For any of you lucky enough to be in Paris in June this year take a visit to Shakespeare and Company
Shakespeare and Company Newsletter June 2012
SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY
EVENTS AT A GLANCE
Wednesday 6 June 7pm
Nick Flynn, Ben Marcus, Robert Coover (fiction,& Now) Thursday 7 June 7pm
Jennifer Egan (fiction)
Wednesday 13 June 5pm
Debra Spark (lecture on writing in the library) Thursday 14 June 7pm
Erotiques by EE Cummings (bilingual readings outside)
Friday 15 June 6pm
Daniel Leven Becker on Oulipo (Philosophers in the Library) Saturday 16 June 3pm
Readings of Ulysses for Bloomsday by Jacques Lecoq actors (outside)
Monday 18 June 7pm
Adam Thirlwell Kaboom! (fiction) followed by Whim ‘n Rhythm (acapella) Monday 25 June 7.30pm
Lydia Davis (fiction, NYU series)
Wednesday 27 June 7.30pm
Dinaw Mengestu, Darin Strauss, Chris Adrian and Colson Whitehead (Granta panel chaired by John Freeman, NYU series)
June brings many wonderful warm, long days in Paris and an incredible selection of events at Shakespeare and Company. There will be a talk on the Oulipo as part of our Philosophers in the Library series and we’ll start our summer collaboration with New York University with some of America’s most interesting writers – and of course it’s Bloomsday! Come and celebrate James Joyce and one of the most important books ever published with readings outside under our tree. And in honour of our beat heritage and the release of the recent film On the Road, come and get your new or rare copy of Kerouac’s classic. Outside of the bookshop go and see Le Marché de la Poésie from June 14-17 at Place Saint Sulpice.
Colette Pillion (If you do not see the image, click here to view it)
Researching the Shakespeare and Company archives for the history book we are working on, we discovered the beautiful Colette Pillon, who in 1963 – when she was only 18 – founded the business Mademoiselle de Paris out of the bookshop. She provided tourists with personal guides to Paris. Guides were required to be students from good families, pretty, age 20 to 25, familiar with Paris, and fluent in multiple languages. When asked by a journalist whether any of the tours had ended in romance, she answered with a surprised look, ‘Mais pour un etranger, une jeune fille française, une Parisienne, est intouchable.’
In other news, the deadline for The Paris Literary Prize for a novella has just been announced – 1 September 2012. It’s open to unpublished writers from all around the world. The winner will receive €10,000 and the two runners-up will receive€2,000. All winners will be invited to Paris to attend the prize ceremony and read at Shakespeare and Company.
This month events are scheduled at various times and please note there will be limited seats for NYU events as students will have priority for those particular events. The sound from the reading and discussions are projected around the entire bookshop during the events. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try to get a seat as there is limited space. Sauf mention contraire, les lectures se déroulent en langue anglaise. Elles ont lieu lelundi à 19 heures dans la bibliothèque (library – 40 places assises) ou au rez-de-chaussée (50 places assises). Les lectures et débats sont également diffusés en direct à l’aide de hauts-parleurs dans l’ensemble de la librairie. Nous vous suggérons d’arriver 15 à 30 minutes à l’avance afin de vous garantir une place assise.
SATURDAY 2 JUNE 5PM
New Orleans-based ‘The Collective’ is visiting Paris with their show UnRoute at the Pavé d’Orsay at 8pm on Friday 1st June, and will also be performing outside Shakespeare & Company on Saturday 2nd June at 5pm. UnRoute is a contemporary cabaret of theatrical vignettes presented from multiple viewpoints both in and out of our minds. A sprawling interdisciplinary experience of physical theater, dance, story-telling and live music, UnRoute encourages audiences as well as artists to follow different routes, and uproots them from the mundane to a world where anything is possible.
WEDNESDAY 6 JUNE 7PM
Tonight in collaboration with Paris’s& Now Festival of New Writing (6-10 June at Université de la Sorbonne) we welcome three of America’s most innovative writers, Robert Coover, Ben Marcus and Nick Flynn. They will be presented by Davis Shneiderman, co-founder of &Now and a writer and Professor at Lake Forest College.
Robert Coover is one of America’s pioneering postmodernists ‘one of the most original and exciting writers around. Every new book from him is great news.’ – McSweeney’s
Ben Marcus is the author of four books of fiction, the most recent The Flame Alphabet. ‘Ben Marcus is the rarest kind of writer: a necessary one. It’s become impossible to imagine the literary world -the world itself- without his daring, mind-bending and heartbreaking writing.’ - Jonathan Safran Foer
Nick Flynn is the author of three collections of poetry and two memoirs. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (Being Flynn) is a ‘stunningly beautiful memoir’ (San Francisco Chronicle) which was recently made into a film with starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano.
THURSDAY 7 JUNE 7PM
In collaboration with Editions Stock, we’re thrilled to welcome Jennifer Egan to present her brilliant novel, and one of the most talked-about books in recent times, A Visit From The Goon Squad. It was both the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a National Book Critics Circle Award Winner and a PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist. There will also be a short reading from the recently published French edition Qu’avons-nous fait de nos rêves ? ‘A spiky, shape-shifting new book … A display of Egan’s extreme virtuosity.’ - The New York Times
Jennifer Egan is the author of The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine.
WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE 5-6PM
A lecture on writing in the library by author Debra Spark on ‘The Trigger: Where Do Stories Come From?’ Where do writers get their ideas? Overheard conversations, personal history, dreams, stray remarks. This one-hour lecture talks about inspiration by referencing writers as various as Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Ivan Turgenev, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joan Didion, and John Irving. For writers at any level -true beginners; those who want to get jumpstarted on a new project; those who may be stuck in their own work; or those who would just like to have a conversation about the imagination.
THURSDAY 14 JUNE 7PM
In celebration of Paris’s Marché de la Poésie join us for an evening of bilingual readings of Erotiques by one of our favourite American poets E.E.Cummings. There will be readings from Lola Peploe, Laura Piani and the book’s translator Jacques Demarcq. Published by Editions Seghers, this new bilingual French and English book is a collection of Cumming’s most beautiful poems and erotic drawings.
A l’occasion de l’ouverture du Marché de la poésie, nous vous convions le 14 juin 2012 à une lecture des poèmes du virtuose E. E. Cummings dont les Editions Seghers publient une anthologie bilingue de textes et dessins érotiques. Cette anthologie couvre quarante ans de la vie de Cummings, des années 1920 aux années 1960, reflétant les expériences du poète qui sera marié à Elaine, puis Anne et enfin Marion. Dans son oeuvre, l’érotisme apparaît comme une esthétique du partage, une communion avec la nature et ses cycles, une fenêtre ouverte sur le mystère de la vie. Depuis plus de trente ans, le poète Jacques Demarcq traduit Cummings avec la même passion du rire et du rythme.
FRIDAY 15 JUNE 6PM
As part of our Philosophers in the Library series come and hear Daniel Levin Becker, author of Many Subtle Channels, discussing the intriguing Parisian collective the Oulipo. Here’s an excerpt from his book published in The Believer to whet your appetite. Please note, his event in the Library has limited space, first in first seated.
The Oulipo is a collective of writers and scientists founded in 1960 to explore the possibilities of using mathematical and linguistic structures to generate literature. Since its inception, the Oulipo has yielded such curious experiments as the first choose-your-own-adventure fiction in history; a mystery novel written without the letter E; a romance novel in which the respective genders of the lovers are never specified; a children’s story featuring a code that took readers over twenty-five years to decipher; a book of poems made from anagrams of the names of Parisian métro stations; and a set of ten identically rhymed sonnets printed on flaps that can be combinatorially manipulated by the enterprising reader to create, at least in theory, one hundred trillion distinct poems. Many Subtle Channels is a book about the Oulipo from the perspective of a young American who went to Paris to learn whether these people were, you know, serious about all this, and returned a full-fledged Oulipian. He will be on hand to read from his book, discuss the guises of ‘potential literature’ in the real world, and gingerly entertain your most incredulous questions.
MONDAY 18 JUNE 7PM
Tonight British writer Adam Thirlwell will discuss his new book Kapow! Exploding with unfolding pages and multiple directions, Kaboom! is set in the thick of the Arab Spring, guided by the high-speed monologue of an unnamed narrator -over-doped, over-caffeinated, overweight- trying to make sense of this history in real time. Afterwards there will be acapella with Whim ‘n Rhythm, Yale’s all-senior, all-female acappella group.
Adam Thirlwell is the author of two novels,Politics and The Escape, and a book on the international art of the novel. He is the guest editor of an issue ofMcSweeney’s magazine, to come out in Winter 2012.
MONDAY 25 JUNE 7.30PM
In collaboration with New York University’s summer writing programme we present one of America’s most original and influential writers and translatorsLydia Davis. ‘Sharp, deft, ironic, understated, and consistently surprising.’ -Joyce Carol Oates ‘Davis is a magician of self- consciousness. Few writers now working make the words on the page matter more.’ – Jonathan Franzen
Lydia Davis’s books include a novel, The End of the Story, four full-length story collections -Varieties of Disturbance, Samuel Johnson Is Indignant, Almost No Memory, and Break It Down- and several small-press and limited-edition volumes. Davis works as a translator of French literature and philosophy, and is well known for her translation of Proust’s Du côté de chez Swann, which earned her wide critical acclaim. Her other translations include books by Gustav Flaubert, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, and Michel Leiris. She has won many of the major American writing awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship for fiction, and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. She was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. See a great interviewwith her in The Believer.
WEDNESDAY 27 JUNE 7.30PM
In collaboration with NYU’s summer writing programme we present some of American’s most exciting writers, Dinaw Mengestu, Darin Strauss, Chris Adrian and Colson Whitehead, in a panel chaired by Granta’s John Freeman on The Worst, Terrible Thing. The writers will discuss how each of them has written into the heart of a horror (of some sort) and emerged with a story.
ALSO IN PARIS
Tuesday 19 June at 6.30pm: As part of the Australian Embassy’s NAIDOC celebrations, Australian historian Bill Gammage will present his acclaimed work The Biggest Estate on Earth – How Aborigines made Australia. For more information please contact Michele DuMont.
Friday 22 June at 12.30pm at the Australian Embassy Food historian Barbara Santich, will present ‘Bold Palates – Australia’s Gastronomic Heritage’ For more information please contact Michele DuMont
RECOMMENDED READS FROM SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY
THE ART OF FIELDING BY CHAD HARBACH
There was a young writer named Chad
Who gave writing all that he had
His characters played ball,
They would rise, they would fall,
‘n’ once they were done, I was sad.
I’m also half way through a fascinating novel called With the Animals by Noëlle Revaz which I will write about next month once I have finished it, and while I have not yet started the much-hyped Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava, its high impact swirly jacket keeps catching my eye every time I pass our fiction table (on average 57 times a day), so I reckon I might start it any day now … –Linda
ANOTHER VENTRILOQUISTBY ADAM GILDERS
Published by J&L Books this is a selection of refreshingly odd, absurdist short stories / vignettes / aphorisms. They’re sort of parables about the inanity of our days –funny, weird and somehow honest. The narration has this particularly deadpan tone underlying all the stories that I loved. It reminded me of how fiction can be a flexible playful thing and anything is possible. With chapter titles so good you don’t know which one to choose first: Strong Male Presence, Police, Physically, Foreign Painter, One Theory About My Marriage’. The story ‘Edgar’ starts: That was already more than Edgar was prepared for. The young lady sat on his knees. Edgar had enough trouble keeping his balance to begin with. Slowly the young woman was trying to break down Ed’s confidence. ‘You will never be a writer of pornography, Edgar, you just don’t have what it takes.’
Another J&L title in our antiquarian is one of the rare remaining copies of photographic book,Dancing Pictures which I also love for its quirk.– Jemma
SAVAGE CONTINENT: EUROPE IN THE AFTERMATH OF WORLD WAR II BY KEITH LOWE
This fascinating account of the historical no-man’s land between the end of the war and the economic boom of the 1950s presents Europe as a hellish disaster zone. 1946 saw the ravaged European landscape swarming with gangs of orphaned children, traumatised refugees, brutalised soldiers, former slaves, and holocaust survivors. All these millions of people were looking to return home, to places which had been obliterated, often in turn, by the Nazis, by allied bombing and by the Red Army.
Modern Europe was built over these traumas and Keith Lowe presents a balanced portrait of how ineffectually this savage continent was rehabilitated. Required reading for anyone with an interest in the future of the European Union. – Saara
MEMORIES LOOK AT ME BY TOMAS TRANSTROMER
I’ve never read any poetry by the 2011 Nobel Prize Winner Tomas Transtromer so I thought this attractive, slim volume looking back at his life as a streak of light, the form of a comet would be a good introduction. It’s a collection of memories pinpricked throughout his childhood: vague, important, unimportant memories that stand alone and clear to him and are very telling. His devoted school teacher Mother and absence of his Father; the first time he experienced death, at 5, having lost the secure grip of his Mother’s hand in a frenzied crowd; his collection of beetles and realisation that the ground was alive, that there was an infinite world of creeping and flying things living their own rich life without paying the least regard to us; his hatred of the Nazis and his political engagement at the age of 9 and his discovery of poetry in Latin classes with a furious teacher. Read this in one sitting: it’s moving, reflective and timeless. We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its ring. The sum of “them” is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones.– Sylvia
DISPATCH FROM ATLANTIS BOOKS, OIA, SANTORINI – Terry
My better half and I spent last week sleeping amongst the shelves, not at Shakespeare and Company as might immediately spring to mind, but at Atlantis Books. Upon returning to Paris our hearts’ gossamers remain attached to the place and it would be crude to cite as sole cause the shop’s beauty, which their website keenly evidences. Perhaps it’s that selling books here happens as naturally as laughing, drinking raki, building desks, swimming, recording their podcast or telling stories late into the night. They’re fighting the good fight, publishing beautiful books and welcoming the passerby. May they weather the storm of Greece’s financial woes and may readers of this newsletter help them do so: visit, buy a book and tell them a good story.
FURTHER LITERARY TIDBITS
In preparation of Lydia Davis’s reading at the bookshop later this month, readWings and
Sample the intriguing John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Sources for the Princes inThe Paris Review
Miss Lora fiction by Junot Diaz and
Adam Gopnik on Can Science Explain Why We Tell Stories in The New Yorker
Listen to Marilynne Robinson in The Guardian’s books podcast
Mark Ford on Pound Writers Home in The London Review of Books
Jared Diamond on What Makes Countries Rich or Poor and
Kushinagar(originally in French in publication XXI) by Joe Saccoin The New York Review of Books
An interview with Jonathan Safran Foer in The White Review
THE LAST WORD
“THE WORLD IS FULL OF FICTIONAL CHARACTERS LOOKING FOR THEIR STORIES.”
“THE ONLY PEOPLE FOR ME ARE THE MAD ONES, THE ONES WHO ARE MAD TO LIVE, MAD TO TALK, MAD TO BE SAVED, DESIROUS OF EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME, THE ONES WHO NEVER YAWN OR SAY A COMMONPLACE THING, BUT BURN, BURN, BURN, LIKE FABULOUS YELLOW ROMAN CANDLES EXPLODING LIKE SPIDERS ACROSS THE STARS AND IN THE MIDDLE YOU SEE THE BLUE CENTERLIGHT POP AND EVERYBODY GOES ‘AWWW!'”
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