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Book Reviews - Note de lecture



A couple of weeks ago, I found in my father's library three unusual books stored side by side on a small table as if they wouldn't fit anywhere else : Le siècle des Valmore by Francis Ambrière (note 1), Papiers de Famille by [Le] Duc de Castries (note2) and a curious book written by Paul-Marie Lapointe in the late seventies entitled écRiturEs (the capitals and small letters are not errors) (note 3).

I borrowed all three ; all five actually because two of them are two volume sets.

Not to read. - 2.436 pages ! - I just wanted to find out what they were all about.

Le siècle des Valmore, I sort of guessed : t'was a very interesting and serious biography of the French poet, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, often quoted by Mrs. Malhasti. - That one I might read, but I have some many books on my list, I'll put it in plain view, on my desk, for the cat to knock it down and to remind me, as well, that it exists.

Papiers de famille had to be the times and tides of the Castries family by one of its immortal descendants. Immortal because it is clearly underlined on its cover that the Duc who wrote these Papiers was a member of l'Académie Française. - Judging by the photos and the style, a copy of Thomas Paine's Common Sense (see above) ought to be sent to all members of this family. Which reminds me that I have a Gotha somewhere around the house and a couple of books on French aristocracy (post Révolution). Enough to cure regular insomnia.

As fascinating as they were the above books seemed run-of-the-mill stuff (so, to speak), compared to Paul-Marie Lapointe's écRiturEs. I knew Paul-Marie to whom I was introduced by a friend of mine. He was considered, at the time, as Québec's greatest living poet. (He passed away 4 years ago, this upcoming 16th of August.) He might have been, I don't know, not being a connaisseur in poetry, but this écRiturEs of his is something that fascinated me.

From the limited conversation I had with him, it seems that, instead of writing normally, line after line, or automatically (he was an proponent of automatism), each verse of each of his "poems" (I don't even know if we can call them "poems") were made up of words or sentencers that had to have no relationship wathsoever with the previous or the following verses. Like looking directly into someone else's brain.

Then all of a sudden I was told that this site had a page on Paul-Marie and another page of this book :




Talk about finding something in your own backyard !

Here'an excerpt of his écRiturEstaken at random (first volume, number 50) :

richesse pillage d'une ville

se couvrir d'une mousse verdâtre
admirant tout ce qui est en vogue

coups de baguettes empoisonnés
refrain de quelques chansons
commence au mois de mai
fournit le bois d'ébène
infinitif bien marqué

recouvrements de fonds courbes
coquilles de mollusques
divinités féminines affaiblies
vases de terre instruments de musique


Note 1 : Le siècle des Valmore - Marceline Desbordes-Valmore et les siens - 2 volumes : 1. 1786-1840, 2 - 1840-1892 - Éditions du Seuil, Mai 1987 - 1.042 pages.

Note 2 : Papiers de famille - Éditions France-Empire, 1977 - 506 pages

Note 3 : écRiturEs - L'obsidienne, 1980 - 2 volumes - 888 pages

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