The King of the Ants by Zbigniew Herbert

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Hybrids of the short story and the essay, these prose pieces contest traditional interpretations of history and present Herbert's very different ("apocryphal") views. This new work of prose from the much celebrated Zbigniew Herbert--available for the first time in English--is a fascinating rewriting of myths and tales "as old and as simple as the world." In the title story, "The King of the Ants," Herbert considers the tension between humankind's "solemn idleness" and "progress-that treacherous force." Other pieces include a new reading of the old story about Alexander the Great hacking the great knot to bits ("The Gordian Knot"), an ode to the mythic suffering of "the catatonic of mythology" ("Atlas"), and a Chinese tale about the dangers of vanity and authority ("Mirror"). All of the pieces on "The King of the Ants" have been translated by John and Bogdana Carpenter, who have been praised for their "linguistic precision and poetic mastery" by "Choice."
 

About Zbigniew Herbert

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Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998) was a spiritual leader of the anticommunist movement in Poland. His work has been translated into almost every Euro-pean language, and he won numerous prizes, including the Jerusalem Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His books include "Selected Poems", "Report from the Besieged City and Other Poems", "Mr Cogito", "Still Life with a Bridle", and "King of the Ants", all published by Ecco. Carpenter is a poet and a critic. Julia Hartwig has published more than a dozen collections of poetry in her native country, and her work has been translated into French, Lithuanian, German, Russian, Serbian, Hungarian, and Italian. The recipient of numerous awards for her work, she is also a well-known translator of English and French poetry into Polish. Bogdana Carpenter is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. She is the author of "The Poetic Avant-Garde in Poland, 1918-1939," and "Monumenta Polonica: The First Four Centuries of Polish Poetry," as well as other works. John Carpenter is a poet and literary critic. He is author of "Creating the World" and a study of the literature of the Second World War. Among translations the Carpenters have done as a team are seven volumes of poetry and prose by Zbigniew Herbert.
 
Published November 29, 1999 by HarperCollins. 85 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Eleven retellings of classical and biblical stories, selected The King Of The Ants ($22.00;

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