Translated by John Taylor
5 x 8.5 inches, 200pp. March 2015
ISBN : 9780857422293
Rs 595.00 (HB)
Should you find yourself strolling along the coastal heights of Douarnenez, a Brittany town near the westernmost point of continental France, you would do well to look out for a signpost marked, “Georges Perros (1923–1978) ‘Dazzled by the sea.’” Perros, who famously made that remark and settled there in 1959, was initially an actor but is now best known for his literary output, which was marked by stylistic freshness and frank criticism. Perros lived anonymously in the fishing port of Douarnenez, scraping by as a freelance author and manuscript reader who taught and published a few books, but mostly corresponded with fellow writers or rode his motorcycle along the country roads. Indeed, Perros is known for his fame-shunning habits and for choosing to take up residence far from the sophistication of the capital city.
But behind the folksy, sometimes sighing, sometimes bitter, sometimes sardonic, sometimes even resigned voice lurks an intensely sensitive, highly cultivated ruminator on the human condition. He is best remembered for the autobiographical poems collected in Blue Poems and An Ordinary Life, as well as for Paper Collage, his compendium of maxims, vignettes, short prose narratives, occasional diary-like notations, critical remarks, and personal essays. Making this essential work available for the first time in English, this book presents a selection of these touching and thought-provoking short texts alongside numerous maxims, a genre in which Perros excelled. With typical modesty, the author called himself a journalier des pensées, a day labourer who tills thoughts. As readers, we can do no better than to read the tilled thoughts of Georges Perros.
Initially an actor, Georges Perros began his literary career by writing poems, reviews and mini-essays in the Nouvelle Revue FranÃ§aise and other magazines. His stylistic freshness and frank critical judgements were imme- diately spotted and encouraged by Jean Paulhan, a key Gallimard editor and luminary. Among his best-known works are PoÃ¨mes bleus (Blue Poems, 1962) and Une vie ordinaire (An Ordinary Life, 1967).
John Taylor has translated major selections of the poetry and poetic prose of Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Philippe Jaccottet, JosÃ©-Flore Tappy, Jacques Dupin and Louis Calaferte. As a critic, he is the author of Into the Heart of European Poetry (2008), A Little Tour through European Poetry (2014) and the three- volume Paths to Contemporary French Literature (2003–11). He has also writ- ten seven books of stories, short prose and poetry, the latest of which is If Night is Falling (2012).