The mysterious quatrains of the sixteenth-century French astrologer Nostradamus have long proved captivating for their predictions. Nostradamus has been credited with anticipating the Great Fire of London, the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the September 11 terrorist attacks. Today, as the world grapples with financial meltdowns, global terrorism, and environmental disasters - as well as the Mayan prediction of the apocalypse on December 12, 2012 - his prophecies of doom have assumed heightened relevance. How has "The Prophecies" outlasted most books from the Renaissance? This edition considers its legacy in terms of the poetics of the quatrains, published here in a brilliant new translation and with introductory material and notes mapping the cultural, political, and historical forces that resonate throughout Nostradamus' epic, giving it its visionary power.
Everybody knows about Nostradamus, but few have read him. Richard Sieburth's glittering translation rescues one of the world's most arcane texts from the realm of hearsay, and renders its strange poetry palpable and moving -- John Ashbery, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Freshly translated [and] stamped with the approval of the editors of the venerable Penguin Classics series ... this new dual-language edition of The Prophecies, translated by the excellent Richard Sieburth, makes a case for Nostradamus as a poet of sweep and impact ... Never mind the Weather Channel. If the Penguin Classics people are telling me to be afraid, then I am prepared to be very afraid indeed -- Dwight Garner New York Times
Nostradamus was born in the south of France in 1503 and studied at the University of Avignon, until an outbreak of plague forced him to leave. He enrolled in the University of Montpellier but was subsequently expelled. In subsequent years he worked as an apothecary and published his most famous book, Les Propheties (The Prophecies), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. He died in 1566. Richard Sieburth is a translator, essayist, editor, and literary scholar. He has gained widespread recognition for his numerous translations from both German and French literature, receiving a number of awards and prizes for his work. Sieburth is considered an authority on literary modernism, particularly the life and work of Ezra Pound. He has taught at many institutions of higher learning, serving as a professor of French and comparative literature at New York University.