Archive for the ‘French Literature’ Category

Jean Genet (1910-1986)

August 10, 2016

Jean Genet (19 December, 1910-15 April, 1986) was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist.

genet

Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but he later took to writing.

Throughout his five early novels, Genet works to subvert the traditional set of moral values of his assumed readership. He celebrates a beauty in evil, emphasizes his singularity, raises violent criminals to icons, and enjoys the specificity of gay gesture and coding and the depiction of scenes of brutality and betrayal.

NOVELS:

By 1949, Genet had completed five novels, three plays, and numerous poems, many of them considered controversial for their explicit and often deliberately provocative portrayal of homosexuality and criminality.

n jg olotf

Our Lady of the Flowers (Notre Dame des Fleurs, 1943) is a journey through the prison underworld, featuring a fictionalized alter-ego by the name of Divine, usually referred to in the feminine, at the center of a circle of queens with colourful sobriquets such as Mimosa I, Mimosa II, First Communion and the Queen of Rumania.

n jg motr

The Miracle of the Rose (Miracle de la rose, 1946) is a fictionalized autobiography which describes Genet’s time in Mettray Penal Colony.

n jg ttj

The Thief’s Journal (Journal du voleur, 1949) is also a fictionalized autobiography and it describes Genet’s experiences as a vagabond and prostitute, as he wanders across Europe.

n jg qob

Querelle of Brest (Querelle de Brest, 1947) is the story of a murder set in the midst of the port town of Brest, where sailors treat life with brutal carelessness.

n jg fr

Funeral Rites (Pompes funèbres, 1949) is a story of love and betrayal across political divides, inspired by the death of the narrator’s lover, Jean Decarnin, who was killed by the Germans during the Second World War.

PLAYS:

Jean Genet’s plays present highly stylized depictions of ritualistic struggles between outcasts of various kinds and their oppressors. Social identities are parodied and shown to involve complex layering through manipulation of the dramatic fiction and its inherent potential for theatricality and role-play.

p jg tm

In The Maids (1947), the eponymous maids imitate one another and their mistress.

p jg dw

In Deathwatch (Haute Surveillance, 1947), three prisoners are locked up in the same cell. One is to be guillotined. Confinement traps each of them in solitude and immense unhappiness, which lends them a certain dignity.

p s and e jg

Splendid’s (1948) is a full-length drama, and

Her (Elle, 1955) is a one-act play.

p jg tba

In The Balcony (1957), the clients of a brothel simulate roles of political power before, in a dramatic reversal, actually becoming those figures, all surrounded by mirrors that both reflect and conceal.

p jg tb

In The Blacks (1959), Genet offers a critical dramatization of what Aimé Césaire called negritude, presenting a violent assertion of Black identity and anti-white virulence framed in terms of mask-wearing and roles adopted and discarded.

p ts jg

The Screens (1961), Genet’s most overtly political play, is an epic account of the Algerian War of Independence.

NON-FICTION:

tsoag jg

Genet wrote an essay on the work of the Swiss sculptor and artist Alberto Giacometti entitled The Studio of Alberto Giacometti (L’Atelier d’Alberto Giacometti, 1957).

61+SPuGKPXL__SX361_BO1,204,203,200_

It was highly praised by Giacometti himself and by Pablo Picasso. Genet wrote in an informal style, incorporating excerpts of conversations between himself and Giacometti.

m jg pol

Prisoner of Love (Un Captif Amoureux, 1986) is a memoir of Genet’s encounters with Palestinian fighters and Black Panthers. In 1970, he had spent two years in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Visiting Beirut in September 1982, Genet found himself in the midst of the Israeli invasion of the city. He was one of the first foreigners to enter Shatila refugee camp after the massacre of hundreds of its inhabitants.

POETRY:

Genet also wrote several poems.

  • “The Man Condemned to Death” (“Le Condamné à Mort”) (written in 1942, first published in 1945)
  • “Funeral March” (“Marche Funebre”) (1945)
  • “The Galley” (“La Galere”) (1945)
  • “A Song of Love” (“Un Chant d’Amour”) (1946)
  • “The Fisherman of the Suquet” (“Le Pecheur du Suquet”) (1948)
  • “The Parade” (“La Parade”) (1948)

These poems have been translated into English by Jeremy Reed and George Messo and published as Jean Genet: The Complete Poems.

poems

Jean Genet developed throat cancer and was found dead on 15 April 1986, in a hotel room in Paris. He is buried in the Spanish Cemetery in Larache, Morocco.

67876968

ca. 1980-1997, Larache, Morocco --- Jean Genet's Grave on the Coast --- Image by © K.M. Westermann/CORBIS

Jean Genet’s books are available at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jean-Genet/e/B000APBLYE

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

Georges Bataille

November 20, 2015

GeorgesBataille

Georges Bataille (10 September 1897 – 9 July 1962) was a French intellectual and writer working in literature, philosophy, and the history of art. His writings included novels, essays and poetry. His subjects included eroticism, mysticism and transgression.

His fiction includes:

Story of the Eye:

Story of the Eye (L’histoire de l’oeil) is a 1928 short novel that details the increasingly bizarre sexual perversions of a pair of teenage lovers. It is narrated by an unnamed young man looking back on his exploits.

517LP4v6osL__SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

 

L’Abbé C:

L’Abbé C (1950) is a work of dark eroticism, centred on the relationship between two twentieth century brothers in a small French village, one of whom is a Catholic parish priest, while the other is a libertine. The novel explores issues of split subjectivity, existential angst and bad faith.

9780141195537

 

Blue of Noon:

Blue of Noon (Le Bleu du Ciel) is a blackly compelling account of depravity and violence. It is an erotic novella in which the narrator travels from city to city in a surreal nightmare, experiencing squalor, sadism and drunken encounters that culminate in incest and necrophilia. Bataille completed the work in 1935, but it was not published until 1957.

6de65db4e3c4fc07e8dc84949ae754ae

My Mother, Madame Edwarda, The Dead Man:

My Mother is a frank and intense depiction of a young man’s sexual initiation and corruption by his mother, where the profane becomes sacred, and intense experience is shown as the only way to transcend the boundaries of society and morality. Madame Edwarda is the story of a prostitute who calls herself God, and The Dead Man, published in 1964 after Bataille’s death, is a startling short tale of cruelty and desire.

4113926

His non-fiction includes:

Eroticism:

Eroticism is a collection of essays on taboo and sacrifice, transgression and language, death and sensuality. Bataille examines these themes with an original, often startling perspective. He challenges any single discourse on the erotic. The scope of his inquiry ranges from Emily Bronte to Sade, from St. Therese to Claude Levi-Strauss and Dr. Kinsey; and his subjects include prostitution, mythical ecstasy, cruelty, desire and sexuality.

9780141195568

Literature and Evil:

Literature and Evil is an extraordinary 1957 collection of essays, which begins with Bataille’s assertion that ‘Literature is not innocent.’ Bataille argues that only by acknowledging literature’s complicity with the knowledge of evil can literature communicate fully and intensely. The literary profiles of eight authors and their work, including Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal and the writings of Sade, Kafka and Sartre, explore subjects such as violence, eroticism, childhood, myth and transgression.

9780141195575

Georges Bataille’s books are available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=george+bataille

Details of R J Dent’s work is available at:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/RJDent

facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/R-J-Dent/344369095423?v=wall

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69?feature=mhum#p/a/u/0/CmnYHWJqQK4

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_nty_author_2gf4mb19VD5NN

On Translating Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal into English – by R J Dent

January 10, 2015

flowers of evil - r j dent - baudelaire

One of the frustrations, the challenges, the problems – and probably the joys – of translating Baudelaire’s poetry is choosing the correct idiom to translate into.

Taking the words, sentences, phrases, lines, from the language of one country and translating them into the corresponding or equivalent language of another country is the type of work that can be done by almost anyone.

However, choosing the absolutely perfect cultural, social, geographical, spatial, historical, temporal and linguistic framework to put the translated words onto is another matter entirely, and will very much depend on the translator’s intentions and the receptive vocabulary of the proposed readership.

And when it’s poetry that is being translated, the task becomes even more complicated; the problems suddenly multiply. Read more…

464772_on-translating-baudelaire_230x230

R J Dent says: ‘I found translating Charles Baudelaire’s influential poetry collection Les Fleurs du Mal from French into modern English to be a rewarding, but challenging experience. This essay outlines some of the challenges and joys of the translation process.’

 R J Dent’s English translation of The Flowers of Evil is available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Evil-Artificial-Paradise-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

flowers of evil - r j dent - baudelaire

 

On Translating Baudelaire

Copyright © R J Dent (2007 & 2016)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

 

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

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

blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 

The Blood Delirium: The Vampire in 19th Century European Literature

November 29, 2014

 

51W56dByfRL

‘R J Dent’s translations are fresh with an exciting raw sexual edge…’ (Candice Black)

 

The Blood Delirium is a definitive collection of 19th century European literature in which the vampire or vampirism – both embodied and atmospheric – is featured or evoked. Twenty-three seminal works by classic European authors, covering the whole of that delirious period from Gothic and Romantic, through Symbolism and Decadence to proto-Surrealism and beyond, in a single volume charged with sex, blood and horror.

 

The Blood Delirium contains a detailed introduction (by editor Candice Black) which not only examines these texts and their meaning, but which also charts the literary and cultural climate in which the new cult of the vampire was allowed to flourish.

 

The Blood Delirium includes texts by Bram Stoker, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde, J.M. Rymer, Charles Baudelaire, Le Comte de Lautréamont, Paul Féval, Maurice Rollinat, Guy de Maupassant, Count Stenbock, Jean Lorrain, Théophile Gautier, Charles Nodier, John Polidori, J.K. Huysmans, Charlotte Brontë, Ivan Turgenev, Jan Neruda, Augustus Hare, Cyprien Berard and Léon Bloy.

 

Several of the texts in The Blood Delirium are translated by R J Dent into English for the very first time, including those by Cyprien Bérard, Paul Féval, and Maurice Rollinat.

 

 

The Blood Delirium is the definitive collection for literate vampire-lovers.

 

The Blood Delirium is available from:

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Blood-Delirium-European-Literature/dp/0983884285

 

or from:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Delirium-The-Candice-Black/dp/0983884285

 

 

www.rjdent.com

 

Sade: Sex and Death – The Divine Marquis and the Surrealists (translated by R J Dent)

August 22, 2014

 

SS&D - RJD

SADE: SEX and DEATH

The Divine Marquis and the Surrealists

Edited by Candice Black

Cover Art: René Magritte – La Gâcheuse (The Bungler) 1935

Translated into English by R J Dent

 

“SADE IS SURREALIST IN SADISM”

André Breton, Surrealist Manifesto (1924)

 

The Marquis de Sade (1740–1814), best known for his violent, erotic novels, such as 120 Days of Sodom and Justine, was also one of the key inspirational figures identified by André Breton in his Surrealist Manifestos. De Sade’s importance to the Surrealists and their close affiliates is reflected in the sheer volume of art and writing dedicated to, or inspired by, his life, philosophy, and writings. Sade documents this body of Surrealist work, including many key texts and bizarre and erotic images never before assembled in one volume.  Included in Sade: Sex and Death are more than fifty rarely seen transgressive illustrations by some of the most famous names associated with Surrealism, including Dalí, Hans Bellmer, Magritte, André Masson, and Man Ray. The book also features analytical texts by writers of the period such as Bataille, Breton, Bunuel, Eluard, and Klossowski.

 

Also included is the first-ever English translation (by R J Dent) of ‘The Divine Marquis’ by Guillaume Apollinaire, which was the first modernist appraisal of Sade and remains one of the best concise biographies of its subject, and “Sade and the Roman Noir” by scholar Maurice Heine, in which Heine posits Sade as inventor of the gothic novel. Putting the works in context is an extensive history by Candice Black that details the relationship between the Surrealists and Sade.

 

The Marquis de Sade was one of the key figures identified by André Breton in his Surrealist Manifestos as inspirational to the whole Surrealist movement. Sade’s importance to the Surrealists and their close affiliates is reflected in the sheer volume of their art and writing dedicated to, or inspired by, his life, philosophy and work.

 

Sade: Sex and Death documents this body of work, and features many key texts as well as a host of bizarre and erotic Surrealist images never before assembled in one volume.

 

Including texts, paintings, photography and drawings by: Guillaume Apollinaire, Georges Bataille, Hans Bellmer, André Breton, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, Robert Desnos , Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Leonor Fini, Maurice Heine, Valentine Hugo, Pierre Klossowski, Felix Labisse, René Magritte, André Masson, Roberto Matta, Man Ray, Toyen, Clovis Trouille and others.

 

CONTENTS

 

Candice Black: Sade and Surrealism: An Illustrated History

Guillaume Apollinaire: The Divine Marquis (Trans. R J Dent)

Georges Bataille: The Use Value of De Sade (Trans. Allan Stoekl)    

Maurice Heine: De Sade and the Gothic Novel (Trans. R J Dent)

Pierre Klossowski: A Destructive Philosophy

Andre Masson: Notes on the Sadistic Imagination (Trans. R J Dent)        

Paul Eluard: Sade: A Revolutionary Intelligence (Trans. R J Dent)

 

SOLAR EROTIK ARCHIVE:

 

SADE: SEX and DEATH

The Divine Marquis and the Surrealists

Edited by Candice Black

Translated into English by R J Dent

ISBN-13: 978-0-9820464-9-4

 

Available from:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sade-Divine-Marquis-Surrealists-Archive/dp/0982046499

http://www.amazon.com/Sade-Divine-Marquis-Surrealists-Archive/dp/0982046499

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/S/bo11334062.html

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

 

www.rjdent.com

 

Bookbuster – a great bookshop in Hastings

November 5, 2013

Bookbuster is a wonderful book shop in Hastings that is open 7 days a week.

 

11043039_10153719386048266_5752203903102100672_n

The proprietor of Bookbuster is Tim Barton, a St. Leonards-based cultural entrepreneur with many years experience in the book trade.

1297905348

Tim has opened his cheekily-named bookshop, Bookbuster, in premises formerly occupied by a gone-bust Blockbuster DVD rental store.

DSCF6212

Tim believes in bookshops and what bookshops offer customers: “I don’t think you can beat a physical bookstore, where you are free to browse,” he says.

DSCF6219

Bookbuster is generating a lot of interest among book-lovers. Tim says: “The fact that there has been so much interest so far is fantastic.”

DSCF6220

Although the shelves offer many new titles, the shop has an extensive and eclectic range of books that seem to appeal to all ages and interests.

DSCF6213

With new stock arriving daily, a calendar full of author signings, readings, poetry slams and other literary events, and an ambient soundtrack playing to ensure customers linger longer, Bookbuster is proving to be a valuable business that gives a great deal to the Hastings reading community.

DSCF6214

There is also a significant second-hand book section that – along with a selection with some well-chosen perennial titles – offers collectors the chance to obtain copies of rare editions and signed delights from Iain Sinclair, the late Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe, amongst others.

DSCF6218

BookBuster is an independent bookshop in Queen’s Road, Hastings. There is a huge range of stock. Bookbuster is full of literary treasures and, because of Tim Barton’s depth of knowledge regarding authors and books of every type and genre, the shop is something of a cultural oasis. It is very good news for Hastings and for book-lovers and bibliophiles.

DSCF6215

BookBuster is at 39 Queen’s Road, Hastings. Opening hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 11-5 Sundays.

DSCF6222

There are author readings, author signings, lectures, poetry readings and live music at BookBuster throughout the year.

 

outdoors

BookBuster

39 Queen’s Road

Hastings

TN34 1RL

13006647_720886184718397_1200275082842337998_n

bookbuster

BookBuster facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueGreenEarthBooks

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

Le Comte de Lautréamont’s The Songs of Maldoror translated by R J Dent

October 10, 2013
Le Comte de Lautréamont'

Le Comte de Lautréamont’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Le Comte de Lautréamont’s seminal classic, The Songs of Maldoror (Les Chants de Maldoror) is now available in R J Dent’s modern English translation:

 

 

maldoror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is 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

 

 

R J Dent discusses his translation of Le Comte de Lautréamont’s The Songs of Maldoror:

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

R J Dent reads an extract from his translation of Le Comte de Lautréamont’s The Songs of Maldoror:

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

A promotional book trailer for R J Dent’s modern English translation of Le Comte de Lautréamont’s The Songs of Maldoror:

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

R J Dent’s translation of The Songs of Maldoror is available from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Maldoror-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0982046480

 

 

http://www.rjdent.com/

 

rjdent logo

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Oscar Wilde

October 8, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at the poems, essays, short stories, letters, plays and novel by the decadent creator of The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde:

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Oscar Wilde

 

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

 

http://www.rjdent.com

rjdent logo

 

 

 

 

Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil translated by R J Dent

October 7, 2013

 

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Baudelaire’s seminal classic, The Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du Mal) is now available in R J Dent’s modern English translation:

 

flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R J Dent discusses his translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

R J Dent reads ‘I give you these verses…’ from his translation of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

A promotional book trailer for R J Dent’s modern English translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil:

 

 

 

R J Dent’s translation of The Flowers of Evil is available from the University of Chicago Press:

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/F/bo10734555.html

and from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Evil-Artificial-Paradise-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381152776&sr=1-2

 

 

http://www.rjdent.com

 

rjdent logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Gustave Flaubert

October 5, 2013

 

A look in R J Dent’s library at the stories, novellas and novels of France’s premier stylist – Gustave Flaubert.

 

 

 

In R J Dent’s Library – Gustave Flaubert

 

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

 

http://www.rjdent.com

rjdent logo