Pablo Neruda’s Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (1924) is perhaps the most widely read and best loved book of poetry ever written in Spanish. Its verses can be recited by heart by millions of Latin Americans from every conceivable background and walk of life, and it has acquired the status of a bible for young lovers. Despite its immense popular success, it has received scant attention from scholars, and has often been studied out of context and in a relatively superficial fashion. This new critical edition — the first to include critical notes in English — argues that the book constitutes a critical juncture in the young Neruda’s development as a poet, and that the poems are as much painstakingly wrought experiments in style and form as they are outpourings of youthful passion. A detailed introduction in English demonstrates that the Viente poemas represent the culmination of a long and often fraught poetic apprenticeship, significant traces of which can still be found in the poems themselves. This is followed by a series of commentaries which offer close readings of all twenty-one poems, an extensive bibliography, a selected vocabulary, and a list of key rhetorical and metrical terms.
Reviews: “With its illuminating introduction and its clear, detailed, and insightful commentaries, Moran’s edition of the Veinte poemas serves as an important shift of focus in the study of this iconic collection towards the sort of detailed formal and rhetorical approach which the texts themselves so richly deserve, and should become the standard edition for use by undergraduates, graduates, and researchers alike.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies