Posts Tagged ‘French literature’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/

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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:

 

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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

 

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Gustave Flaubert

July 25, 2011

 

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), was a French novelist perhaps known best for his novel Madame Bovary (1857).

 

 

 

Flaubert was born in Rouen, France on 12 December 1821, the fifth of six children in a family of doctors.

 

In the 1830s Flaubert attended the Collége Royal de Rouen, writing for its newspaper, reading Shakespeare, travelling extensively and beginning his own writings.

 

His first finished work was November, a novella, which was completed in 1842.

 

 

 

In September 1849, Flaubert completed the first version of The Temptation of Saint Anthony. He read the novel aloud to Louis Bouilhet and Maxime Du Camp over the course of four days, not allowing them to interrupt or give any opinions. At the end of the reading, his friends told him to throw the manuscript in the fire, suggesting instead that he focus on day-to-day life rather than fantastic subjects.

 

In 1850, after returning from Egypt, Flaubert began work on Madame Bovary. The novel, which took five years to write, was serialized in the Revue de Paris in 1856. The government brought an action against the publisher and author on the charge of immorality, which was heard during the following year, but both were acquitted. When Madame Bovary appeared in book form, it met with a warm reception.

 

Flaubert embarked on a trip to Egypt and the Far East with fellow writer Maxime Du Camp in 1851, sending home a varied assortment of exotic souvenirs. Nearly thirty years old he then took the next five years to write Madame Bovary, working mostly at night, having it published in six instalments by Du Camp’s literary journal Revue de Paris. The ensuing moral outrage in 1857 caused him to be (unsuccessfully) prosecuted on moral grounds.

 

In 1858, Flaubert travelled to Carthage to gather material for his next novel, Salammbô. The novel was completed in 1862 after four years of work.

 

Drawing on his youth, Flaubert next wrote L’Éducation sentimentale (Sentimental Education), an effort that took seven years. His last complete novel, it was published in 1869.

 

 

Flaubert then published a reworked version of The Temptation of Saint Anthony, portions of which had been published as early as 1857.

 

 

Flaubert wrote the Three Tales in 1877. This book comprised three stories: Un Cœur simple (A Simple Heart), La Légende de Saint-Julien l’Hospitalier (The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller), and Hérodias (Herodias).

 

After the publication of the stories, he spent the remainder of his life toiling on the unfinished Bouvard et Pécuchet, which was a grand satire on the futility of human knowledge and the ubiquity of mediocrity. It was posthumously printed in 1881 and received lukewarm reviews.

 

 

Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues (The Dictionary of Received/Accepted Ideas) is a short satirical work collected and published in 1911-13 from notes compiled by Flaubert during the 1870s, lampooning the clichés endemic to French society.

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At the time of Flaubert’s death, it was unclear whether he intended eventually to publish The Dictionary… separately, or as an appendix to his unfinished novel, Bouvard et Pécuchet. In some of his notes, it seems that Flaubert intended The Dictionary… to be taken as the final creation of the two protagonists.

 

Flaubert’s letters have been collected in several volumes.

His notes, letters and journal entries written during his sojourn in Egypt have been collated, edited and published as Flaubert in Egypt:

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Gustave Flaubert is buried at Rouen Cemetery in Normandy, France.

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Works:

November

Madame Bovary

Salammbô.

Sentimental Education

The Temptation of St. Antony

Three Tales

Bouvard and Pécuchet

A Dictionary of Received/Accepted Ideas

Letters

Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour

Gustave Flaubert’s books are available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gustave-Flaubert/e/B00TVHD2LW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1465164828&sr=1-2-ent

Follow R J Dent’s writing on:

www.rjdent.com

 

Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

January 14, 2009

The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

by Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent

 

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‘A brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’

 

Here’s my new book. It’s a translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, published by Solar Books on November 9th 2008. According to the blurb it’s ‘a brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’.


 

 

The translation was a labour of love; it started years ago, when I studied Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal as an undergraduate. I realised how inaccurate the available translations were, and 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.


 

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

 

 

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 published for the first time in English.


 

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: November 2008

 


 

 

It can be ordered from Solar Books at:

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

 

 

 

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 my other works can be found at:

www.rjdent.com

 


 

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