Treny
The Laments of Kochanowski

Translated by Adam Czerniawski and with an introduction by Donald Davie

Studies In Comparative Literature 6

Legenda

1 November 2001  •  94pp

ISBN: 1-900755-55-6 (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

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Renaissance artists and poets readily commemorated the lives of the great, but rarely mourned a child who could not even claim noble birth. Yet the sixteenth-century masterpiece Treny stems from the Polish poet Jan Kochanowski's intense grief over the death of his little daughter Orszula, 'a delightful, radiant, extraordinary child', who died before she was three. The laments stand as Kochanowski's crowning achievement, and the first Polish work to equal the great poems of western Europe. In a cycle by turn reflective, despairing, and finally hesitantly accepting, a father evokes the unfulfilled promise of a life tragically cut short. The work's disarming simplicity and enduring passion, supported by an intellectually impressive structure, are fully realized in translation by Adam Czerniawski, the distinguished contemporary Polish poet. The English translation is accompanied by the original Polish text, edited by Renaissance scholar Piotr Wilczek, and with a foreword by Donald Davie. This important edition will prove of value to scholars and teachers of Slavonic literature, and to all lovers of poetry.

Reviews:

  • Translation Review Vol 8, No 1, 2002, 26)
  • ‘This bilingual edition will be enjoyed by the casual reader of Polish poetry and it will be useful to the scholar or student of Polish language and literature.’ — Steven Clancy, Sarmatian Review January, 2003
  • ‘Semantically closer to the original than Heaney and Baranczak's version and less awkward than those by Mikos and Keane... For readers accustomed to the contemporary norms of free verse, Czerniawski's Treny may well be the most palatable English version available. For Anglophone students of Polish poetry in search of a reliable translation aid, Czerniawski's version may likewise be the most usable.’ — Alyssa Dinega Gillespie, Slavic and East European Journal 47.2, 2004, 305-6

Bibliography entry:

Czerniawski, Adam, and with an introduction by Donald Davie (trans.), Treny: The Laments of Kochanowski, Studies In Comparative Literature, 6 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2001)

First footnote reference: 35 Treny: The Laments of Kochanowski, trans. by Adam Czerniawski and with an introduction by Donald Davie, Studies In Comparative Literature, 6 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2001), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Czerniawski and Davie, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Czerniawski, Adam, and with an introduction by Donald Davie (trans.). 2001. Treny: The Laments of Kochanowski, Studies In Comparative Literature, 6 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Czerniawski and Davie 2001: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Czerniawski and Davie 2001: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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