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Translations of a medieval French poet

May 02nd, 2022

Considered one of France’s best-known poets of the 15th century, François Villon’s work reflected his criminal behaviour and time spent in prisons. Often bawdy, Villon’s poems, written in medieval French, used slang words from the criminal underworld and aren’t easily translated into contemporary English. Not deterred by such difficulties, Vancouver’s Roger Farr has delved into Villon’s oeuvre with unique translations and queer re-workings in After Villon (New Star $16). Farr substitutes present day slang from diverse places like prisons, theatres, culinary and military milieux, and carnivals. Farr also subverts sex and gender designations by changing gender, pronouns and names in recognition of the problems with translating Villon. 9781554201877

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