Archive for November, 2010

Myth by R J Dent

November 15, 2010


‘A cross between An American Werewolf in London and Clive Barker’s Nightbreed’ (Amazon)

This is R J Dent’s novel Myth,  a dark, erotic fantasy set on a Greek island.


It tells the story of a couple (James and Penny) who hear about the chimera, a strange mythical creature that lives in the hills. They, of course, are sceptical, but also curious. Eventually, curiosity wins out and they set off with a guide, up into the hills to see the chimera for themselves.


Obviously things aren’t as they seem and the couple end up trapped in the hills. The man, James Barrett, defends himself against an attacker, but becomes susceptible to the suggestion that he is now the mythical beast, having defeated the one that attacked him.


He rejects this idea and instead focuses on caring for Penny, who has been injured. James then tries to get back to the village, only to realise that the whole village have duped him. He then opts for revenge against the village and goes on the rampage, destroying everyone he comes into contact with. He becomes monstrous.


R J Dent says: ‘I wrote Myth because I was interested in the way people change when they’re in exotic locations – if they’re not xenophobic they either go native, become very nationalistic, or else become a wistful hybrid of the two. That was my starting point. I then simply added a Greek myth scenario, using the chimera as the indigenous antagonist.’


‘The Greek myth element decided the location, and the rest was simply charting what happened to the couple. I used Pavese’s idea that ‘travelling is a brutality’ – and that was it; I had my novel. All that was needed was an ending – which was made clear to me after I read Robert Graves’ comment that every Greek myth had a regional variation. With that in mind, I gave Myth seven very different regional variations.’


‘Writing Myth was a very good experience. I used a great deal of my familiarity with, and love of, various Greek islands, to inform my novel. I used locations, characters, names, etc, that I know well. For the last five years I’ve steeped myself in Greek culture. Some of that is reflected in Myth.’


Myth is ‘a cross between An American Werewolf in London and Clive Barker’s Nightbreed.’ (Amazon review)


myth-poster


You can buy Myth from Amazon.com at:

http://www.amazon.com/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1289859314&sr=8-1

or from Amazon.co.uk at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Details of my other works (books, stories, poems, essays) are available on:

www.rjdent.com



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The Songs of Maldoror

November 9, 2010


The Songs of Maldoror

by Le Comte de Lautréamont

Translated by R J Dent

Illustrated by Salvador Dalí

Foreword by Paul Éluard

Lautréamont’s Biography by Jeremy Reed

Introduction by Candice Black


264 pages, 22 half-tones, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Series: Solar Books – Solar Nocturnal

Paper $16.95

ISBN: 9780982046487

‘A new, definitive edition of Lautréamont’s influential masterpiece. Vividly translated by R J Dent.’

 

‘Lautréamont’s Songs of Maldoror [is] the black bible… almost the basic dream text of surrealism.’ J G Ballard

 

The Songs of Maldoror is an enigma of redoubtable power.’ Jacques Derrida

 

The Songs of Maldoror is ‘the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential.’ André Breton

 

Le Comte de Lautréamont was the nom de plume of Isidore Ducasse (1846–70), a Uruguayan-born French writer and poet whose only surviving major work of fiction, The Songs of Maldoror (Les Chants de Maldoror), was discovered by the Surrealists, who hailed the work as a dark progenitor of their movement. It was in The Songs of Maldoror that André Breton discovered the phrase that would come to represent the Surrealist doctrine of objective chance: “as beautiful as the random encounter between an umbrella and a sewing-machine upon a dissecting-table.”

Artists inspired by Lautréamont include Man Ray, René Magritte, Max Ernst, André Masson, Joan Miró, Yves Tanguy and, in particular, Salvador Dalí, who in 1933 produced an entire series of illustrations for The Songs of Maldoror. Twenty of those illustrations are included, for the first time, in this new, definitive edition of Lautréamont’s influential masterpiece. Vividly translated by R J Dent – the first new translation for over thirty years – this edition also includes a foreword by French Surrealist poet Paul Éluard and a concise biography of the author by poet Jeremy Reed. In addition, an introduction by series editor Candice Black details the links between Maldoror and the Surrealist movement.

The Songs of Maldoror is a poetic novel (or a long prose poem) consisting of six cantos. It was written between 1868 and 1869 by Le Comte de Lautréamont, the pseudonym of Isidore Ducasse. During the early 1900s, many of the surrealists (Salvador Dalí, André Breton, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Max Ernst) cited the novel as a major inspiration to their own works. The Songs of Maldoror – and the book’s protagonist Maldoror – have continued to fascinate readers since its publication.


Here’s The Independent‘s review of The Songs of Maldoror:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/book-of-a-lifetime-les-chants-de-maldoror-by-the-comte-de-lautr-amont-1632973.html

 

The Songs of Maldoror can be ordered from Amazon.co.uk at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Maldoror-Solar-Books-Nocturnal/dp/0982046480/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289177923&sr=1-1


or from Amazon.com at:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Songs-Maldoror-Solar-Books/dp/0982046480

 

 

Details of The Songs of Maldoror and R J Dent’s other books can be found at:

www.rjdent.com



Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil

November 7, 2010


The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

by Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent


Here’s R J Dent’s translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil. It was published by Solar Books on January 9th 2009. According to the blurb it’s ‘a brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’.

R J Dent says: ‘This particular translation was a labour of love; it started years ago, when I studied Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal as an undergraduate and realised how inaccurate the available translations were. I promptly set about translating twenty or so of the best poems, particularly the banned ones. In the process, I very quickly came to admire Charles Baudelaire’s poetic voice. It was refined and dignified, and yet very daring. I now understand these contradictions, if that’s what they are.’

‘I found the translation process itself very interesting. Because Baudelaire’s writing is very visual, it was almost like time-travel; I wandered around 19th century Paris, absorbing the sights, sounds, scents; was taken into the bedrooms of many dusky women, all of them sprawled across their beds, dressed only in jewels and perfume.’

‘When I had finished the translation, I was back in the 21st century. I couldn’t wait to get back to Baudelaire’s Paris. The translation process itself was very much like archaeology. I had the French text and I would work at it steadily, uncovering its buried English meaning, word by word, line by line, until finally, the whole poem would stand naked before me in all its pristine glory. That’s Baudelaire’s poetry for you. If only all translation work was like that.’

‘Incidentally, I very much enjoyed translating the introductory essay by Guillaume Apollinaire, which is now available in English for the first time.’

‘Solar Books has done a great job with The Flowers of Evil. With it they’ve included a new version of Artificial Paradise, which is a series of Baudelaire’s reflections on wine, hashish and opium.’

Odilon Redon’s cover picture, which he painted specifically for The Flowers of Evil, perfectly captures the zeitgeist of Baudelaire’s 19th century Paris.


The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent

SOLAR BOOKS

ISBN-10: 0-9799847-7-7

ISBN-13: 978-0-9799847-7-8

Publication date: January 2009


The Flowers of Evil can be ordered from Solar Books at:

http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html

or from The University of Chicago Press at:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?mode=synopsis&bookkey=10734555


or from Amazon.com at:

http://www.amazon.com/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236890663&sr=8-1


or from Amazon.co.uk at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217774414&sr=1-1


Details of this book and R J Dent’s other works can be found at:

www.rjdent.com