his introduction Max Knight considers the obstacle course all translators vis-a-vis Morgenstern's ""gallows songs"", and he...
CHRISTIAN MORGENSTERN'S ""GALGENLIEDER
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his introduction Max Knight considers the obstacle course all translators vis-a-vis Morgenstern's ""gallows songs"", and he certainly has his reasons. For the late 19th century German poet's bizarre, batty world, is full of parody, puns and philosophic prattfalls, and his sensibility and his technique are both strait-acketed in English. Not that Mr. Knight doesn't manage a few fanciful felicities we think, however, Christopher Middleton's and W.D. Snodgrass' scattered attempts sewhere more successful) but simply that Morgenstern's idiosyncratic idiom is im-regnable. All that natty nonsense, all those carnivalized cadavers, absurdist animals, jumping-jack innocence- well it just doesn't quite come off. Morgenstern's ultural bedfellows could include among others Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Ionesco, and current avant gardists as well as the playful doodling of Paul Klee. Morgenstern as recently aroused little magazine interest and Mr. Knight should be given a rebounding E for effort.