Albert Giraud’s Pierrot Lunaire

Gregory Richter

This title is OUT OF PRINT.

This is the first English translation of Belgian poet Albert Giraud’s collection of fifty poems, Pierrot Lunaire: Rondels Bergamasques (1884).




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This is the first English translation of Belgian poet Albert Giraud’s collection of fifty poems, Pierrot Lunaire: Rondels Bergamasques (1884). Giraud’s work was translated to German by Otto Erich Hartleben and twenty-one of those poems were used by Arnold Schoenberg in his masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire (1912)—one of the defining compositions of the twentieth century. These English renderings reveal the extent to which Hartleben introduced changes as he translated the work. Taken as a whole, this trilingual edition suggests how the French fin de siècle served as a model for the early twentieth-century German avant-garde, which culminated in Schoenberg’s masterpiece.

At long last, both Albert Giraud’s complete cycle of Pierrot poems and an English translation, plus the complete German translation/paraphrases of Otto Erich Hartleben, are available for literary and musical readers alike. For those who prize Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunnaire, op. 21one of the most important compositions of the twentieth century—and those intrigued by fin-de-siècle European poetry, this volume is a godsend.

—Susan Youen


Translator’s Note

1. Théâtre / Eine Bühne / Theater
2. Décor / Feerie / Decor
3. Pierrot Dandy / Der Dandy / Pierrot the Dandy
4. Déconvenue / Schweres Los / Disappointment
5. Lune au Lavoir / Eine blasse Wäscherin / The Moon is a Laundress
6. La Sérénade de Pierrot / Serenade / Pierrot’s Serenade
7. Cuisine Lyrique / Der Koch Lyric Cuisine
8. Arlequinade / Harlequinade / Harlequin’s Tale
9. Pierrot Polaire / Nordpolfahrt / Polar Pierrot
10. A Colombine / Colombine / For Columbine
11. Arlequin / Harlequin / Harlequin
12. Les Nuages / Die Wolken / The Clouds
13. A mon Cousin de Bergame / Mein Bruder / To My Cousin from Bergamo
14. Pierrot Voleur / Raub / Pierrot the Thief
15. Spleen /  Herbst / Spleen / Spleen.
16. Ivresse de Lune / Mondestrunken / Moondrunk
17. La Chanson de la Potence / Galgenlied / Song of the Gallows
18. Suicide / Selbstmord / Suicide
19. Papillons Noirs / Nacht / Black Butterflies
20. Coucher de Soleil / Sonnen-Ende / Sunset
21. Lune Malade / Der kranke Mond / Sick Moon
22. Absinthe / Absinth / Absinthe
23. Mendiante de Têtes / Köpfe! Köpfe! / Begging for Heads
24. Décollation / Enthauptung / Decapitation
25. Rouge et Blanc / Rot und Weiß / Red and White / Rot und Weiß
26. Valse de Chopin / Valse de Chopin / Chopin Waltz
27. L’Eglise / Die Kirche / The Church
28. Evocation / Madonna / Evocation
29. Messe Rouge / Rote Messe / Red Mass
30. Les Croix / Die Kreuze / Crosses
31. Supplique / Gebet an Pierrot / Supplication
32. Violon de Lune / Die Violine / The Moon’s Violin
33. Les Cigognes / Abend / The Storks
34. Nostalgie / Heimweh / Nostalgia
35. Parfums de Bergame / O alter Duft / The Perfumes of Bergamo
36. Départ de Pierrot / Heimfahrt / Pierrot’s Departure
37. Pantomime / Pantomime / Pantomime
38. Brosseur de Lune / Der Mondfleck / Brushing Off a Moonbeam
39. L’Alphabet / Das Alphabet / The Alphabet
40. Blancheurs Sacrées / Das heilige Weiß / Sacred Whiteness
41. Poussière Rose / Morgen / Red Dust
42. Parodie / Parodie / Parody
43. Lune Moqueuse / Moquerie / Mocking Moon
44. La Lanterne / Die Laterne / The Lantern
45. Pierrot Cruel / Gemeinheit! / Cruel Pierrot
46. Décor / Landschaft / Decor
47. Le Miroir / Im Spiegel / The Mirror
48. Souper sur l’Eau6 / Souper / Soirée On the Water
49. L’Escalier / Die Estrade / The Staircase
50. Cristal de Bohême / Böhmischer Kristall / Bohemian Crystal
51. Die Harfe / The Harp
52. Pierrot et l’Ane / Pierrot and the Donkey

About the Translator
Subject Index
Index of Titles and First Lines


Gregory Richter is professor of linguistics and foreign languages at Truman State University, where he currently teaches linguistics and German. Originally from California, he studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned his Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of California, San Diego. With a strong interest in translation, he has translated poems by Einar Bragi, Jóhann Hjálmarsson, and Matthías Johannessen in Icelandic, published in both Paintbrush (1986) and Chariton Review (1990), as well as poems by Larissa Vassilisa in Russian in Chariton Review (1989), and poems by Hé Dong in Chinese in Samtiden (1990) and Vinduet (1991). He has also produced a translation of the Chinese classic Tao Te Ching, entitled The Gate of All Marvelous Things: A Guide to Reading the Tao Te Ching (Red Mansions Publishing, 1998). From German, he has translated the volume The Incest Theme in Literature and Legend by the psychologist Otto Rank, which addresses the Oedipus and Electra dramas and related literary works through the ages (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). His most recent translation from German (with E. James Lieberman) is Psychology and the Soul by Otto Rank, a history of belief in the soul in numerous cultures (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998). Mr. Richter resides with his wife and son in Kirksville, Missouri.


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