2008 : Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio

2008 : Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio

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“author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”



April 13, 1940

Place of birth


Nice, France







Notable award(s)


Nobel Prize in Literature 2008


Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio born in Nice in 1940. He is the son of Raoul The Clezio, surgeon, and Simone The Clezio. His parents are cousins (both have the same grandfather Sir Eugene The Clezio) and come from a Breton family emigrated to Mauritius in the eighteenth century [6] where they acquire British citizenship as a result of ‘annexation of the island by the Empire. The Clezio considers himself himself as culture Mauritian and French. He wrote his first stories at the age of seven years in the cabin of the boat that leads with his mother in Nigeria where he will find his father, who stayed there during the Second World War. Writing and travel remain therefore inseparable from the pen of The Clezio. He makes his literary studies at the University College of Nice, Aix-en-Provence, then in London and Bristol. In 1964, he wrote a thesis for graduation from Superior on “The Solitude in the work of Henri Michaux. ” From 23 years, became famous when it seems The Minutes, story aesthetically close to The Stranger by Albert Camus and research narratives New Roman, bathed in the climate of the Algerian War graduate, crowned by the Renaudot prize in 1963. In 1967 he made his military service in Thailand as cooperating, and quickly expelled for denouncing child prostitution. It is sent to Mexico in order to finish his service. He participated in organizing the library of the French Institute of America (IFAL), and begins to explore the Mayan and Nahuatl at the University of Mexico who will lead the Yucatan. For four years, from 1970 to 1974, he shared the lives of Indians and Embera Waunanas, Panama. The discovery of their lifestyle, if different from the one he knew so far is for him an experience he later described as “shocking”. After a first marriage in 1961 with Rosalie Piquemal (with whom he has a daughter, Patricia), he married in 1975 with jemi, from Western Sahara and mother of his second daughter Anna. Together, they write Sirandanes (a collection of riddles proverbial day in Mauritius) and People clouds. In 1977, The Clezio publish a translation of Prophecies of Chilam Balam, Mayan mythological work, work he had done in Yucatan. Specialist Michoacan (central Mexico), it supports a thesis in 1983 history on this topic at the Mexican Institute for the Study of Perpignan. He teaches among other universities in Bangkok, Mexico City, Boston, Austin and Albuquerque, but in 1978 it can not access the post of researcher at CNRS. In the late 1970s, The Clezio operates a change in his style of writing and publishing books more appeased, writing more serene, where the themes of childhood, of the minority, travel, spend the first plan. This new way seduced the general public. In 1980, The Clezio is the first to receive the Grand Prize for Literature Paul Morand, awarded by the French Academy for his book Desert. In 1990, The Clezio based company Jean Grosjean’s “Dawn of peoples”, Gallimard, dedicated to publishing texts and mythical epic, traditional or old. His interest in distant cultures moves in the 2000s to Korea, where he studied history, mythology and shamanistic rites, while holding a chair visiting professor at the University of Ewha. In March 2007, he was one of forty-four signatories of the manifesto “For a world literature”, which calls for recognition of a French-language literature which relegated most authors called “Francophone” in the margins; and find the romantic novel of rehabilitating fiction including through the provision of a younger generation of writers out of the “era of suspicion. In an interview published in 2001, The Clezio already deplored that “the French literary establishment, heir to the so-called universal thought encyclopedias, [has] always had the tendency to marginalize any thought of elsewhere in the calling ‘ “exotic”. ” Itself defines it as a writer “French, so French”, and envisages the romantic literature as “a good way to understand the world today. ” In October 2008, while Ritournelle appears from hunger, inspired by the figure of his mother, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. His first reaction is to say that the reward “will change nothing” in his own way to write. For many years, he traveled to many countries around the world on five continents, but mainly lives in Albuquerque, and France in Nice and Paris. He has published some forty volumes: tales, novels, essays, short stories, two translations of Indian mythology, as well as countless prefaces and articles and some contributions to collective works.


Works in French:

  • Le proces-verbal – Paris : Gallimard, 1963

  • Le jour ou Beaumont fit connaissance avec sa douleur – Paris : Mercure de France, 1964

  • La fievre – Paris : Gallimard, 1965

  • Le deluge : roman – Paris : Gallimard, 1966

  • L’extase materielle – Paris : Gallimard, 1967

  • Terra amata – Paris : Gallimard, 1967

  • Le livre des fuites : roman d’aventures – Paris : Gallimard, 1969

  • La guerre – Paris : Gallimard, 1970

  • Hai – Geneve : Skira, 1971

  • Mydriase – Montpellier : Fata Morgana, 1973

  • Les geants – Paris : Gallimard, 1973

  • Voyages de l’autre cote – Paris : Gallimard, 1975

  • L’inconnu sur la terre – Paris : Gallimard, 1978

  • Vers les icebergs – Montpellier : Fata Morgana, 1978

  • Voyage au pays des arbres – Paris: Gallimard, 1978

  • Mondo et autres histoires – Paris : Gallimard, 1978

  • Desert – Paris : Gallimard, 1980

  • Trois villes saintes – Paris : Gallimard, 1980

  • Lullaby – Paris : Gallimard, 1980

  • La ronde et autres faits divers – Paris : Gallimard, 1982

  • Celui qui n’avait jamais vu la mer ; suivi de La montagne du dieu vivant – Paris : Gallimard, 1982

  • Balaabilou – Paris : Gallimard, 1985

  • Le chercheur d’or – Paris : Gallimard, 1985

  • Villa Aurore ; suivi de Orlamonde – Paris : Gallimard, 1985

  • Voyage a Rodrigues – Paris : Gallimard, 1986

  • Le reve mexicain ou la pensee interrompue – Paris : Gallimard, 1988

  • Printemps et autres saisons – Paris : Gallimard, 1989

  • La grande vie ; suivi de Peuple du ciel – Paris : Gallimard, 1990

  • Onitsha – Paris : Gallimard, 1991

  • Etoile errante – Paris : Gallimard, 1992

  • Pawana – Paris : Gallimard, 1992

  • Diego et Frida – Paris : Stock, 1993

  • La quarantaine – Paris : Gallimard, 1995

  • Poisson d’or – Paris : Gallimard, 1996

  • La fete chantee – Paris : Le Promeneur, 1997

  • Hasard ; suivi de Angoli Mala – Paris : Gallimard, 1999

  • Coeur brule et autres romances – Paris : Gallimard, 2000

  • Revolutions – Paris : Gallimard, 2003

  • L’Africain – Paris : Mercure de France, 2004

  • Ourania – Paris : Gallimard, 2006

  • Raga : approche du continent invisible – Paris : Seuil, 2006

  • Ballaciner – Paris : Gallimard, 2007

  • Ritournelle de la faim – Paris : Gallimard, 2008

Works in English:

  • The Interrogation / translated from the French by Daphne Woodward – New York : Atheneum, 1964 – Translation of Le proces-verbal

  • Fever / translated from the French by Daphne Woodward – New York : Atheneum, 1966 – Translation of La fievre

  • The Flood / translated from the French by Peter Green – London : H. Hamilton, 1967 – Translation of Le deluge

  • Terra Amata / translated from the French by Barbara Bray – London : Hamilton, 1969 ; New York : Atheneum, 1969 – Translation of Terra amata

  • The Book of Flights : an Adventure Story / translated from the French by Simon Watson Taylor – London : Cape, 1971 ; New York : Atheneum, 1972 – Translation of Le livre des fuites

  • War / translated from the French by Simon Watson Taylor – London : Cape, 1973 ; New York : Atheneum, 1973 – Translation of La guerre

  • The Giants / translated from the French by Simon Watson Taylor – London : Cape, 1975 ; New York : Atheneum, 1975 – Translation of Les geants

  • The Mexican Dream, or, The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations / translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan – Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1993 – Translation of Le reve mexicain ou la pensee interrompue

  • The Prospector / translated from the French by Carol Marks – Boston : David R. Godine, 1993 – Translation of Le chercheur d’or

  • Onitsha / translated by Alison Anderson – Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 1997 – Translation of Onitsha

  • The Round & Other Cold Hard Facts = La ronde et autres faits divers / translated by C. Dickson – Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 2002 – Translation of La ronde et autres faits divers

  • Wandering Star : a Novel / translated by C. Dickson – Willimantic, CT : Curbstone Press, 2004 – Translation of Etoile errante

Works in Swedish:

  • Rapport om Adam / [till svenska av Aslog Davidson] – Stockholm : Geber, 1964 – Ny utg. 1968 – Orig:s titel: Le proces-verbal

  • Febern / till svenska av C.G. Bjurstrom – Stockholm : Geber, 1966 – Orig:s titel: La fievre

  • Syndafloden / till svenska av C.G. Bjurstrom – Stockholm : Geber, 1968 – Orig:s titel: Le deluge

  • Terra amata : roman / till svenska av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : Geber, 1969 – Orig:s titel: Terra amata

  • Jordisk extas : [essaer] / till svenska av Eva Alexanderson – Stockholm : Geber, 1969 – Orig:s titel: L’extase materielle.

  • Flykternas bok : aventyrsroman / till svenska av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : Geber, 1970 – Orig:s titel: Le livre des fuites

  • Kriget : roman / till svenska av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : AWE/Geber 1974 – Orig:s titel: La guerre

  • Farder i andra riken / overs. av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : AWE/Geber, 1979 – Orig:s titel: Voyages de l’autre cote

  • Mondo och andra berattelser / till svenska av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : AWE/Geber, 1981 – Orig:s titel: Mondo et autres histoires

  • Oken / till svenska av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : AWE/Geber, 1984 – Orig:s titel: Desert

  • Skattsokaren / oversattning av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : AWE/Geber, 1990 – Orig:s titel: Le chercheur d’or

  • Vandrande stjarna / oversattning: Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : Norstedt, 1995 – Orig:s titel: Etoile errante

  • Afrikanen / oversattning av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : Grate, 2005 – Orig:s titel: L’Africain

  • Allt ar vind / oversattning av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : Grate, 2007 – Orig:s titel: Revolutions

  • Raga : att nalkas den osynliga kontinenten / oversattning av Ulla Bruncrona – Stockholm : Grate, 2008 – Orig:s titel: Raga : approche du continent invisible

Works in German:

  • Das Protokoll : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Munchen : Piper, 1965. – Originaltitel: Le proces-verbal

  • Die Sintflut : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Munchen : Piper, 1968 – Originaltitel: Le deluge

  • Terra amata : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Munchen : Piper, 1970 – Originaltitel: Terra amata

  • Das Fieber : Erzahlungen / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Munchen : Piper, 1971 – Originaltitel: La fievre

  • Der Krieg : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Frankfurt (am Main) : S. Fischer, 1972. – Originaltitel: La guerre

  • Der Goldsucher : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Koln : Kiepenheuer u. Witsch, 1987 – Originaltitel: Le chercheur d’or

  • Mondo : Erzahlungen / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Munchen : List, 1988 – Originaltitel: Mondo et autres histoires

  • Der mexikanische Traum / Aus dem Franzosischen von Rolf und Hedda Soellner – Munchen : List, 1989 – Originaltitel: Le reve mexicain ou la pensee interrompue

  • Wuste : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Koln : Kiepenheuer u. Witsch, 1989 – Originaltitel: Desert

  • Onitsha : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Koln : Kiepenheuer und Witsch, 1993. – Originaltitel: Onitsha

  • Diego und Frida / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Munchen : Hanser, 1995 – Originaltitel: Diego et Frida

  • Fliehender Stern : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Koln : Kiepenheuer und Witsch, 1996 – Originaltitel: Etoile errante

  • Ein Ort fernab der Welt : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Koln : Kiepenheuer und Witsch, 2000 – Originaltitel: La quarantaine

  • Fisch aus Gold : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Koln : Kiepenheuer und Witsch, 2003 – Originaltitel: Poisson d’or

  • Revolutionen : Roman / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Koln : Kiepenheuer und Witsch, 2006 – Originaltitel: Revolutions

  • Der Afrikaner / Aus dem Franzosischen von Uli Wittmann – Munchen : Hanser, 2007 – Originaltitel: L’Africain

  • Selected Criticism

  • Lhoste, Pierre, Conversations avec J.M.G. Le Clezio – Paris : Mercure de France, 1971

  • Bree, Germaine, Le monde fabuleux de J.M.G. Le Clezio – Amsterdam : Rodopi, 1990

  • J.M.G. Le Clezio / textes reunis par Gabrielle Althen – Marseille : Sud, 1990

  • Onimus, Jean, Pour lire Le Clezio – Paris : PUF, 1994

  • Cortanze, Gerard de, J.M.G. Le Clezio : le nomade immobile – Paris : Ed. du Chene, 1999

  • Chung, Ook, Le Clezio : une ecriture prophetique – Paris : Imago, 2001

  • Jollin-Bertocchi, Sophie, J.M.G. Le Clezio : l’erotisme, les mots – Paris : Kime, 2001

  • Rimpau, Laetitia, Reisen zum Ursprung : das Mauritius-Projekt von Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio – Tubingen : Niemeyer, 2002

  • Jarlsbo, Jeana, Ecriture et alterite dans trois romans de J.M.G. Le Clezio : Desert, Onitsha et La quarantaine – Lund : Romanska institutionen, Univ., 2003

  • Lectures d’une oeuvre J.-M.G. Le Clezio / collectif coordonne par Sophie Jollin-Bertocchi et Bruno Thibault – Nantes : Du Temps, 2004

  • Kastberg Sjoblom, Margareta, L’ecriture de J.M.G. Le Clezio : des mots aux themes – Paris : Honore Champion, 2006

  • Salles, Marina, Le Clezio : notre contemporain – Rennes : Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2006

  • Suzuki, Masao, J-MG Le Clezio : evolution spirituelle et litteraire : par-dela l’Occident moderne – Paris : L’Harmattan, 2007


1963: prix Theophraste-Renaudot.

1972: prix litteraire Valery-Larbaud.

1980: grand prix de litterature Paul Morand, awarded by the Academie francaise.

1997: grand prix Jean-Giono.

1998: prix Prince-de-Monaco.

2008: Stig Dagermanpriset.

2008: Nobel Prize in Literature.


Extract from Onitsha

The Surabaya, a vessel of three hundred tons, already old, the Holland Africa Line, had to leave the dirty waters of the Gironde estuary and was bound for the west coast of Africa, and Fintan watched as his mother if it was for the first time. Perhaps he had never felt before how young she was close to him, as the sister he never had. Not really nice, but if alive, so strong. It was late afternoon sunlight illuminating the dark hair with golden reflections, the line profile, high forehead and curved forming a steep angle with the nose, the contour of the lips, chin. There was a down on his transparent skin as a result. He looked, he liked his face. When he was ten years, Fintan had decided that his mother did more other than by his nickname. Her name was Maria Luisa, but said: Maou. Fintan was when he was a baby, he could not pronounce his name, and that it remained. He had taken his mother by the hand, he looked straight, he decided: “Starting today, I t’appelles Maou. “He seemed so serious that it remained a moment without responding, then she laughed, one of the laughter that sometimes took, which she could not resist. Fintan had laughed too, and this is how the agreement had been sealed. The bust pressed wood of the sill, Maou watched the wake of the ship and watched the Fintan. It was the end of Sunday March 14 1948, Fintan will never forget that date. The sky and the sea was blue, almost purple. The air was still, ie that the vessel would move at the same speed. Some heavily seagulls flying above the deck, approaching and departing from the flag pole where the three bands agitated as an old machine. From time to time, they slid on the side screaming, moaning and had a strange music with juddering propellers. Fintan watched his mother, he listened very carefully almost all the painful noises, the cries of gulls, he felt slip waves back and press on the bow, raised the hull in the kind of a breath. It was the first time. He watched the faces of Maou to his left, gradually becoming a pure profile against the brightness of the sky and the sea was thought that this was the first time. And at the same time, he could not understand why, that shook his throat and his heart was beating harder, and put tears in his eyes, because it was also the last time. They would never be nothing like. At the end of white wake, the strip of land disappears. The mud of the estuary suddenly had revealed the deep blue sea sand languages herissees reeds, where the huts of fishermen appeared toys, and all these strange shores, tours, tags, traps, quarries, bunkers, everything was lost in the movement of the sea, drowned in the tide. ————————————-

Africa burns as a secret, like a fever. Geoffroy Allen can not detach his eyes a moment, he can not imagine another dream. This is the face sculpted ITSI brands, face masks Umundri. On the docks of Onitsha, morning, they wait, motionless, balancing on one leg, as if they were statues burned, sent Chuku on earth. For their sake Geoffroy remained in the city, despite its horror at the offices of the United Africa, despite the club despite the Resident Rally and his wife, their dogs eat the beef tenderloin and sleeping under mosquito nets. Despite the weather, despite the routine Wharf. Despite the separation from Maou, and the son born in the distance, he did not grow, for whom he is a foreigner. Them every day on the dock, from dawn, waiting for who knows what a boat that takes them upstream, which provide a mysterious message. Then they leave, they disappear, walking through tall grass to the east on roads Awgu of Owerri. Geoffroy tries to talk to them, a few words of Ibo, Yoruba sentences in pidgin, and they always quiet, not arrogant, but absent, disappearing quickly in single file along the river, is lost in the tall grass yellowed by the drought. They, the Umundri the Ndinze, the “ancestors”, the “insiders”. The people of Chuku, the sun, surrounded by his halo as a father surrounded by his children. This indicates ITSI. He saw that Geoffroy on the faces, the first time he came to Onitsha. The sign etched into the skin of the faces of men, as writing on the stone. This indicates that entered into it, has touched the heart, was also on his face too white, his skin where missing since his birth there trace of the burn. But now he feels this burning, this secret. Men and women of Umundri people in the streets of Onitsha, absurd shadows wandering in the alleys of red dust, between groves of acacia, with their herds of goats, dogs. Only some of them on the face of the sign Ndri their ancestor, the sign of the sun.

Presentation Speech:

Presentation Speech by Horace Engdahl, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Member of its Nobel Committee, 10 December 2008.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,

What are we having people to a literary work? Roland Barthes claimed that the most outdated among the literary conventions were their own names, the Peter and Paul and Anna who never existed but which we are expected to take seriously and concern ourselves with when we read novels. His view was in line with the new French novel which, for forty years ago, was in the process of eliminating psychological drama characters and turn people into angles, camera eyes. In such a climate set off Jean-Marie Le Clezio his literary career. He writes in his second book, La fievre (1965): “Poems, short stories and novels are antiques that are no longer fooling anyone, or almost. The only thing that remains is the writing, writing which FEEL ONE up with their words, as seeking, describe, meticulous and penetrating, who cling to firmly and ruthlessly process reality. The young Le Clezio was not alone in wanting to shake off the genres. But while his colleagues stressed the doubt on the reality gripbarhet, he opted to believe in the language of federal matter and the body. Debut novel Le proces-verbal, that made its author famous at 23 years of age, shuffling confessions, parodies, diary fragments, found texts, newspaper notices, word games and dialogues in a mental institution. In its feverish prose speaks a generation lost faith in hierarchies. All that language detainees are of equal value and equal unstable. Le Clezios early books is a verbal big bang with the emergence and disappearance figures, sudden light phenomena, infinite silence markets, incandescent matter, a universe in the making, which is continually dissolve its forms. He could have left tardiness in prose and poetry crisis description, heirs Lautreamont to and Michaux and Stig Dagerman, had it not been for the trips. A multi stay in Central America brought him into contact with Indian culture, and this changed the conditions of his authorship. He discovered what progress had been made in the shade, it denied knowledge that does not fit into modernity. He discovered that he really was an Indian, but a poor Indian. Eventually, he would find a connection between this experience and his own family history, ancestors emigration to Mauritius, struggle and freedom at the Ocean stripe. It paved the way for the masterpiece that revolution and L’Africaine. This year’s literature prize winner of a civilization critical tradition, as in the French base could be headed back to Chateaubriand, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Diderot, yes, Montaigne. In the 1900s represented on the violent passion of Artaud, as Le Clezio follow in their relations with the ancient Mexican gods. His books give a hedersrum to FADDY which has preserved a connection with the origin: gypsies, fishermen, oxdrivare, nomads. He preferred the human groups in constant motion, such as living in the middle of our communities without having to belong to them and rescues them from banality. Few writers have so convincingly described how reluctantly languages and cultures die. It is one of the unexpected experiences, which gives equal parts of hope and anguish. History’s imprint will not disappear. We will not be more alike. The general human is at Le Clezios contrary to the international service without a past who are encouraged to take shape in the western metropolises. In the novel Desert (1980), which marked a new turn in his works, represented exclusion of a Bedouin girl, who has made his North African homeland to seek work in France. She is a picture of the man before money syndafall. Unlettered, she will read things language with unerring security. A congenital remote eye, which defy time and space, put her in connection with its people’s great past. Europe is seen in the novel with the unwanted migrants eyes and looks as a death kingdom. The open format of this book has become typical of its author: a form of different places, times and discourses incompatible mediate side by side. The novel has in his writing formed an association with the travel narrative, the analytical essay, prose memory and white literature. It is an alloy strong enough to bear a consciousness that is open to global realities and not just pretending to be there to master it. Le Clezio gives us a French who has gone down from the pedestal PURISM and squeezed through the awareness of other languages. And own names, people? In a highly personal essay on the art of film, published filed year, describing Le Clezio how Jean Vigo extended the film language of form by moving the focus from individuals to what they see and feel. Similarly, the fictional characters seem to find favor in Le Clezios writing when they do not appear to be deepened in their intrigues us but because we shall see with their eyes. Le Clezios imagination feeds on the unexplored regions where the fear and ecstasy arise, inseparable from each other. It may seem surprising that we want to call him a bright writer, given the significant element of colonial pillaging, bourgeois stuffiness and social injustice in his theme. Yet it is so. Luster Earth, sun, sea and the lovely, renewal indelible sense of freedom is the counterbalance to outweigh the grief over the path that our civilization has taken. Mr laureates, Mr Jean-Marie Le Clezio! Your work is a walking story, you have a world-nomadic. You have the paper found a port on the adventure, not as ESCAPISM but who hunger for the unknown. You have, after a long era in which the highest expression seemed reserved for dystopiska experience, re given literature its ability to affirm the world. I would like to extend warm congratulations of the Swedish Academy, when I now ask you to receive the Nobel Prize in literature from His Majesty the King’s hand.

Nobel Lecture:

December 7, 2008

In the forest of paradoxes

Why do we write? I guess everyone has their own answer to this simple question. There predisposition, environment, circumstances. Disabilities as well. If you write, it means that we do not act. What you feel in difficulty to the fact that we chose another way of response, another way to communicate a distance, a time for reflection. If I look at the circumstances which led me to write – I do not complacency, but for the sake of accuracy – I can see that starting point of all this for me is the war. The war, not as a shocking moment where we live historical times, such as the French campaign reported on both sides of the battlefield of Valmy, by Goethe and the German side by my ancestor Francois side of ‘Revolutionary Army. It must be exciting, pathetic. No, the war for me is that civilians living, especially very young children. Not a moment it seemed a historic moment. We were hungry, we were afraid we were cold, that’s all. I remember seeing pass under my window the troops of Marshal Rommel up the Alps in search of a passage to the north of Italy and Austria. That did not leave a very striking. But in the years following the war, I remember having missed everything, and particularly writing and reading. Lack of paper and ink pen, I drew and wrote my first words on the back of ration books, when I used a carpenter’s pencil blue and red. It remained me a taste for rough media and ordinary pencils. Lack of children’s books, dictionaries I read my grandmother. They were wonderful portal for the recognition from the world, to roam and dream before the boards of illustrations, maps, lists of unknown words. The first book I wrote at the age of six or seven years, the rest was called the Globe to marinate. Followed immediately by the biography of a king called imaginary Daniel III – perhaps it was Sweden? And a story told by a seagull. It was a period of imprisonment. The children had little freedom to go play outside, because the grounds and gardens around at my grandmother had been mined. Random walks, I remember along a fence of barbed wire at the seaside, on which a notice in French and German intruders threatened a ban with a skull. I can understand that it was a situation where we had the desire to flee – and thus to dream these dreams of writing. In addition, my maternal grandmother was an extraordinary storyteller, which reserved the long hours of the afternoon time stories. His stories were always very imaginative, and placed in a forest scene – perhaps Africa or perhaps the forest Mauritius Maccabees – whose main character was a monkey endowed with malice, which is still coming out of the most perilous. Thereafter, I made a trip and stay in Africa, where I discovered the real forest, almost devoid of animals. But a DO Obudu village on the border of Cameroon, made me listen to the crackling gorilla on a nearby hill, train hit their chests. From this trip, this visit (in Nigeria where my father was a bush doctor) I have not reported the matter to future novels, but a sort of second personality, at once dreamy and fascinated by the real to me accompanied my life – and that was contradictory dimension, the strangeness myself I felt sometimes up to suffering. The slow pace of life is such that it took me time most of this life to understand what that means. The books came into my life a little later. It was in the form of several libraries that my father had managed to meet and who came from the dispersion of his legacy when he was evicted from his home Moka (Mauritius). It was then that I realized the truth that is not immediately apparent to children, that books are a treasure more valuable than the property or bank accounts. It is in these volumes, most old and connected, I discovered the great texts of world literature, Don Quijote illustrated by Tony Johannot, La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes, The Ingoldsby Legends, Gulliver’s Travels; major novels inspired by Victor Hugo, Eighty Thirteen, maritime workers, or The Man Who Laughs. Drolatiques Les Contes de Balzac, too. But the books that marked me the most, the collections of travel, mostly devoted to India, Africa and the islands Masacareignes, as well as major texts of exploration, Dumont d ‘Urville or Father Rochon, Bougainville, Cook, and of course the Wonder Book of Marco Polo. In the life of a poor small town provincial asleep in the sun, after years of freedom in Africa, these books gave me a taste for adventure, they allowed me to sense the grandeur of the real world of explore it by instinct and the senses rather than knowledge. In a way they allowed me to feel very early on the contradictory nature of the life of Child, which keeps a refuge where he can forget the violence and competition, and take pleasure in watching his life outside the square its window. In the moments before the announcement, very surprising for me, the distinction m’octroyait Academy of Sweden, I was being read a small book Stig Dagerman that I particularly like: the collection of Essa political texts entitled och texter (The Dictatorship of Chagrin). It was by chance that I am back into reading this book caustic and bitter. I had to travel to Sweden to receive the prize that the association of friends of Dagerman had given me last summer to visit the scene of the childhood of this writer. I have always been sensitive to writing Dagerman, the combination of tenderness juvenile naivete and sarcasm. In his idealism. At the foresight with which he considers his troubled times in the post-war him time to mature, for me one of my childhood. One sentence in particular stopped me, and me semblee contact me at this moment – when I had just published a novel entitled Ritournelle of Hunger. This phrase, or rather this passage, here it is: “How is it possible for example to include, on one side as if nothing in the world was more important than literature, while the other is is impossible not to see that people around struggle against hunger and are forced to consider that the most important to them is what they earn at the end of the month? Because he (the writer) stumbles on a paradox: he wanted to write that hungry people discovered that only those who have enough to eat have time to realize its existence. “(The writer and conscience) This “forest of paradoxes”, as appointed Stig Dagerman is precisely the area of writing, the place where the artist should not try to escape, but quite the opposite in which he must ” camp “to recognize every detail, to explore every path, to give his name to each tree. This is not always a pleasant stay. He is believed to shelter, which she confided to his page as a close friend and indulgent, here they are confronted with reality, not only as observers but as actors. They must choose their camp, taking distances. Cicero, Rabelais, Condorcet, Rousseau, Madame de Stael, or more recently Solzhenitsyn or Hwang Seok-yong, Abdelatif Laabi or Milan Kundera had to take the road of exile. For me who have always known – except during the brief period of the war – the possibility of movement, banning live in the place we chose is also unacceptable that deprivation of liberty. But this freedom to move a privilege as a consequence of the paradox. See herissees thorn tree in the forest lives the writer: this man, this woman busy writing, inventing their dreams, are not members of a happy and very few happy reduced? Imagine an extreme situation, terrifying – the very lives that many on our planet. The one formerly lived at the time of Aristotle or the time of Tolstoy, the unspeakable – the serfs, servants, villains of Europe in the Middle Ages, or peoples razzi the Age of Enlightenment on the coast of Africa, sold in Goree, El Mina, in Zanzibar. And today, at the time I speak, all those who have no right to speak, who are on the other side of language. It is thought that pessimistic Dagerman m’envahit rather than finding militant Gramsci or disillusioned bet Sartre. That literature is the luxury of a dominant class, it will nourish ideas and images foreign to most people, this is causing the discomfort that each of us feels – I am speaking to those who read and write. One might be tempted to bring that voice to those who do not, invite them generously at the banquet of culture. Why is it so difficult? The peoples without writing, as anthropologists have liked to name them, have managed to invent a common-reported total, through songs and myths. Why is it now impossible in our industrialized society? Should we reinvent the culture? Should it revert to an immediate, direct? It is tempting to believe that the film plays this role today, or the popular song, rhythm, rhyme, dance. Jazz perhaps, or in other lands, calypso, the Maloya, the sega.

The paradox is not new. Francois Rabelais, the largest French-language writer, once went to war against the people of pedantry the Sorbonne by throwing their face the words entered in the popular language. He spoke for those who are hungry? Misbehavior, drunkenness, Ripaille. It put into words the extraordinary appetite of those who ate the paucity of peasants and workers, for the time of a charade, a world upside down. The paradox of the revolution, as epic knight riding to the sad figure, lives in the conscience of the writer. If there is a virtue indispensable to his pen is that it should not ever serve in praise of the powerful, even if the lightest tickling. Yet even in the practice of this virtue, the artist should not be absolved of all suspicion. His revolt, he refused, his imprecations remain a certain side of the barrier on the side of the language of the powerful. Some words, some phrases escape. But the rest? A long palimpsest, a delay elegant and distant. Humor, sometimes, that is not the politeness of despair, but despair of imperfect, the beach where the current turbulent injustice abandon. So why write? The writer, for some time, no longer outrecuidance to believe he will change the world, it will deliver its new novels and a better life. More simply, it is witness. See that other tree in the forest of paradoxes. The writer is a witness, as he is, most of the time, just a voyeur. Blank, it happens that the artist is: Dante in La Divina Commedia, Shakespeare in The Tempest – and Cesaire in the resumption of this magnificent piece, called A Storm, in which Caliban, astride a powder keg, threatened ‘bring with him in death hated his masters. Blank, it is sometimes way beyond, as Euclides da Cunha in Sertoes Os, or Primo Levi. The absurdity of the world is in Der Prozess (or in Chaplin’s films), its imperfection in the birth day of Colette, his phantasmagoria in the Irish song that Joyce staged in Finnegans Wake. Its beauty shines with a flash overwhelming in The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen or in A Sand County Almanac of Aldo Leopold. Sanctuary in its wickedness of William Faulkner, or First snow of Lao She. Its fragility of childhood in Ormen (The Snake) from Dagerman. The writer is never a better witness than when a witness despite himself, in his protest. The paradox is that what it reflects is not what he saw, or even what he invented. The bitterness, despair sometimes, just what it is not present at the indictment. Tolstoy makes us see the misfortune that the Napoleonic army inflicts on Russia, and yet nothing is changed in the course of history. Ms. Duras wrote Ourika, Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but it is the people slaves who change their own destiny, which is based outraged and against injustice resistance Maroon, Brazil, Guyana, the Caribbean, and the first black republic in Haiti. Acting is what the writer wants above all. Act, rather than testify. Write, imagine, dream, for his words, his inventions and dreams occur in reality, change the minds and hearts open up a better world. Yet, at this very moment, one vote him breath that it does not, that words are words that the winds of society prevails, that dreams are only dreams. What right to want better? Is this really the writer to seek issues? Is it not in the position of pastoral care in the room or the Knock The Triumph of medicine, which would prevent an earthquake? How the writer could act as he knows only remember? Loneliness will be his lot. It has always been. Child, it was this being fragile, worried, too receptive, the girl described Colette, who can only watch their parents tear, its large black eyes magnified by a kind of painful expectations. Loneliness is loving writers, it is in his company to find the essence of happiness. It is a pleasure contradictory mixture of pain and delight, a triumph derisory, a deaf and pervasive evil, like a small haunting music. The writer is the person who cultivates the best and necessary poisonous plant that grows only on the soil of his own disability. He wanted to talk to everyone, for all time: he is, here she is in her room in front of the mirror too white blank page, under the shade which distills light secret. Before the screen too keen on his computer, listening to the sound of his fingers clicking on buttons snap. That is its forest. The writer knows too well each represents. Sometimes if something comes out, like a bird raised by a dog at dawn, it was under his gaze eberlue – it was random, it was despite him, despite her. But I would not want me in a complacent attitude. Literature – this is where I wanted to come – is not an archaic survival which should logically replace the audio-visual arts, particularly cinema. It is something complex, difficult, but I think even more necessary today than time Byron or Victor Hugo. There are two reasons for this need: First, because literature is made of language. It is the sense of the word: letters, ie what is written. In France, the word means these novel written in prose that used for the first time since the Middle Ages the new language that everyone spoke, the Romance language. The news also comes from this idea of novelty. At about the same time, France was stopped using the word rhymester (to rhyme) to talk about poetry and poets – from the Greek verb poiein create. The writer, poet, novelist, are creators. This does not mean they invented the language, this means they use to create beauty, thought, image. That is why we can not do without them. Language is the most extraordinary invention of mankind, above all that, sharing everything. Without language, not science, no art, no laws, no art, no love. But this invention, without the speakers, becomes virtual. It may s’anemier, shrink, disappear. The writers, to some extent, are the guards. When they write their novels, their poems, their theater, they live the language. They do not use the words, but rather they are for language. They celebrated the hone the process, because language is living by them, through them and the accompanying social and economic transformations of their time. When, in the last century, racist theories have emerged, we spoke about the fundamental differences between cultures. In a sort of hierarchy absurd, it was match the economic success of colonial powers with a so-called cultural superiority. These theories, like a feverish and unhealthy impulse, from time to time emerge here and there to justify neo-colonialism or imperialism. Some people would be behind, has not acquired citizenship matters (speaking) because of their economic backwardness or their archaic technology. But it has advised that all peoples of the world, wherever they are and whatever their stage of development, using the language? And each of these languages is the same logic, complex architecture, analytical, which can express the world – able to say science or inventing myths. Having defended the existence of this being ambiguous and somewhat archaic as the writer, I would say the second reason for the existence of literature, because it affects more beautiful job of editing. There is much talk about globalization today. We forget that the phenomenon began in Europe during the Renaissance, with the beginning of the colonial era. Globalization is not a bad thing in itself. The communication makes faster progress in medicine or science. Perhaps the spread of information will make conflict more difficult. If there had been internet, it is possible that Hitler had not succeeded his Mafia conspiracy – the ridicule might have prevented born. We live, it seems, in the era of Internet and virtual communication. This is fine, but as good as these amazing inventions without the teaching of language and writing books? Provide liquid crystal displays most of humanity is utopia. So are we not in the process of creating a new elite to draw a new line that divides the world between those who have access to communication and knowledge and those who remain excluded from sharing? Great people, great civilizations have disappeared failing to have understood. While crop, others say minority, have resisted until now, through oral transmission of knowledge and myths. It is essential, it is beneficial to recognize the contributions of these cultures. But whether we like it or not, even if we are not yet at the age of reality, we no longer live in an age of myth. It is not possible to establish respect and equality without giving every child the benefit of writing. Today, in the wake of decolonization, the literature is one way for men and women of our time to express their identity, to claim their right to speak and be heard in their diversity. Without their votes, not their call, we will be living in a silent world. The culture on a global scale is our shared responsibility. But it is primarily the responsibility of readers, ie the publishers. It is true that it is unfair that an Indian in the Canadian North, to be heard, having to write in the language of the conquerors – in French or English. It is true that it is illusory to believe that the Creole language of Mauritius or the Caribbean will reach the same ease of listening that the five or six languages that prevail today in absolute mistresses on the media. But if, for the translation, the world can hear something new and optimism is taking place. Culture, I said, is our common good of all humanity. But if this is true, it would have the same resources are given to everyone, access to culture. To do this, the book is, in all its archaic, the ideal tool. It is convenient, handy and economical. It requires no special technological prowess, and can be kept in all climates. His only fault – and here I speak particularly for publishers – is still difficult to access for many countries. In Mauritius the price of a novel or a collection of poems is an important part of the family budget. In Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Oceania, the book remains an unattainable luxury. This evil is not without remedy. The conjunction with developing countries, the establishment of funds for lending libraries or libraries, and generally more attention paid in respect of applications and entries into the so-called minority languages – a majority sometimes in number – would allow literature to continue to be this wonderful way of knowing oneself, discovering another, to hear in the richness of its themes and its modulations concert of humanity. I like it enough to talk yet of the forest. That is probably why early sentence of Stig Dagerman resonates in my memory, why I want to read and reread, penetrate me. There is something desperate in her, and at the same moment of jubilant because it is in the bitterness that is the truth that everyone seeks. Child, I dreamed of this forest. It m’epouvantait and to me at once – I suppose that the small Thumb, Hansel or should feel the same emotion when she was closing on them with all its dangers and all its wonders. The forest is a world without benchmarks. The touffeur trees, darkness in prisons can lose. One could say the same desert, or the high seas, where each dune, every hill departs to show another hill, another wave perfectly identical. I remember the first time I felt what can be literature – In The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, specifically, a character lost in the snow, feel the cold little invade just as the wolves circle closes around him. He looks at his hand already numb, and tries to move each finger one after another. This discovery for the child that I had something magical. This is called self-consciousness. I owe the forest one of my greatest emotions of my literary adulthood. This happens it decades ago, in a Central American region called El Tapon Darien, the cap, because that is where terminates then (and I understand that since the situation has unchanged) Pan American Highway which would link the two Americas, from Alaska to the tip of Tierra del Fuego. The Isthmus of Panama, in this section is covered with a forest of extremely heavy rain, in which it is possible to travel back in the course of rivers by boat. This forest is inhabited by an Amerindian population, divided into two groups, the Embera and Waunanas, both belonging to the linguistic family Ge-Pano-Karib. As came there by chance, I found myself fascinated by this point people to make several visits long enough for about three years. Throughout this time, I did nothing else but to go to adventure, from house to house – because these people refused then unite in villages – and learn to live under a completely different pace that I had known until then. Like all real forest, the forest was particularly hostile. It was an inventory of all the dangers, and all means of survival had it. I must say that overall the Embera have been very patient with me. My clumsiness made them laugh, and I think to some extent, I have visited a little distraction from what they taught me wisdom. I do not write very much. The forest is not an ideal environment for this. Moisture tempera on paper, the heat dries out the ball point pens. Anything that works to electricity only lasts very long. I arrived there with the belief that writing was a privilege, and I would always resist all the problems of existence. Protection, in a sense, a kind of virtual window that I could go back to my m’abriter As for the weather.

Having absorbed the system of communism essential that the American practice, and their profound distaste for authority, and their tendency to anarchy natural, I could imagine that art, as individual expression, could not take place in the forest. In fact, nothing from these people who could resemble the so-called art in our consumer society. Instead of tables, men and women painted their bodies and a general reluctance to build nothing lasting. Then I had access to myths. When speaking of myths in our world of books, it seems to talk about something very remote, either in time or in space. I thought to myself that distance. And then the myths came to me regularly, almost every night. Nearly a wood fire built on home three stones in houses in the ballet mosquitoes and moths, the voices of storytellers and story set in motion these stories, these legends, these stories, as s they talked about everyday reality. The story of a singing voice, beating his chest, his face mimait expressions, passions, concerns of the characters. It could have been the novel, not the myth. But one night came a young woman. His name was Elvira. Throughout the forest of the Embera, Elvira was known for his art of storytelling. It was an adventurer, who lived without a man without children – we told it was a little ivrognesse a little prostitute, but I do not think – and which ranged from house to house to sing, with a meal, a bottle of alcohol, sometimes a little money. Although I have had access to his tales through the translation – the Embera language literary version includes a much more complex than the language of every day – I immediately understood that it was a great artist In the best sense we can give to that word. The timbre of her voice, the pace of its striking his hands heavy necklaces of silver on his chest, and above all this air of possession that illuminates her face and her eyes, this kind of outburst and measured pace, had power over those who were present. At the simple frame myths – the invention of tobacco, the original pair of twins, stories of gods and humans from the depths of time, it added its own history, that of his wandering life, his loves, the betrayals and suffering, happiness intense carnal love, acid jealousy, fear of aging and dying. It was poetry in action, the ancient theater, along with the contemporary novel. It was with this fire, violent, it invented in the darkness of the forest, among the noise of insects and toads, the whirlwind of bats, this feeling that has no name other than the beauty. As if she bore in her singing the true power of nature, and that was probably the greatest paradox, this isolated place, this forest, furthest from the sophistication of literature, was the place where Art spoke with more strength and authenticity. Then I left this country, I have never seen Elvira, nor any of the storytellers of the forest Darien. But I have remained much more than nostalgia, the certainty that literature could exist, despite the wear of agreements and compromises, despite the inability of the writers were changing the world. Something big and strong, which surpasses sometimes animates and transforms, and makes harmony with nature. Something new and very old at the time, impalpable as the wind, immaterial as clouds, infinite as the sea something that vibrates in the poetry of Rumi Jallal Eddine, for example, or visionary architecture d ‘Emanuel Swedenborg. The thrill that one experiences reading the most beautiful pieces of humanity, such as speech that the head Stealth Indians to Lumni wrote the late nineteenth century to the President of the United States, in order to donate Earth: “Maybe we are brothers …” Something simple, true, that exists only in the language. Look, a trick sometimes, a dance grincante or large tracks of silence. The language of ridicule, interjections, curses, and immediately after, the language of heaven. To her, Elvira, which I commend this – to her that I dedicate this award that the Academy of Sweden gives me. In it, and all these writers with whom – or sometimes against which I lived. For Africans, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ahmadou Kourouma, Mongo Beti, in Cry the Beloved Country Alan Paton, to Chaka Tomas Mofolo. In large Mauritian Malcolm de Chazal, author, among other Judas. In Mauritius Hindi novelist Abhimanyu Unnuth for passin Lal (Sueur blood), the Urdu novelist Qurratulain Hyder for the epic Ag ka Darya (River of fire). At Reunion Danyel Waro, the singer Maloya, the rebellious, to the poet Dewe Kanak Gorod who defied the colonial power until prison, Abdourahman Waberi the revolt. By Juan Rulfo, in Pedro Paramo and new El Llano en llamas, photos simple and tragic he made in the Mexican countryside. By John Reed in Insurgent Mexico, Jean Meyer for bringing the word of Aurelio Acevedo and insurgents Cristeros of central Mexico. At Luis Gonzalez, author of Pueblo in Vilo. By John Nichols, who wrote about the harsh country in The Milagro Beanfield War, Henry Roth, my neighbor on the street New York to Albuquerque (New Mexico) Call it Sleep. At JP Sartre, for the tears in his play dead without burial. At Wilfrid Owen, the poet died on the banks of the Marne in 1914. At JD Salinger, because he has managed to bring us into the shoes of a young boy of fourteen years named Holden Caufield. Writers of the first nations of America, Sherman Alexie Sioux, the Navajo Scott Momaday, for The Names. A Mestokosho Rita, poet Innu Mingan (Province of Quebec) is talking trees and animals. At Jose Maria Arguedas, to Octavio Paz, Miguel Angel Asturias. Poets oasis Walata, Chinguetti. Major imaginative that were Alphonse Allais and Raymond Queneau. In Georges Perec What for small bicycle handlebars chrome at the back of the court? For the Caribbean Edouard Glissant and Patrick Chamoiseau, the Haitian Rene Depestre to Schwartz-Bart for the last fair. Mexican poet Homero Aridjis we slip into the life of a tortoise lyre, which speaks of rivers orange monarch butterflies flowing in the streets of his village, Contepec. At Venus Koury Ghata who spoke of Lebanon as a tragic lover and invincible. At Khalil Jibran. At Rimbaud. At Emile Nelligan. At Rejean Ducharme, for life. At the unknown child I met a day, along the river Tuira, in the woods of Darien. During the night, sitting on the floor of a shop, lit by the flame of a kerosene lamp, he read a book and says, leaning forward, without paying attention to what surrounds it, regardless of ‘discomfort, noise, promiscuity, life bitter and violent which takes place next to him. The child sat cross-legged on the floor of the shop in the heart of the forest, now reading alone to the flame of the lamp, is not by chance. It looks like a brother to another child that I spoke at the commencement of these pages, which tries to write with a carpenter’s pencil on the back of ration books in the dark years of war. It reminds us of the two major emergencies in human history, which we are unfortunately far from being answered. The eradication of hunger, and literacy. Throughout his pessimism, the sentence of Stig Dagerman on the fundamental paradox of the writer, dissatisfied with not being able to contact those who are hungry – for food and knowledge – key to the greater truth. Literacy and the fight against starvation relate closely interrelated. One can not succeed without the other. Both require – require our action today. That in this third millennium which has just begun, our common land, no child, whatever their sex, language or religion, should be abandoned to hunger and ignorance, left out of the feast. The child carries with it the future of our human race. To him the kingship, as was written long ago the Greek Heraclitus.


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