Translated by Mark Hutchinson
5 x 8.5 inches, 72pp. September 2014
ISBN : 9780857422170
Rs 495.00 (HB)
Hailed by the poet Paul Eluard as an "absolute masterpiece" upon its first appearance in 1946, René Char’s Hypnos is both a remarkable work of literature and a document of unique significance in the history of the French Resistance. Based on a journal Char kept during his time in the Maquis, it ranges in style from abrupt and sometimes enigmatic reflections, in which the poet seeks to establish compass bearings in the darkness of Occupied France, to narrative descriptions that throw into vivid relief the dramatic and often tragic nature of the issues he had to confront as the head of his Resistance network. A tribute to the individual men and women who fought at his side, this volume is also a meditation on the white magic of poetry and a celebration of the power of beauty to combat terror and transform our lives.
Translated into German by Paul Celan and into Italian by Vittorio Sereni, the book has never been carried over into English with the attention to style and detail that it deserves. Published in full here for the first time, this long-awaited new translation does justice at last to the incandescence and pathos of the original French.
René Char was born in L'Isle-sur-Sorgue in the south of France in 1907 and died in Paris in 1988. A major influence on the generation of French poets who came of age after the Second World War, he was a close friend and associate of Albert Camus. He is widely considered the foremost French poet of his generation.
Mark Hutchinson was born in London and lives in Paris. Among his many translations from the French are several books by the poet Emmanuel Hocquard and a collection of essays by the sculptor Raymond Mason.