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From: "Russell Wodell" 
Subject: (urth) Crowley's The Translator
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 08:11:31 -0800

Notes from a first reading:

1. The source seems to be Auden's famous quote that poets are the
unacknowledged legislators of reality. Here, this seems to be interpreted as
poet=saint or poet=angel.

2. Crowley seems to be saying that the peaceful resolution of the Cuban
Missile Crisis was a literal miracle. Exactly how an exiled Russian poet
could prevent nuclear war is left as teasingly unclear as the actions of the
fairies in "Little, Big."

3. The poetic concept that each nation has two opposing angels seems to be
meant literally as well -- but Crowley is a recovering Catholic and is
deeply ambiguous about this. There are several candidates for America's dark

4. The hostile NY Times review complained that Crowley's invented Russian
poetry was awful. I strongly disagree: I found it moving and much more
authentic than, say D.M. Thomas's similar efforts in his novels (though his
translations of actual poetry are sometime marvellous).
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