I am pretty much interested in this author, mainly for his translator role. He was a polyglot of renown and his translation work encompassed at leastI am pretty much interested in this author, mainly for his translator role. He was a polyglot of renown and his translation work encompassed at least 3 main languages: English, Italian and Spanish.
Samuel Butler , J. Joyce (a polyglot too) and Faulkner are some of the sounding names, he got into the business of translating.
According to M.J. Friedman, Valery L. was “an astonishing litterateur”. He would dedicate four years of his life to the translation of Samuel Butler’s books into French.
This vast “investment” made him proffer a conference* exclusively on the topic of Butler, whom Valery saw as an Epicurist. Someone, who, despite of having a family deeply involved in the Anglican church (especially his grandfather), got in the way of rebellion, denying all Christian doctrine and superstition. It seems Butler followed the Epicurist precept: hide your life.
Valery acknowledged the important role of the writer as an international character:“Tout écrivain Français est international”.
Valery would be plainly understood if we would add to the list the names of: J. Gower,Pound, Eliot,Conrad, Rilke,Becket, Nabokov...
---- *Samuel Butler: Conférence faite le 3 Novembre 1920 à la Maison des amis des livres...more
I’ve watched an interview she gave, about this book. She spoke of “four voices, one man and three women,…in one single day”; each voice having its “owI’ve watched an interview she gave, about this book. She spoke of “four voices, one man and three women,…in one single day”; each voice having its “own style”.
It focuses on the last year of one of the characters; implying the pain due to “loss”.
It’s a novel which includes 50 years of history; a “political“ as well as an “intimate” novel.
She recalled her own biographical data: born abroad France(from Vietnamese descent) Linda Lê acknowledged her “exiled” character, …the 1975 communist victory in Vietnam; …and her regret of not having a brother.
I've found of particular interest her expression: "pas de point d'ancrage en dehors la litérature"; she hasn't got....more
Not of much renown, but, definitely, a "curious" character, Pierre Loti, a former French naval-officer, and writer, would retire at the age of 60,
Not of much renown, but, definitely, a "curious" character, Pierre Loti, a former French naval-officer, and writer, would retire at the age of 60, after a well-travelled life and 40 years of service. He retired to his home in Rochefort, a place full of memorabilia. Later on, a museum was established with several rooms on different époques.In the mean time, he wrote several novels and travelogues; he even got better than Balzac on a certain contest.
This book is about his travels in the Levant area, more specifically in Egypt.
Remarkable to his eye sense was the color of the night (“a color unknown”—to westerners, it’s implied); and, subsequently, the pervasive “rosy...tint”. Several lines are dedicated to the Sphinx, deteriorating. And, of course, throughout the entire trip: to the pyramids.
Then, January 1907: the bewilderment of Cairo, the city of the 3,000 mosques. Unlike the ones he was familiarized with, these ones use mosaic. He surely had some penchant on the esoteric (or the tetric?), because he had to pay a visit to the mummies of the museum at night,…traditions say that overnight certain “forms” detach from the mummies and other artifacts; it seems on the departure side he’d seen a dame…called Nsitanébashrou, alive.
Out of interest and respect, Loti described the many students who attend the “El-Azhar”, a center of Islamic study; to fulfill the imperative of the Prophet: ”seek knowledge” (if need be, go to China). Midst this entire Islamic people…and a lot of “rubbish”, Loti yet takes a sight at the Church of Saint Sergius.
“Pure Egyptians….a race of bronze fellahs”.
Views of the Memphis desert, as well as the black granite of the tombs of the Api and its catacombs are part of the trip.
Surely,… the Nile. He’ll embark on its ascent heading towards Luxor “colossal Temple”; passing by Thebes and into Nubia. The voyage account stops at the cataracts of Aswan; here is introduced the theme/title of the book: the Philae, and the plan of the British to elevate the dam over the Nile …: the Temple of Isis and most of the ancient temples of Nubia run the risk of being submerged.
(The Temple of Philae on Agilika Island)
The book had been dedicated to his friend Moustafa Kamel Pacha, who died in 1908. I was dashed by the beauty of the illustrations.
I read the French version of the book (La mort de Philae).
Somewhere, in a remote region of the Sahara desert, there, still hides a Queen and her servants, taking refuge inside caves. She’s a well-educated bea Somewhere, in a remote region of the Sahara desert, there, still hides a Queen and her servants, taking refuge inside caves. She’s a well-educated beautiful woman, a polyglot …yet, for men seeking after her charms, she’s fatal. She is queen Antinea, the sovereign of the “Hoggar”. You’re in the Blad-el-Khouf: the country of the fear. She is the last descendant of Atlantis´ kings lineage; the offspring of Neptune and Clito. It’s written in the book of Benoit that, though sinking, Atlantis center isle didn’t submerge; it’s now surrounded by insurmountable mountains: only this oasis was left after the Sahara Sea dried out…9,000 years ago.
The book is about the story of two military men who have been there. Morhange and Saint-Avit. The latter manages to escape the hide-out; but is found moribund in the desert, by a caravan. While in hospital, in a delirious state, he utters incomprehensible phrases like “it’s the number 54!!!”. Officers say that there’s no hope of finding Morhange. What really happened to him?
Saint-Avit returned to Paris. It’s 1914. He tries to forget about the experience. While in a café, midst the jazz tunes, he recalls the veiled-Queen.
On the 1st of May he’s back in the extreme south of the Sahara desert; he’s been appointed as commander of the post. This time he wants to go it alone…through the “great solitudes…and magic horizons”.
At the post he tells the story he’s been part of with Morhange. How they found out the palace… the strange tifinar (Tuareg) inscriptions;
how they got imprisoned, separately, inside the palace; how Morhange got received by the queen; and the jealousy of Saint Avit. How they were introduced in the red marble room: where golden statues of the men of the Queen stand. An archivist has told them: “they died of love”. Only one escaped, but even that one returned. Suicide, or craziness or opium can explain their deaths. Who shall become the 54th? or the 55th?
This review is partly based on the silent movie by Jacques Feyder (L’Atlantide) of 1921. As for the book, I would like to make a short commentary about the polemics (court-case) which involved Benoit: did he plagiarize H. R. Haggard (especially from the novel Ayesha)?
It’s been said that Benoit didn’t read English nor did he have any Ayesha’s novel published in France by his time. However, in the book there are plenty of English references, like:
«Je ne me souviendrai jamais sans émotion de mes dix-neuvième et vingtième années, époque où je liquidai complètement ce petit héritage. Londres était véritablement alors une ville adorable. Je m'étais arrangé une très aimable garçonnière dans Piccadilly. Piccadilly! Shops, palaces, bustle and breeze, The whirling of wheels, and the murmur of trees."
"Sur le mur, près de la fenêtre, avec son canif, il écrivait dans la pierre quelque chose. Regarde, ça se voit encore. Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight..."
Thus, he had to understand some English. And he lost the case.
Interestingly, in the library of Queen Antinea, Morhange and Saint Avit found many books; they browsed through them: one was Don Qijote…the other was Macbeth. Plus: Plato's Critias.
At least they (Haggard and Benoit) shared something: this taste for the adventurous and the exotic, and they were good at making it live,….through words. Erudite, as some of his characters, Benoit made it well. ...more
Istambul,....Turkey,....how timely* a novel on that area....
To many, Michelangelo, Italian painter,poet,sculptor and architect had always had that
Istambul,....Turkey,....how timely* a novel on that area....
To many, Michelangelo, Italian painter,poet,sculptor and architect had always had that allure as the Master-artist of the Renaissance, notwithstanding the fecund rivalry vis-a-vis another illustrious contemporary one: Leonardo Da Vinci.A Master too.
But the present book is about the former. Contrary to expectations of a sedentary M (contrasting with a Leonardo often “moving” throughout Italy), it seems that the supreme artist made a quick visit to Turkey, by invitation of a Sultan, for the purpose of the construction of a bridge.
(Golden Horn (center and right))
That’s the main plot arrangement of the book of Énard who visited Portugal recently [see interview in Publico, 31st of May 2013]. In an interview, he made interesting considerations about that time (Renaissance),the Zeitgeist and his book .
1-Mathias Énard is a French writer/author and translator; he studied Persian and Arabic, and for several years he lived in the Middle East.He revealed an enormous fascination for the Mediterranean: quite apparent in his previous novels, namely in Zona. “What fascinates me in the Mediterranean Sea is the relation of its peoples with destruction [and rebirth,my expression]”, he said. He gives the example of Granada: destroyed by the Catholic monarchy, in a time when Jews and Muslims got expelled since they didn’t want to convert to Christianity. But it was reborn in another form in Istambul, defends the writer: because the Sultan welcomed all these persecuted peoples. Presently, Énard lectures Arabic literature in Barcelona.
2-The book Parle-leur de batailles, de rois et d'éléphants is narrated using three voices; M´s, an unknown narrator and an androgynous being who, at night, dialogues with the Italian artist. Énard highlights the linguistic difference: in Turkish or Persian there’s no gender: so, in poems, you never know whether it’s a man or a woman. The androgynous being tries to “seduce M in a poetic language, with wine and dances”.
3-It seems it all started with the author once “in an afternoon, while at Villa Medicis library** (a residence for writers in Rome)”: by chance he picked a book about M: a biography.This sentence resonated a lot: “M received an invitation by the Istanbul sultan Bajazet II to build a bridge over the Golden Horn”. Énard didn’t know about the fact: it became his “point de départ”. Another source for fiction was another biography on M by Ascanio Condivi: more details on the assumed trip (13th of May 1506) to present-day Turkey.
4-One aspect that stands out in the story is the seemingly “absence of a separation line between Orient and Occident”; like in the 16th century: the separation between Christianity and Islam was not so well delineated. According to Énard, this idea of separation Orient-Occident emerges only in the 19th century.Before that,things were more porous. Maybe more "linked"....
------------------------------------------------- *Check on the cover (edition of June 8th) of The Economist:Democrat or Sultan?