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Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid
Translated by Peter Cole

Book Description | Table of Contents


"[Cole's HaNagid] represents the admission of the Hebrew Golden Age into the world of general literature. And high time, too."--Commentary

"Fresh, worldly, intimate, and wise . . . supple, and sensitive translations."--Booklist

"Samuel the Nagid astonishes as a personality, and when read does not disappoint. Cole's generous offering of verse translations brings to the English reader the full range of the Nagid's poetry: accounts of the terrors and exultations of war; poems about love and lovely, frail pleasures; poems of grief; considerations of mortality . . . and snappy epigrams on society and the human condition . . . a fine, breathing, contemporary version of an old master."--Prooftexts

"Translating HaNagid is an immense challenge . . . yet Cole, a Jerusalem poet, meets the challenge. The poems are melodic with the music of English . . . The images are fresh without being anachronistic. Excellent notes explain not only the Biblical, but the Arabic borrowings."--The Jerusalem Report

"Cole has condensed enormous learning into a tightly composed and subtly informing format."--The Jerusalem Post

"Entertainingly complex, intriguingly foreign, and strikingly human."--The Forward

"Cole . . . brings to this work his exquisite sensitivity to matters of art and Judaism. The poems are delightful and significant still, across the ages."--Conservative Judaism

"I do not believe that the miracle of . . . Hebrew rebirth in Andalusia could find a more attractive English version today."--Zvi Yagendorf, Ariel

"Excellent."--American Poet


"Here is indeed a remarkable event . . . the unearthing of a major and until today mostly ignored Andalusian Hebrew poet . . . The poetry itself sings as it once did in another language, culture, and time, thanks to Peter Cole's erudition and poetic sensibility. Not only are major translation problems overcome by intelligence and sensitivity, but the introduction provides informative observations concerning both the Arabic and Hebrew poetic traditions in Moslem Spain. These are poems to be remembered, especially since, in working through conflicting theories of translations, they have perfectly managed to avoid all the current pitfalls, all the circumlocutions and tricks."--Award Citation, 1998 MLA-Scaglione Prize for Translation

"These very fine translations of the work of a remarkable medieval poet gain their authority as much from the literary gifts of the poet-translator as from his linguistic and historical knowledge. They convince us by their strong and supple appeal to the ear, as well as by their diction. For the English-speaking reader, this volume of lyric, epigram and epic narrative brings a treasure to light in the way it deserves to be presented."--John Hollander, Yale University

"Medieval Hebrew poetry is particularly difficult to render poetically in English. Peter Cole's remarkable translations, in this vital sense, are a splendid achievement."--Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Columbia University

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File created: 11/22/2015

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