Gottfried August Bürger, 1773
Translation and study by Júlia Földényi
A fine example of the Kunstballade, Lenore is one of Bürger’s best-known ballads as well as a huge literary success of its time. In this macabre tale, the tragic irreversibility of Lenore’s transgression and the overpowering presence of her spectre lover are rendered through the use of carefully conceived effects. Translated into English several times, the ballad exerted major influence on the evolution of the English Gothic and the Romantic movement, serving as a source of inspiration for authors such as Matthew Gregory Lewis and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The present text, with facing German original, is intended to be a faithful line-by-line prose translation. Explanatory footnotes have been provided. The accompanying study offers insight into the folklore sources of Lenore while relating it to Gothic and Romantic trends.