Because the poetry of Adam Mickiewicz is so closely identified with the history of the Polish nation, one often reads him as an institution, rather than a real person. In the Crimean and Erotic Sonnets of the national bard, we are presented with the fresh, real, and striking poetry of a living, breathing man of flesh and blood. Mickiewicz proved to be a master of Petrarchan form. His Erotic Sonnets chronicle the development of a love affair from its first stirrings to its disillusioning denouement, at times in a bitingly sardonic tone. The Crimean Sonnets, a verse account of his journeys through the beautiful Crimean Peninsula, constitute the most perfect cycle of descriptive sonnets since du Bellay. The Sonnets of Adam Mickiewicz are given in the original Polish, in facing-page format, with English verse translations by Charles S. Kraszewski. Along with the entirety of the Crimean and Erotic Sonnets, other “loose” sonnets by Mickiewicz are included, which provide the reader with the most comprehensive collection to date of Mickiewicz’s sonneteering. Fronted with a critical introduction, The Sonnets of Adam Mickiewicz also contain generous textual notes by the poet and the translator.
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