The Stillness Of The World Before Bach
by Lars Gustafsson
Lars Gustafsson, one of Sweden’s leading men of letters, is known in the English-speaking world primarily for his novels and short stories, but he is also a distinguished poet with ten discrete volumes published to date in addition to the collective edition of his work for the years 1950-1980. In The Stillness of the World Before Bach: New Selected Poems, readers will recognize in Gustafsson’s verse the playful erudition and imaginative philosophizing that give his fiction its unique appeal. Gustafsson, writes editor Christopher Middleton, “has remained distinctively a poet, insofar as his novels and essays usually combine exploratory and fabulous features with keen observation, a fascination with character in conflict as the subjective (or existential) axis of history, and a delight in story for its own complex or simple sake.” The selections for The Stillness of the World Before Bach were made by Christopher Middleton of the University of Texas at Austin in close association with the author, with whom he also collaborated for his own versions of many of the poems. Other translations were contributed by Robin Fulton, Philip Martin Yvonne L. Sandstroem, and Harriett Watts.