Friday, October 31, 2014

Conceptual Memoir -- is this a thing? In France, apparently

Recently ventured back into literary criticism a bit for the Two Lines blog.

Since my dissertation discussed constraint in poetry, and that meant lots of reading in the conceptual poetry arena, I was pretty familiar with the approaches and goals of Georges Perec and Édouard Levé as conceptual writers. I'm very intrigued by the question of how one disrupts expectations of litrary grandeur and meaning, and uses ordinary things instead to create art, playing with audience expectations of entertainment or enlightenment (blame Beckett and Joyce for dragging me down this road). Perec's I Remember came out this year from the beloved small press David R Godine, and Levé clearly saw himself in a line of descent from Perec's experiments with narrative forms in prose. So I proposed writing a blog post on both in anticipation of our November event as a way of contextualizing Levé's work and responding to a book newly available to American readers.

Also, I'm SO excited that the Center for the Art of Translation's Two Voices events program is hosting Lorin Stein of The Paris Review in conversation with our marketing/online editor Scott Esposito (also an editor and critic in his own right) and the talented translator Jan Steyn on Wednesday 10/5. Both Steyn and Stein translated Levé for the Dalkey Archive, and Scott's written a ton about Oulipo's influence on literature. I'm just squealing in girlish nerd joy (on the inside) that I get to meet the editor of one of the foremost, most canonical literary journals in print.

So, here's the link to my brief essay (about 1200 words) about the connections and differences between the two authors: "Connecting the Dots"

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I also conducted an interview with Margaret Jull Costa this summer that was posted on the Two Lines blog -- she's quite the force (translated any and every important Portuguese or Brazilian author you've heard of [Saramago ahem ahem]) -- and has been given an OBE for her service to English literature!

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