New York: Pantheon, 1951. First edition. Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. Book is fine, price-clipped dust jacket with a short closed tear to base of front panel and invisible tape repairs to the verso of the spine. A handsome copy. Item #529
"PERFECT TRANSLATION HIDES THE SENSE OF TRANSLATION" First American edition of Roy Campbell's splendid translation of St. John of the Cross. John of the Cross, it seems, has always been destined to stand in the shadow of his great mentor, Teresa of Avila. The two Carmelite saints are linked inextricably: "Both were endowed with great mystical powers and both were gifted with unrivaled literary skill in depicting the various stages of mysticism." (Thomas Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church). The South African-born poet Roy Campbell was enamored of Iberian culture and devoted himself to become a skilled translator of French, Spanish and Portuguese poetry. Campbell's translation introduced John of the Cross to a broad post-war Anglo-American audience. The poems are presented in Spanish with Campbell's English translation on the opposite page. "John's theology was written in the form of commentary on his own mystical poems." (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). The translation includes a valuable Preface by the English Jesuit, M.C. D'Arcy: "Campbell carries us with him to Spain and into the presence of a Saint singing of the love of God." With Campbell's Dedication to his wife Mary. Roy and Mary Campbell, together with their two young daughters, converted to Catholicism in Altea, Spain in 1935. In April 1957, the Campbell's were returning from Holy Week festivities in Sevilla, Spain when Roy was killed in a car accident in Portugal. Printed in Great Britain for distribution in United States in the same year as the first British edition. An excellent copy.