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Review: Defying Fate, by Maurice Carème

For those who enjoy poetry at its best, do not be put off by the fact that the verse is written in French because the excellent translations by Christopher Pilling reflect and reproduce the poetry of the Belgian poet Maurice Careme with an astonishing faithfulness.

Having studied French to degree level I am only too aware of the perils and pitfalls of translation. Tackling prose is difficult enough, but an adequate translation of a rhyming poem which needs to be translated into a rhyming poem requires a level of scholarship and poetic sensitivity which is rare. Christopher Pilling has successfully captured the flair and genius of this towering figure of Belgian literature.

The Introduction by Martin Sorrell along with the illuminating Preface by Christopher Pilling outlining his techniques make this anthology a valuable addition to any university library where Modern Languages are studied both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.