Writing years after terrible events which colored her life forever, Anna Stanislawska (1651-1701) meticulously reconstructed in an epic poem the episode of her forced marriage to the deviant son of the Castellan of Kraków. So ugly was he deemed to be that Stanislawska named her new husband Aesop, who was said to have been one of the ugliest men in Antiquity. Barry Keane's idiomatic and inventive verse translation brings to life this half-forgotten poetic account of a remarkable tale of triumph in the face of overwhelming oppression, and allows Anna Stanislawska to take her place among the women poets of early modern Europe.
"No other work of early modern Polish literature can be compared with Anna Stanislawska’s poetic account of her life. What is more — no woman in Polish literature published such a sincere and artistically valuable confession until the twentieth century. Barry Keane has an exceptional talent to render all the beauty of old poetry into English, and has successfully captured the metrical and rhyming features of the poem, and its rhetorical and performative qualities, in a translation that is both faithful and readable."
Professor, Faculty of “Artes Liberales,” University of Warsaw
"Barry Keane has given us a striking addition to the early modern European canon in English translation. Anna Stanislawska’s poetic account of her atrocious experience as the unwilling bride of a mad young nobleman, and of her escape, is shapely, detailed and lifelike. Her writing matches her character: tough, angry, satirical; her verve and freshness carry the reader along through the twists of a lively, detailed narrative, illuminating the forces that could destroy even aristocratic women’s lives, in a time of huge political and military disruption in Poland. Aided by its excellent scholarly framework, we enter Stanislawska’s distant place and time, and encounter a memorable woman who can make us feel her troubles and her determination as if they were close by."
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Professor (emeritus), School of English, Trinity College Dublin
BARRY KEANE, lecturer in Translation and Comparative Studies in the Institute of English Studies at the University of Warsaw, is the author of books on the Renaissance poet Jan Kochanowski, the modernist Skamander poets, and several volumes of poetry. His forthcoming book, to be published with Intellect Ltd., is entitled Irish Drama in Poland: Staging and Reception, 1900 – 2000.
Iter and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2016
The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 45
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 492
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