History, Literature, Music, Reviews

Review: Kehew, Lark in the Morning

jacket imageThe London Review of Books recently praised Robert Kehew’s Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours, a Bilingual Edition. Barbara Newman wrote, "Only formal verse, respecting the troubadours’ metrical innovations and their prodigious achievements in sonority and rhyme, can hope to convey both their individual voices and their collecive charm. It is here that Robert Kehew’s anthology, Lark in the Morning, succeeds so brilliantly."
Although the troubadours flourished at the height of the Middle Ages in southern France, their songs of romantic love, with pleasing melodies and intricate stanzaic patterns, have inspired poets and song writers ever since, from Dante to Chaucer, from Renaissance sonneteers to the Romantics, and from Verlaine and Rimbaud to modern rock lyricists. Yet despite the incontrovertible influence of the troubadours on the development of both poetry and music in the West, there existed no comprehensive anthology of troubadour lyrics that respected the verse form of the originals until now. Lark in the Morning honors the meter, word play, punning, and sound effects in the troubadours’ works while celebrating the often playful, bawdy, and biting nature of the material.