The EPIC OF GILGAMESH

Published on Jun 9, 2014The EPIC OF GILGAMESH is the earliest great work of literature that we know of, and was first written down by the Sumerians around 2100 B.C.Ancient Sumer was the land that lay between the two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, in…

Published on Jun 9, 2014
The EPIC OF GILGAMESH is the earliest great work of literature that we know of, and was first written down by the Sumerians around 2100 B.C.

Ancient Sumer was the land that lay between the two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, in Mesopotamia. The language that the Sumerians spoke was unrelated to the Semitic languages of their neighbors the Akkadians and Babylonians, and it was written in a syllabary (a kind of alphabet) called “cuneiform”. By 2000 B.C., the language of Sumer had almost completely died out and was used only by scholars (like Latin is today). No one knows how it was pronounced because it has not been heard in 4000 years.

What you hear in this video are a few of the opening lines of part of the epic poem, accompanied only by a long-neck, three-string, Sumerian lute known as a “gish-gu-di”. The instrument is tuned to G – G – D, and although it is similar to other long neck lutes still in use today (the tar, the setar, the saz, etc.) the modern instruments are low tension and strung with fine steel wire. The ancient long neck lutes (such as the Egyptian “nefer”) were strung with gut and behaved slightly differently. The short-neck lute known as the “oud” is strung with gut/nylon, and its sound has much in common with the ancient long-neck lute although the oud is not a fretted instrument and its strings are much shorter (about 25 inches or 63 cm) as compared to 32 inches (82 cm) on a long-neck instrument.

For anyone interested in these lutes, I highly recommend THE ARCHAEOMUSICOLOGY OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST by Professor Richard Dumbrill.

The location for this performance is the courtyard of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in Babylon. The piece is four minutes long and is intended only as a taste of what the music of ancient Sumer might have sounded like.

Kaputt

Kaputt

Da Wikipedia, l’enciclopedia libera.
« Kaputt è un libro crudele. La sua crudeltà è la più straordinaria esperienza che io abbia tratto dallo spettacolo dell’Europa in questi anni di guerra. Tuttavia, fra i protagonisti di questo libro, la guerra non è che un personaggio secondario. Si potrebbe dire che ha solo un valore di pretesto, se i pretesti inevitabili non appartenessero all’ordine della fatalità. In Kaputt la guerra conta dunque come fatalità. Non v’entra in altro modo. Direi che v’entra non da protagonista, ma da spettatrice, in quello stesso senso in cui è spettatore un paesaggio. La guerra è il paesaggio oggettivo di questo libro. »
(Curzio Malaparte)
Kaputt
Autore Curzio Malaparte
1ª ed. originale 1944
Genere romanzo
Sottogenere autobiografia (parziale)
Lingua originale italiano
Kaputt è un libro scritto da Curzio Malaparte tra il 1941 ed il 1943. È difficile definirlo un romanzo[1] nel senso comune del termine: non ha uno sviluppo di trama prevedibile.
È piuttosto un insieme di episodi, in parte autobiografici, tenuti assieme dal riferimento alla cornice bellica in cui si dipana il racconto

Kaputt

Da Wikipedia, l’enciclopedia libera.
« Kaputt è un libro crudele. La sua crudeltà è la più straordinaria esperienza che io abbia tratto dallo spettacolo dell’Europa in questi anni di guerra. Tuttavia, fra i protagonisti di questo libro, la guerra non è che un personaggio secondario. Si potrebbe dire che ha solo un valore di pretesto, se i pretesti inevitabili non appartenessero all’ordine della fatalità. In Kaputt la guerra conta dunque come fatalità. Non v’entra in altro modo. Direi che v’entra non da protagonista, ma da spettatrice, in quello stesso senso in cui è spettatore un paesaggio. La guerra è il paesaggio oggettivo di questo libro. »
(Curzio Malaparte)
Kaputt
Autore Curzio Malaparte
1ª ed. originale 1944
Genere romanzo
Sottogenere autobiografia (parziale)
Lingua originale italiano
Kaputt è un libro scritto da Curzio Malaparte tra il 1941 ed il 1943. È difficile definirlo un romanzo[1] nel senso comune del termine: non ha uno sviluppo di trama prevedibile.
È piuttosto un insieme di episodi, in parte autobiografici, tenuti assieme dal riferimento alla cornice bellica in cui si dipana il racconto

Reconstruction

Reconstruction is a psychological romantic drama film and the debut of Christoffer Boe, who also wrote the screenplay together with Mogens Rukov. It was filmed in Copenhagen and won the Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, and the  Golden Plaque for Manuel Alberto Claro‘s luminous wide-screen cinematography.

A play of mirrors; a little magic; a little smoke; a lot of white. With a few elements and a simple structure Boe gives a complex story. There is a play with stories within stories and recurrence of time. The author of the tale is part of the tale. The synthesis of the tales seems to be the scene in the Metro where one anonymous rider makes a trick with a cigarette. Everyone stops to watch the show. Time seems to freeze; The train comes; The magician, takes a last taste of the cigarette, throws it away, and everybody leaves.

All surroundings seem to be white; is a Nordic thing or a symbol? The film was shot almost entirely in available light. Using available lighting is not merely stylistic. Boe doesn’t work with storyboards or set schedules.

They shot Super 16 on an Arri SR3 using three different stocks. Then the film was scanned, color-graded, and digitally masked to CinemaScope. The scan was a simple one-light, and the team did no color correction, the opposite of today’s trend to perform a digital intermediate. They also pushed the emulsion for extra grain.

In one interview Christoffer Boe said that the film was inspired by Jacques-Henri Lartigue’s photograph of a woman standing in a room with empty bookcases. “Looking at that picture, I immediately felt I wanted to do a story about a man who comes home and his apartment has disappeared. And I knew it had to be a love story”.

Characters do not use mobile phones or other means of modern communication. However, the story takes place nowadays. This emphasizes the fact that the plot is artificial and constructed.

The scene where Alex and Aimee are talking in a cafe was shot in the Bobi Bar which is one of Boe’s favorite and is close to where he lives.

Reconstruction is a psychological romantic drama film and the debut of Christoffer Boe, who also wrote the screenplay together with Mogens Rukov. It was filmed in Copenhagen and won the Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, and the  Golden Plaque for Manuel Alberto Claro‘s luminous wide-screen cinematography.

A play of mirrors; a little magic; a little smoke; a lot of white. With a few elements and a simple structure Boe gives a complex story. There is a play with stories within stories and recurrence of time. The author of the tale is part of the tale. The synthesis of the tales seems to be the scene in the Metro where one anonymous rider makes a trick with a cigarette. Everyone stops to watch the show. Time seems to freeze; The train comes; The magician, takes a last taste of the cigarette, throws it away, and everybody leaves.

All surroundings seem to be white; is a Nordic thing or a symbol? The film was shot almost entirely in available light. Using available lighting is not merely stylistic. Boe doesn’t work with storyboards or set schedules.

They shot Super 16 on an Arri SR3 using three different stocks. Then the film was scanned, color-graded, and digitally masked to CinemaScope. The scan was a simple one-light, and the team did no color correction, the opposite of today’s trend to perform a digital intermediate. They also pushed the emulsion for extra grain.

In one interview Christoffer Boe said that the film was inspired by Jacques-Henri Lartigue’s photograph of a woman standing in a room with empty bookcases. “Looking at that picture, I immediately felt I wanted to do a story about a man who comes home and his apartment has disappeared. And I knew it had to be a love story”.

Characters do not use mobile phones or other means of modern communication. However, the story takes place nowadays. This emphasizes the fact that the plot is artificial and constructed.

The scene where Alex and Aimee are talking in a cafe was shot in the Bobi Bar which is one of Boe’s favorite and is close to where he lives.

Senza Sangue

Autore: Alessandro Baricco
Titolo: Senza Sangue
Anno: 2011
Lingua: Italiano
Genere: Narrativa

Manuel Roca e i suoi due figli vivono in una vecchia fattoria isolata nella campagna. Un giorno quattro uomini su una vecchia Mercedes imboccano la strada polverosa che conduce alla loro casa. Come se stesse aspettando da sempre questo momento, Manuel Roca non perde un attimo e chiama a sé i due figli. Qualcosa di terribile e indescrivibile sta per accadere; qualcosa che sconvolgerà irrimediabilmente la vita di tutti, soprattutto quella della piccola Nina.


Es difícil analizar Sin sangre ya que el tema de la violencia me absorbe y se me dificulta abstraerme. Como Seda, Sin sangre es una novela corta, armada como una secuencia de instantáneas en el que los personajes son espectadores más que participes de la trama. Baricco reiterara un ejercicio en el que se plantea a si mismo la pregunta: ¿qué pensaría yo sí…?
Autore: Alessandro Baricco
Titolo: Senza Sangue
Anno: 2011
Lingua: Italiano
Genere: Narrativa

Manuel Roca e i suoi due figli vivono in una vecchia fattoria isolata nella campagna. Un giorno quattro uomini su una vecchia Mercedes imboccano la strada polverosa che conduce alla loro casa. Come se stesse aspettando da sempre questo momento, Manuel Roca non perde un attimo e chiama a sé i due figli. Qualcosa di terribile e indescrivibile sta per accadere; qualcosa che sconvolgerà irrimediabilmente la vita di tutti, soprattutto quella della piccola Nina.


Es difícil analizar Sin sangre ya que el tema de la violencia me absorbe y se me dificulta abstraerme. Como Seda, Sin sangre es una novela corta, armada como una secuencia de instantáneas en el que los personajes son espectadores más que participes de la trama. Baricco reiterara un ejercicio en el que se plantea a si mismo la pregunta: ¿qué pensaría yo sí…?

Salammbô

Salammbô (1862) is a historical novel by Gustave Flaubert. It is set in Carthage during the 3rd century BC, immediately before and during the Mercenary Revolt which took place shortly after the First Punic War. Flaubert’s main source was Book I of Polybius‘s Histories. It was not a particularly well-studied period of history and required a great deal of work from the author, who enthusiastically left behind the realism of his masterpiece Madame Bovary for this tale of blood and thunder.

The book, which Flaubert researched painstakingly, is largely an exercise in sensuous and violent exoticism. Following the success of Madame Bovary, it was another best-seller and sealed his reputation. The Carthaginian costumes described in it even left traces on the fashions of the time.

Salammbô (1862) is a historical novel by Gustave Flaubert. It is set in Carthage during the 3rd century BC, immediately before and during the Mercenary Revolt which took place shortly after the First Punic War. Flaubert’s main source was Book I of Polybius‘s Histories. It was not a particularly well-studied period of history and required a great deal of work from the author, who enthusiastically left behind the realism of his masterpiece Madame Bovary for this tale of blood and thunder.

The book, which Flaubert researched painstakingly, is largely an exercise in sensuous and violent exoticism. Following the success of Madame Bovary, it was another best-seller and sealed his reputation. The Carthaginian costumes described in it even left traces on the fashions of the time.

Seta

Seta è un romanzo breve di Alessandro Baricco, pubblicato nel 1996 dalla casa editrice Rizzoli.
Nel 2007 dal romanzo è stato tratto il film drammatico Seta del regista francese François Girard.

Alessandro Baricco (Torino, 25 gennaio 1958) è uno scrittore, saggista, critico musicale, conduttore televisivo, pianista, sceneggiatore e regista italiano, fra i più noti esponenti della narrativa italiana contemporanea.


La historia de Seda empieza con una referencia a Salammbô. Seda es parte novela histórica, pero la mención de la novela de Gustave Flaubert es más bien un contrapunto. Seda es un ejercicio en minimalismo. Dice Baricco en la contraportada que toda historia tiene una música propia y que la música de Seda es una música blanca, que cuando se toca bien es como el silencio. Los diálogos y ambientaciones son minimos, y se presentan en un ritmo de staccato. Más que una historia, Seda es un poema Me hace recordar una entrevista conjunta que les hicieron a Neruda y a García Marquez, donde Neruda decía que le gustaría dar una dimensión épica a sus poemas, y García Marquez que el novelista busca imágenes y ritmo poéticos.

Alessandro Baricco alega que el tema es sobre un sentimiento como el amor, pero para el cual no hay palabra, que solo se puede explicar mediante la historia misma.

El hilo de la historia se hilvana a través de una serie recurrente de viajes a Japón, realizados por el protagonista, Harvé Joncour. Cada viaje pareciera ser una repetición del anterior, pero es imposible bañarse dos veces en el mismo río. Al final, el manco gana y Baldabiou desaparece un día cualquiera para señalar el final de la historia.

Seta è un romanzo breve di Alessandro Baricco, pubblicato nel 1996 dalla casa editrice Rizzoli.
Nel 2007 dal romanzo è stato tratto il film drammatico Seta del regista francese François Girard.

Alessandro Baricco (Torino, 25 gennaio 1958) è uno scrittore, saggista, critico musicale, conduttore televisivo, pianista, sceneggiatore e regista italiano, fra i più noti esponenti della narrativa italiana contemporanea.


La historia de Seda empieza con una referencia a Salammbô. Seda es parte novela histórica, pero la mención de la novela de Gustave Flaubert es más bien un contrapunto. Seda es un ejercicio en minimalismo. Dice Baricco en la contraportada que toda historia tiene una música propia y que la música de Seda es una música blanca, que cuando se toca bien es como el silencio. Los diálogos y ambientaciones son minimos, y se presentan en un ritmo de staccato. Más que una historia, Seda es un poema Me hace recordar una entrevista conjunta que les hicieron a Neruda y a García Marquez, donde Neruda decía que le gustaría dar una dimensión épica a sus poemas, y García Marquez que el novelista busca imágenes y ritmo poéticos.

Alessandro Baricco alega que el tema es sobre un sentimiento como el amor, pero para el cual no hay palabra, que solo se puede explicar mediante la historia misma.

El hilo de la historia se hilvana a través de una serie recurrente de viajes a Japón, realizados por el protagonista, Harvé Joncour. Cada viaje pareciera ser una repetición del anterior, pero es imposible bañarse dos veces en el mismo río. Al final, el manco gana y Baldabiou desaparece un día cualquiera para señalar el final de la historia.

Marie Darrieussecq

Il faut beaucoup aimer les hommes   

Prix Médicis 2013
Prix des prix

Une femme rencontre un homme. Coup de foudre. Il se trouve que l’homme est noir. « C’est quoi, un Noir ? Et d’abord, c’est de quelle couleur ? » La question que pose Jean Genet dans Les Nègres, cette femme va y être confrontée comme par surprise. Et c’est quoi, l’Afrique ? Elle essaie de se renseigner. Elle lit, elle pose des questions. C’est la Solange du précédent roman de Marie Darrieussecq, Clèves, elle a fait du chemin depuis son village natal, dans sa « tribu » à elle, où tout le monde était blanc.
L’homme qu’elle aime est habité par une grande idée : il veut tourner un film…

Novels

Pig Tales. A Novel of Lust and Transformation (1996)

“Difficult to write one’s story when one lives in a pigsty—when one has, in fact, become a sow. Yet such is the narrator’s extraordinary adventure in this terribly sensual fable” (Marie Darrieussecq).
Upon its publication in 1996, Pig Tales, the first of Marie Darrieussecq’s novels, was met with immediate success. As one critic writing for Les Inrockuptibles (4 September 1996) observed, in reading this novel, “One laughs, yet in terror, for the metamorphosis of the narrator-as-pig reveals, in counterpoint, the aimless drifting of a society in which the pig is not always the pork.”
The story of a young woman who is slowly transformed into a sow, the novel bears strains of Kafka yet reveals, finally, an entirely original, subtly penetrating perspective. According to Libération (29 August 1996), “The theme of metamorphosis is not truly new in literature… But on this theme, the author varies with audacity and a certain raw humor, and she cultivates in her fable…a falsely innocent realism.”
In fact, the novel is particularly interested in the question of consciousness; as Darrieussecq explains in an interview with Jean-Marc Terrasse, the story’s narrator “is compelled [as a result of her transformation] to think for the first time…She becomes a person; it is the metamorphosis of a female object into a conscious woman” (http://www.uri.edu/artsci/ml/durand/darrieussecq/fr/terrasse.pdf). In this sense the novel is, according to the author, “The story of liberation through thought” (Terrasse 258).

My Phantom Husband (1998)

“It is, from the beginning, a simple, sad, even banal story. A man disappears. His wife anticipates his return, she does not resign herself to his disappearance, she searches for him” (Marie Darrieussecq).
The second novel by Darrieussecq, My Phantom Husband, evokes and examines the experience of loss and the nature of absence. According to Le Monde (20 February 1998), “With a surprising assurance, a certain clinical imagination, Marie Darrieussecq tells of this inundation through absence, this palpable density of emptiness…Nothing remains in place.”
The inexplicable disappearance of the man and the subsequent anguish of his wife are, finally, mechanisms for a yet deeper investigation; specifically, for a nuanced, penetrating consideration of the diverse sensations and emotions that shape and inform human existence. Thus, within the pages of this novel, the human world “opens out upon its mystery, upon its inconceivable layers, upon its enigmas, the great infinity, the small infinity, the powerfully shifting infinity rocked by expectation” (Le Monde).

Breathing Underwater (UK) / Undercurrents (US) (1999)

“It is the story of the ocean, of the presence of the ocean. One ought to say of its omnipresence, so that all that is not of it appears reduced to a quasi absence: the coast, the beach, the beings who, along its edge, fear it, contemplate to the point of drunkenness or meditate before its spectacle” (Le Monde, 19 March 1999).
In her third novel, Darrieussecq tells the story of a young mother who, with her daughter, flees suddenly and inexplicably to the Basque coast. When the father finally recovers the child, the mother departs, alone, for Australia, in search of a kind of elusive peace (James Estes, Marie Darrieussecq Web Site). As one reviewer noted upon the book’s publication, “The construction, through alternating points of view…imposes a complexity that resembles anguish…From this point, everything becomes possible” (Les Inrockuptibles, 17 March 1999).
Thus, once again, Darrieussecq conjures an ambiguous universe, one that is simultaneously surreal and irrepressibly human. Indeed throughout this novel, there persist the eternal questions of existence, of the textures and rhythms of memory and experience. These questions are, ultimately, captured and rendered vivid through the ocean’s consuming presence: “How does one remember the ocean? How does one distinguish the separation of the ocean’s edge from that of the earth?…The entire maritime landscape becomes this glass that must be broken in order to live” (Les Inrockuptibles).

Précisions sur les vagues [Clarifications on the Waves] (1999)

A kind of brief yet rich meditation on the details of the ocean, this piece searches for the abstract essence of the marine world while manifesting, finally, a distinct sensorial universe:
“Published on the occasion of Breathing Underwater / Undercurrents, this short text is the description of minute marine phenomena, of which one knows not whether they are proven, nor whether they reveal something of the scientific or, rather, of the poetic… Reality develops, swells…to the point of generating rather curious images” (Marie Darrieussecq Web Site).

A Brief Stay With the Living (2001)

“Plunged into four human minds: it is the narrative challenge of Marie Darrieussecq’s new novel” (Les Inrockuptibles, 21 August 2001).
In this work, Darrieussecq creates a complex web of shifting internal monologues, which further illuminate the nature of grief and the dimensions of communication and consciousness. As Isabelle Martin observed in Le Temps (1 September 2001), “Fugue, flight, disappearance, presence-absence, somnambulism, accidents of memory: the novel plays with all these themes in infinite variations.”
The story is, in fact, that of a family devastated by grief. The death of one its members—a young boy of three—has left at the family’s emotional center “a pit, a hollow, an absence, an emptiness around which everything, in the same cruel movement, is disassembled then remade, but badly” (Marie Darrieussecq Web Site). Darrieussecq, by evoking the individualized yet overlapping emotions of each family member, reveals both the implications of loss and the painful, variegated textures of emotional experience. The novel therefore offers a nuanced, abstract consideration of conscious existence, and the reader ultimately finds himself “in the interior of heads, of consciences, of spirits” (Le Monde, 31 August 2001).

Le Bébé [The Baby] (2002)

Published concurrently with the birth of her son, 2002’s Le Bébé offers a much more intimate setting than much of Darrieussecq’s previous work.
Marie has even hinted that this is the most autobiographical of her books; however, this cannot be confirmed as neither the mother nor the baby is given a name in the novel. Written in part to address the lack of babies as subjects in literature, this novel is very much focused on reality and the study of maternal life, and it is designed to make us ask ourselves questions typically ignored in popular writing. What are we to make of the discourse surrounding infants? What is motherhood? Why do women give birth instead of men? Are we assigned to our biological body?
As always, Marie Darrieussecq seeks another language opposed to the usual clichés, and no language is more codified by clichés than motherhood. More specifically, Darrieussecq questions the conflict (inherited from Simone de Beauvoir) between motherhood and the freedom to be an intellectual.

White (2003)

Aptly named, Marie Darrieusecq’s seventh novel, White (2003), tells the story of Edmée and Peter, two engineers who find themselves on an isolated European base in the South Pole. Both have demons in their past from which they are running, and both seem to find solace in the barren landscape which lies secluded from the rest of the world. Over the course of their six month stay, Edmée and Peter grow more and more close, clinging to each other as a way to escape the harsh emptiness of their frigid world, both in the past and in the physical present.
Though drawn to the idea of nothingness, the characters must be careful not to join the community of ghosts haunting the nearly inhospitable landscape. In an artistic and precise execution, White comes across as “…a sort of poem—soft and funny, mathematical and fantastical—in which perceptions of the world—material, mathematical, as well as sentimental—are put into words, impressions, visions and equations.” (Nathalie Crom, La Croix, 4 September 2003).
Both subtle and emotional, the story serves as a reminder that “everything is white, but between that white, lays the essential” (Pascal Gavilet, La Tribune de Genève, August 25, 2003)

Le Pays [The Country] (2005)

Having explored the intricate realm of motherhood with 2002’s Le Bébé, here Darrieussecq invites the reader to join her in what is arguably a world of equal creation: the world of writing. Combining motherhood with authorship, Le Pays asks us not only what happens when one gives birth to human life or literary life, but approaches the two as concurrent and ultimately very similar forces.
Marie Rivière, the main character, is both an author and a mother like Darrieussecq herself. Married and with one two-year-old child, Marie decides to leave the city of Paris in pursuit of her own roots. She returns home to find the remains of her family: an artistic mother, somewhat famous; her defeated father, who now lives in a trailer; and the memories surrounding her dead brother. In the country, where a slower way of life proves to be a great contrast to the bustle of Paris, Marie finds herself submerged in a sensory revisit to her own history whilst contemplating the future.
Very self-aware, Le Pays exposes the creative process of existing and of bringing something else into existence, whether biologically or textually (P.O.L.).

Zoo (2006)

Like Marie Darrieussecq’s other works, Zoo is one of humor, suspense, and a sense of the fantastic. Written over the last 20 years, this is a collection of fifteen short stories, each of which can truly function independently without coming across as a mere unfinished fragment of a novel. In these stories one can find recurring themes of science, dreams, and animals, as well as some amazing human beings (Literary Fiction).
The 2006 release of Zoo puts it exactly ten years after the 1996 release of Darrieussecq’s first novel, Pig Tales. Since then, she has enjoyed much success, and Zoo was considered one of the year’s most eagerly awaited pieces of French literature (Literary Fiction).

Tom est mort [Tom is Dead] (2007)

Again tackling one of the most horrifying aspects of human existence, Marie Darrieussecq urges her readers to appreciate the complete pain of loss in her 2007 novel Tom est mort.
Ten years after the death of her son, the main character suffers still. Without knowing at first exactly how Tom died, we follow the story of the aftermath as one woman struggles with grief and possibly insanity in the wake of her child’s death. Darrieussecq has a point: astute readers will note that dead children have haunted Darrieussecq’s books since the beginning, and Tom est mort is no exception.
Whether through personal experience or sheer creativity, Darrieussecq puts the reader in the position of an emotionally destroyed mother, is a powerful move as we are forced to consider the silence that “descends in [the mother’s] veins and paralyzed the muscles of [her] cheeks” (P.O.L.).

Il faut beaucoup aimer les hommes   

Prix Médicis 2013
Prix des prix

Une femme rencontre un homme. Coup de foudre. Il se trouve que l’homme est noir. « C’est quoi, un Noir ? Et d’abord, c’est de quelle couleur ? » La question que pose Jean Genet dans Les Nègres, cette femme va y être confrontée comme par surprise. Et c’est quoi, l’Afrique ? Elle essaie de se renseigner. Elle lit, elle pose des questions. C’est la Solange du précédent roman de Marie Darrieussecq, Clèves, elle a fait du chemin depuis son village natal, dans sa « tribu » à elle, où tout le monde était blanc.
L’homme qu’elle aime est habité par une grande idée : il veut tourner un film…

Novels

Pig Tales. A Novel of Lust and Transformation (1996)

“Difficult to write one’s story when one lives in a pigsty—when one has, in fact, become a sow. Yet such is the narrator’s extraordinary adventure in this terribly sensual fable” (Marie Darrieussecq).
Upon its publication in 1996, Pig Tales, the first of Marie Darrieussecq’s novels, was met with immediate success. As one critic writing for Les Inrockuptibles (4 September 1996) observed, in reading this novel, “One laughs, yet in terror, for the metamorphosis of the narrator-as-pig reveals, in counterpoint, the aimless drifting of a society in which the pig is not always the pork.”
The story of a young woman who is slowly transformed into a sow, the novel bears strains of Kafka yet reveals, finally, an entirely original, subtly penetrating perspective. According to Libération (29 August 1996), “The theme of metamorphosis is not truly new in literature… But on this theme, the author varies with audacity and a certain raw humor, and she cultivates in her fable…a falsely innocent realism.”
In fact, the novel is particularly interested in the question of consciousness; as Darrieussecq explains in an interview with Jean-Marc Terrasse, the story’s narrator “is compelled [as a result of her transformation] to think for the first time…She becomes a person; it is the metamorphosis of a female object into a conscious woman” (http://www.uri.edu/artsci/ml/durand/darrieussecq/fr/terrasse.pdf). In this sense the novel is, according to the author, “The story of liberation through thought” (Terrasse 258).

My Phantom Husband (1998)

“It is, from the beginning, a simple, sad, even banal story. A man disappears. His wife anticipates his return, she does not resign herself to his disappearance, she searches for him” (Marie Darrieussecq).
The second novel by Darrieussecq, My Phantom Husband, evokes and examines the experience of loss and the nature of absence. According to Le Monde (20 February 1998), “With a surprising assurance, a certain clinical imagination, Marie Darrieussecq tells of this inundation through absence, this palpable density of emptiness…Nothing remains in place.”
The inexplicable disappearance of the man and the subsequent anguish of his wife are, finally, mechanisms for a yet deeper investigation; specifically, for a nuanced, penetrating consideration of the diverse sensations and emotions that shape and inform human existence. Thus, within the pages of this novel, the human world “opens out upon its mystery, upon its inconceivable layers, upon its enigmas, the great infinity, the small infinity, the powerfully shifting infinity rocked by expectation” (Le Monde).

Breathing Underwater (UK) / Undercurrents (US) (1999)

“It is the story of the ocean, of the presence of the ocean. One ought to say of its omnipresence, so that all that is not of it appears reduced to a quasi absence: the coast, the beach, the beings who, along its edge, fear it, contemplate to the point of drunkenness or meditate before its spectacle” (Le Monde, 19 March 1999).
In her third novel, Darrieussecq tells the story of a young mother who, with her daughter, flees suddenly and inexplicably to the Basque coast. When the father finally recovers the child, the mother departs, alone, for Australia, in search of a kind of elusive peace (James Estes, Marie Darrieussecq Web Site). As one reviewer noted upon the book’s publication, “The construction, through alternating points of view…imposes a complexity that resembles anguish…From this point, everything becomes possible” (Les Inrockuptibles, 17 March 1999).
Thus, once again, Darrieussecq conjures an ambiguous universe, one that is simultaneously surreal and irrepressibly human. Indeed throughout this novel, there persist the eternal questions of existence, of the textures and rhythms of memory and experience. These questions are, ultimately, captured and rendered vivid through the ocean’s consuming presence: “How does one remember the ocean? How does one distinguish the separation of the ocean’s edge from that of the earth?…The entire maritime landscape becomes this glass that must be broken in order to live” (Les Inrockuptibles).

Précisions sur les vagues [Clarifications on the Waves] (1999)

A kind of brief yet rich meditation on the details of the ocean, this piece searches for the abstract essence of the marine world while manifesting, finally, a distinct sensorial universe:
“Published on the occasion of Breathing Underwater / Undercurrents, this short text is the description of minute marine phenomena, of which one knows not whether they are proven, nor whether they reveal something of the scientific or, rather, of the poetic… Reality develops, swells…to the point of generating rather curious images” (Marie Darrieussecq Web Site).

A Brief Stay With the Living (2001)

“Plunged into four human minds: it is the narrative challenge of Marie Darrieussecq’s new novel” (Les Inrockuptibles, 21 August 2001).
In this work, Darrieussecq creates a complex web of shifting internal monologues, which further illuminate the nature of grief and the dimensions of communication and consciousness. As Isabelle Martin observed in Le Temps (1 September 2001), “Fugue, flight, disappearance, presence-absence, somnambulism, accidents of memory: the novel plays with all these themes in infinite variations.”
The story is, in fact, that of a family devastated by grief. The death of one its members—a young boy of three—has left at the family’s emotional center “a pit, a hollow, an absence, an emptiness around which everything, in the same cruel movement, is disassembled then remade, but badly” (Marie Darrieussecq Web Site). Darrieussecq, by evoking the individualized yet overlapping emotions of each family member, reveals both the implications of loss and the painful, variegated textures of emotional experience. The novel therefore offers a nuanced, abstract consideration of conscious existence, and the reader ultimately finds himself “in the interior of heads, of consciences, of spirits” (Le Monde, 31 August 2001).

Le Bébé [The Baby] (2002)

Published concurrently with the birth of her son, 2002’s Le Bébé offers a much more intimate setting than much of Darrieussecq’s previous work.
Marie has even hinted that this is the most autobiographical of her books; however, this cannot be confirmed as neither the mother nor the baby is given a name in the novel. Written in part to address the lack of babies as subjects in literature, this novel is very much focused on reality and the study of maternal life, and it is designed to make us ask ourselves questions typically ignored in popular writing. What are we to make of the discourse surrounding infants? What is motherhood? Why do women give birth instead of men? Are we assigned to our biological body?
As always, Marie Darrieussecq seeks another language opposed to the usual clichés, and no language is more codified by clichés than motherhood. More specifically, Darrieussecq questions the conflict (inherited from Simone de Beauvoir) between motherhood and the freedom to be an intellectual.

White (2003)

Aptly named, Marie Darrieusecq’s seventh novel, White (2003), tells the story of Edmée and Peter, two engineers who find themselves on an isolated European base in the South Pole. Both have demons in their past from which they are running, and both seem to find solace in the barren landscape which lies secluded from the rest of the world. Over the course of their six month stay, Edmée and Peter grow more and more close, clinging to each other as a way to escape the harsh emptiness of their frigid world, both in the past and in the physical present.
Though drawn to the idea of nothingness, the characters must be careful not to join the community of ghosts haunting the nearly inhospitable landscape. In an artistic and precise execution, White comes across as “…a sort of poem—soft and funny, mathematical and fantastical—in which perceptions of the world—material, mathematical, as well as sentimental—are put into words, impressions, visions and equations.” (Nathalie Crom, La Croix, 4 September 2003).
Both subtle and emotional, the story serves as a reminder that “everything is white, but between that white, lays the essential” (Pascal Gavilet, La Tribune de Genève, August 25, 2003)

Le Pays [The Country] (2005)

Having explored the intricate realm of motherhood with 2002’s Le Bébé, here Darrieussecq invites the reader to join her in what is arguably a world of equal creation: the world of writing. Combining motherhood with authorship, Le Pays asks us not only what happens when one gives birth to human life or literary life, but approaches the two as concurrent and ultimately very similar forces.
Marie Rivière, the main character, is both an author and a mother like Darrieussecq herself. Married and with one two-year-old child, Marie decides to leave the city of Paris in pursuit of her own roots. She returns home to find the remains of her family: an artistic mother, somewhat famous; her defeated father, who now lives in a trailer; and the memories surrounding her dead brother. In the country, where a slower way of life proves to be a great contrast to the bustle of Paris, Marie finds herself submerged in a sensory revisit to her own history whilst contemplating the future.
Very self-aware, Le Pays exposes the creative process of existing and of bringing something else into existence, whether biologically or textually (P.O.L.).

Zoo (2006)

Like Marie Darrieussecq’s other works, Zoo is one of humor, suspense, and a sense of the fantastic. Written over the last 20 years, this is a collection of fifteen short stories, each of which can truly function independently without coming across as a mere unfinished fragment of a novel. In these stories one can find recurring themes of science, dreams, and animals, as well as some amazing human beings (Literary Fiction).
The 2006 release of Zoo puts it exactly ten years after the 1996 release of Darrieussecq’s first novel, Pig Tales. Since then, she has enjoyed much success, and Zoo was considered one of the year’s most eagerly awaited pieces of French literature (Literary Fiction).

Tom est mort [Tom is Dead] (2007)

Again tackling one of the most horrifying aspects of human existence, Marie Darrieussecq urges her readers to appreciate the complete pain of loss in her 2007 novel Tom est mort.
Ten years after the death of her son, the main character suffers still. Without knowing at first exactly how Tom died, we follow the story of the aftermath as one woman struggles with grief and possibly insanity in the wake of her child’s death. Darrieussecq has a point: astute readers will note that dead children have haunted Darrieussecq’s books since the beginning, and Tom est mort is no exception.
Whether through personal experience or sheer creativity, Darrieussecq puts the reader in the position of an emotionally destroyed mother, is a powerful move as we are forced to consider the silence that “descends in [the mother’s] veins and paralyzed the muscles of [her] cheeks” (P.O.L.).

Internet History Sourcebooks Project

Internet History Sourcebooks Project Paul Halsall, Editor Last Modified: Nov 6 2014 | linked pages may have been updated more recently The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and co…

Paul Halsall, Editor
Last Modified: Nov 6 2014 | linked pages may have been updated more recently

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.

???? ??? ??????

The Works and Days (Ancient Greek: Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι, Erga kai Hēmerai)[a] is a didactic poem of some 800 lines written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod around 700 BCE. At its center, the Works and Days is a farmer’s almanac in which Hesiod instructs his brother Perses in the agricultural arts. Scholars have seen this work against a background of agrarian crisis in mainland Greece, which inspired a wave of colonial expeditions in search of new land. In the poem Hesiod also offers his brother extensive moralizing advice on how he should live his life. The Works and Days is perhaps best known for its two mythological aetiologies for the toil and pain that define the human condition: the story of Prometheus and Pandora, and the so-called Myth of Five Ages.
The Works and Days (Ancient Greek: ???? ??? ??????, Erga kai H?merai)[a] is a didactic poem of some 800 lines written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod around 700 BCE. At its center, the Works and Days is a farmer’s almanac in which Hesiod instructs his brother Perses in the agricultural arts. Scholars have seen this work against a background of agrarian crisis in mainland Greece, which inspired a wave of colonial expeditions in search of new land. In the poem Hesiod also offers his brother extensive moralizing advice on how he should live his life. The Works and Days is perhaps best known for its two mythological aetiologies for the toil and pain that define the human condition: the story of Prometheus and Pandora, and the so-called Myth of Five Ages.