My Life in 5 Books #4


A Bedtime Book

I prefer something which is easy on the eye and may only spend fifteen minutes on it before getting my head down. So my bedside books are generally different from ones I read during the day or carry around on journeys. I also like something that can be put down for a while without having to pick up the thread of a story again in the next day or two: books of poetry, short stories or history come into this category.

One book that is likely to be by my bedside for some time to come is the bilingual Anthology of Galician Literature (1196-1981) edited by Jonathan Dunne. He also appears to have been the busiest translator working on the project, although over twenty others were involved.

The older Galician texts are particularly important historical documents in themselves, being the earliest texts written and maintained in Galician-Portuguese. At that time, the language was the principal means of expression for troubador poetry on the Iberian peninsula; even King Alfonso X of Castile had a go. His work is rather good although I believe there is a debate about whether he produced all the work on his own.

Some of the early Galician texts in particular make for quite tricky reading for me, given how the language has evolved over the centuries, but there is always the option to read the English version and just get a flavour of how the original looked.

The anthology also features some short stories, and excerpts from plays or other key twentieth century literary texts, so really there is a bit of everything for anyone interested in getting a flavour of Galician literature.

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