Sentimental Songs/ by Felipe Alfau
(La Poesia Cursi)

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Synopsis

Almost lost to literary history, Felipe Alfau was rediscovered in 1988 with the republication of his proto-postmodernist novel Locos; in 1990 his only other novel, Chromos (written in 1948), was published for the first time, winning great critical acclaim and a nomination for the National Book Award. His published work is now complete with Sentimental Songs, his collection of poetry.
Written between 1923 and 1987 (thus predating and postdating his novels), these poems represent a lifetime's reflections and personal experiences. Unlike the novels, the poems were written in Alfau's native tongue of Spanish and look back to classic Spanish poetry of late nineteenth century. But like his novels, the mocking note of parody is frequently heard. As translator Ilan Stavans writes in his introduction, Sentimental Songs "is a rebuttal of Romanticism, but it emerges from the very ranks of the Romantic movement and its sense of life."
This is a bilingual edition, with Alfau's Spanish facing Stavans's English translations (made in consultation with the author). A substantial introduction places the poems in the context of Alfau's fiction and in the larger context of Spanish poetry in general.

"[This] collection is provocative, often sardonic, and beautifully lyrical." (Publishers Weekly 4-27-92)

 

About Felipe Alfau

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Ilan Stavans is the author of "The Hispanic Condition", "The Riddle of Cantinflas", & "The One-Handed Pianist & Other Stories" as well as the editor of "The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories" & a dictionary of Spanglish, among other volumes. He has been a National Book Critics Circle Award nominee & the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship & the Latino Literature Prize, among other honors. He teaches at Amherst College.
 
Published April 1, 1992 by Dalkey Archive Pr.
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Alfau (National Book Award nominee for Chromos ) continued to write poetry in his native Spanish even after immigrating to New York in 1916.

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