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God and The End of Satan | Dieu and La Fin de Satan by Victor Hugo,
translated by R. G. Skinner.

While living in exile with his family on the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy, Victor Hugo wrote some of his greatest poetry and prose, including Les Misérables and two epic poems: Dieu and La Fin de Satan. Dieu pictures the imaginary search for God by a nameless protagonist, who must face the possibility of failure in this quest. La Fin de Satan, an indictment of prison, war, and capital punishment, depicts an attempt at reconciliation between good and evil.

This book brings together abbreviated editions of these two book-length poems—unfinished and unpublished at the time of the author’s death—comprised of selections that capture their visionary and mystical essence. The poems are accompanied by an introduction framing them within the author’s experience as an exile and tracing their publication history.

Victor Hugo is one of the most important figures in the history of French literature, and this beautifully rendered translation brings two of his lesser-known works deservedly to the forefront.

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Claudio Rodriguez  

Alliance and Condemnation | Alianza y Condena by Claudio Rodríguez,
translated by Philip Silver.

A splash of sea foam. A sly sparrow. A man dodging the rain. From such mundane, unexpected moments, Spanish poet Claudio Rodríguez crafted his 1965 Alliance and Condemnation, a collection of poems that temper the joy of existence-the “bounty that turns my flawed breath into prayer”-with a questioning of empirical reality. In these pages are poems of love and hate, contrition and forgiveness, and the joys of sorrow and existence. Many of the poems are essentially parables that seem to address the immediacy of the world yet point beyond it toward philosophical and eternal values. The result is a conjoining of the real and the ideal, a frequent theme in Spanish literature. Many of these poems bridge the distance between the Spanish mystics, among them Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa, and the nature poetry of romanticism.

Of all his creations, the radiant poems in Alliance and Condemnation offer the best imaginable introduction to his extraordinary life and work.

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