Mind you, there are plenty of other books going under the title of "Penguin Poetry in Translation" or "poets in translation." There was another excellent series years ago of poetry anthologies in the original languages with literal prose translations underneath:


  1. Woledge, Brian, ed. The Penguin Book of French Verse, 1 – To the Fifteenth Century: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. 1961. The Penguin Poets. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.

  2. Brereton, Geoffrey, ed. The Penguin Book of French Verse, 2 – Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. The Penguin Poets. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1958.

  3. Hartley, Anthony, ed. The Penguin Book of French Verse, 3 – The Nineteenth Century: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. The Penguin Poets. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957.

  4. Hartley, Anthony, ed. The Penguin Book of French Verse, 4 – The Twentieth Century: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. 1959. The Penguin Poets. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  5. Forster, Leonard, ed. The Penguin Book of German Verse, with Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. The Penguin Poets. 1957. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1959.

  6. Bridgwater, Patrick, ed. Twentieth-Century German Verse, with Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. The Penguin Poets. 1957. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963.

  7. Trypanis, Constantine A., ed. The Penguin Book of Greek Verse: With Plain Prose Translations of Every Poem. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  8. Kay, George R., ed. The Penguin Book of Italian Verse: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. 1958. The Penguin Poets. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1960.

  9. Brittain, Frederick, ed. The Penguin Book of Latin Verse: With Plain Prose translations of Each Poem. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962.

  10. Obolensky, Dmitri, ed. The Penguin Book of Russian Verse: With Plain Prose translations of Each Poem. 1962. Rev. ed. 1965. The Penguin Poets, D57. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967.

  11. Cohen, J. M., ed. The Penguin Book of Spanish Verse: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. 1956. The Penguin Poets. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1960.

  12. Caracciolo-Trejo, Enrique, ed. The Penguin Book of Latin American Verse: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. Introduction by Henry Gifford. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.



There were others in this series, also: Books of Chinese and Japanese Verse, and other poetry anthologies from other places, but these are the only ones I'm aware of which used this very, very useful convention of combining the original with the 'plain prose translations.' I for one have to admit to having used them extensively. The really exciting innovation was when they started putting out individual volumes for the truly great, canonical poets in each language, though:


  1. Baudelaire, Charles. Selected Poems: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. Trans. Francis Scarfe. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1961.

  2. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Selected Verse: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. Ed. David Luke. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.

  3. Heine, Heinrich. Selected Verse: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. Ed. Peter Branscombe. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967.

  4. Hölderlin, Johann Christian Friedrich. Selected Verse: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. Trans. Michael Hamburger. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1961.

  5. Lorca, Federico García. Lorca: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. Trans. J. L. Gili. 1960. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967.

  6. Mallarmé, Stéphane. Mallarmé: With Plain Prose Translations. Ed. Anthony Hartley. 1965. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  7. Pushkin. Selected Verse: With Plain Prose translations of Each Poem. Ed. John Fennell. The Penguin Poets, D71. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.

  8. Rimbaud, Arthur. Collected Poems: With Plain Prose Translations of Each Poem. Ed. & trans. Oliver Bernard. 1962. The Penguin Poets. Ed. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.



There may well have been more of these. The ones listed above are those I've come across myself. They don't use their usefulness over time, though. Other translations have a tendency to date, but these ones are purely functional, so my only complaint is that there weren't more of them!