Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning

  One hundred and twenty years ago, in December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus was found guilty of selling French military secrets to the Germans. He was sentenced to life in exile on Devil’s Island, off the coast of French Guiana. Politicians and journalists used the fact that Dreyfus was a Jew to whip up a massive […]

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In May 1895, at the height of his literary career, the Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was arrested and charged with ‘acts of gross indecency with other male persons’. Convicted at the Old Bailey, he became a bankrupt outcast overnight, and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labor. Before he was released […]

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  Where is home? Is it the place you come from, or a refuge that you run to? Is it a real place or an imaginary construct founded on wishful thinking, or both? In Home, Toni Morrison explores these questions through the experiences of two young people who grow up in rural Georgia after the […]

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As the European Powers commemorate the Armistice that ended World War One, little attention is paid to those who spoke out against the carnage when it was going on. Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy focuses on the poet and British army officer Siegfried Sassoon, who made a public declaration against the war in July 1917. Sassoon, […]

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Categories: Catherine Vigier, ZiR | 1 Comment

  On November 1, 1954, the All Saints’ Day bombings marked the beginning of the Algerian war of Independence. Assia Djebar was an Algerian student in France who followed the call for a strike launched by the Union of Algerian students, the UGEMA, in 1956. She was barred from pursuing her studies in France and […]

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Have you ever wanted to go down a mine shaft? Like miners do, on an open lift? Plunging a mile down into the bowels of the earth? With highly combustible methane gas and its deadly chemical cousin carbon monoxide a threat at every instant? Me neither. But when I picked up Martin Cruz Smith’s novel […]

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James Salter’s novel All That Is was a national bestseller in the US last year. A translation is now on the bestseller list in France. I was drawn to it by the taut, tense opening lines describing the experience of Americans in the Pacific during World War Two: All night in darkness the water sped […]

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I was very happy that Patrick Modiano won the Nobel Prize for literature. Modiano’s novels were among the first I read when I came to France seventeen years ago, and for a long time they were the only books I read in French. I remember going into a second-hand bookshop near the Censier metro station […]

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is currently remaking Poldark, an immensely successful television drama first broadcast in 1975-77. The drama is based on a series of novels by Winston Graham. The video version of Poldark has outsold every other costume drama except the 1995 version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The new series will be screened by […]

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I approached Rachel Cusk’s Aftermath (2012) like someone visiting a fortune-teller at a fairground. In the book, she was to describe the break-up of her ten-year marriage and her struggle to restart life after the divorce. I wondered if I would see my own future written in her story. Cusk’s husband was the kind who’d […]

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One of the things I enjoy about Thomas Pynchon is the space he gives to cartoons and comic strips in his books. His last novel, Bleeding Edge, (2013) is a zany celebration of television culture – sit-coms, made-for-tv-movies and series, cartoons, the lot. For those of us who grew up in the 70s, one of […]

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Recent Comments

One of the things I enjoy about Thomas Pynchon is the space he gives to cartoons and comic strips in his books. His last novel, Bleeding Edge, (2013) is a zany celebration of television culture – sit-coms, made-for-tv-movies and series, cartoons, the lot. For those of us who grew up in the 70s, one of […]

ZiR

July 26, 2018

A point of information... This book was translated as "A Fortnight in the Wilderness" and included as Appendix 2 in "Democracy In America: Historical-Critical Edition", edited by Eduardo Nolla. There this amazing text can be read in full. It is worth comparing the translation by James Schleifer to your own. In particular, the rendering of "désert" to "wilderness" is most intriguing.

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One of the things I enjoy about Thomas Pynchon is the space he gives to cartoons and comic strips in his books. His last novel, Bleeding Edge, (2013) is a zany celebration of television culture – sit-coms, made-for-tv-movies and series, cartoons, the lot. For those of us who grew up in the 70s, one of […]

ZiR

July 26, 2018

Thanks so much for this translation and excellent analysis.

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One of the things I enjoy about Thomas Pynchon is the space he gives to cartoons and comic strips in his books. His last novel, Bleeding Edge, (2013) is a zany celebration of television culture – sit-coms, made-for-tv-movies and series, cartoons, the lot. For those of us who grew up in the 70s, one of […]

ZiR

July 16, 2018

Thanks a lot, Steve. And, continuing the segue-ing, here's an old (and traditional) Gary Snyder poem I just came across yesterday: Seaman’s Ditty I’m wondering where you are now Married, or mad, or free: Wherever you are you’re likely glad, But memory troubles me. We could’ve had us children, We could’ve had a home— But you thought not, and I thought not, And these nine years we roam. Today I worked in the deep dark tanks, And climbed out to watch the sea: Gulls and salty waves pass by, And mountains of Araby. I’ve travelled the lonely oceans And wandered the...

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