2016年 02月 14日
Narrative Gems 003: Roberto Bolaño, '2666'
The first time that Jean-Claude Pelletier read Benno von Archimboldi was Christmas 1980, in Paris, when he was nineteen years old and studying German literature. The book in question was D'Arsonval. The young Pelletier didn't realize at the time that the novel was part of trilogy (made up of the English-themed The Garden and the Polish-themed The Leather Mask, together with the clearly French-themed D'Arsonval), but this ignorance or lapse or bibliographical lacuna, attributable only to his extreme youth, did nothing to diminish the wonder and admiration that the novel stirred in him.

From that day on (or from the early morning hours when he concluded his maiden reading) he became an enthusiastic Archimboldian and set out on a quest to find more works by the author. This was no easy task. Getting hold of books by Benno von Archimboldi in the 1980s, even in Paris, was an effort not lacking in all kinds of difficulties. Almost no reference to Archimboldi could be found in the university's German department. Pelletier's professors had never heard of him. One said he thought he recognized the name. Ten minutes later, to Pelletier's outrage (and horror), he realized that the person his professor had in mind was the Italian painter, regarding whom he soon revealed himself to equally ignorant.

Pelletier wrote to the Hamburg publishing house that had published D'Arsonval and received no response. He also scoured the few German bookstores he could find in Paris. The name Archimboldi appeared in a dictionary of German literature and in a Belgian magazine devoted --- whether as a joke or seriously, he never knew --- to the literature of Prussia. In 1981, he made a trip to Bavaria with three friends from the German department, and there, in a little bookstore in Munich, on Voralmstrasse, he found two other books: the slim volume titled Mitzi's Treasure, less than one hundred pages long, and the aforementioned English novel, The Garden.

Reading these two novels only reinforced the opinion he'd already formed of Archimboldi. In 1983, at the age of twenty-two, he undertook the task of translating D'Arsonval. No one asked him to do it. At the time, there was no French publishing house interested in publishing the German author with the funny name. Essentially, Pelletier set out to translate the book because he liked it, and because he enjoyed the work, although it also occurred to him that he could submit translation, prefaced with a study of the Archimboldi oeuvre, as his thesis, and --- why not? --- as the foundation of his future dissertation.

He completed the final draft of the translation in 1984, and a Paris publishing house, after some inconclusive and contradictory readings, accepted it and published Archimboldi. Though the novel seemed destined from the start not to sell more than a thousand copies, the first printing of three thousand was exhausted after a couple of contradictory, positive, even effusive reviews, opening the door for the second, third, and fourth printings.

By then Pelletier had read fifteen books by the German writer, translated two others, and was regarded almost universally as the preeminent authority on Benno von Archimboldi across the length and breadth of France.

# by anglophile | 2016-02-14 23:38 | Narrative Gems | Comments(0)
2016年 02月 12日
Narrative Gems 002: Stuart Dybek, 'Pet Milk'
The train was braking a little from express speed, as it did each time it passed a local station. I could see blurred faces on the long wooden platform watching us pass --- businessmen glancing up from folded newspapers, women clutching purses and shopping bags. I could see the expression on each face, momentarily arrested, as we flashed by. A high school kid in shirt sleeves, maybe sixteen, with books tucked under one arm and a cigarette in his mouth, caught sight of us, and in the instant before he disappeared he grinned and started to wave. Then he was gone, and I turned from the window, back to Kate, forgetting everything --– the passing stations, the glowing late sky, even the sense of missing her –-- but that arrested wave stayed with me. It was as if I were standing on that platform, with my schoolbooks and a smoke, on one of those endlessly accumulated afternoons after school when I stood almost outside of time simply waiting for a train, and I thought how much I’d have loved seeing someone like us streaming by.

# by anglophile | 2016-02-12 23:38 | Narrative Gems | Comments(0)
2016年 02月 11日
昨日は夕食後、定例の用事ついでにブックオフへ。5冊買ったが、珍しく108円の本はなかった。ジョージ・エリオット『世界文学全集 30・31 ミドルマーチⅠ・Ⅱ』(講談社)は2冊で400円。講談社文芸文庫で四分冊にもなっていた。でもこれ読むのかなあと買ったあとで思う。後藤明生『小説の快楽』(講談社)は760円。最晩年のエッセイ集。92年から97年までの群像新人賞の選評が収められていて、もちろん94年の受賞作「アメリカの夜」のも載っている。懐かしい。辞書コーナーで見つけた中村明『日本の作家 名表現辞典』(岩波書店)はお買い得の500円。岩波からはこれの前に『日本語 語感の辞典』というユニークなのも出ていて、ほんとはそっちが本命なんだけど、ま、いいや。そして5冊目が、ずっとほしいなあと指をくわえて見ているだけだった2008年ハンマースホイ展の図録『ヴィルヘルム・ハンマースホイ 静かなる詩情』(日本経済新聞社)だ。ソフトカバーだと思っていたら、ハードカバーなのだな。そんなことより、これがまさかの500円! 帰ってきてからしばらく見惚れてしまった。値札シールにではなく、絵に。

# by anglophile | 2016-02-11 10:27 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 02月 07日

# by anglophile | 2016-02-07 20:38 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 02月 05日
青豆にプルーストを勧めていた柳屋敷用心棒の田丸。今度は別の場面で、マドレーヌを届けようなどと云っていて、それがなんかよかったな。そういえば、しばらくマドレーヌを食べてない。その代わりというわけではなかったが、家に焼き芋が一本あったので、夕食後に食べようと思ってパカッと割ったら中が半分腐っていた。大変残念だったので、ブックオフに行って穴埋めすることにした。安西水丸『安西水丸の二本立て映画館 前篇』(朝日文庫)と連城三紀彦『戻り川心中』(ハルキ文庫)を買う。見つかりそうで見つからなかったハルキ文庫版『戻り川心中』がうれしい収穫。今手に入るのは光文社文庫版だが、ハルキ文庫版にはさらに「菊の塵」、「花緋文字」、「夕萩心中」の三編も収められていて、いわゆる「花葬シリーズ」の完全収録版ということになる。だからちょっとだけ分厚くなっているのがいいんだよなあ。

# by anglophile | 2016-02-05 23:15 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 02月 04日
注文していたボラーニョの『通話』(白水社)が届いた。無論、改訳版である。これは出たときに書店では見つけられなかった一冊。その後も目にすることはなく、ここらでとりあえず買っておこうと思って、なじみの本屋に注文しておいたのだ。最初の数編は英訳版の短編集で読んだ。ボラーニョと言えば、5年前に買ったエッセイ集 Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003 が行方不明。段ボールのどれかに入っているはずなんだが見つからない、見つけられない。途方に暮れたのでブックオフに行こうかと思ったが今日はやめた。

# by anglophile | 2016-02-04 23:38 | 読書 | Comments(0)
2016年 02月 03日
like a lonely boulder at the bottom of the sea
予想外の長丁場となっている1Q84リーディングマラソン。ここ最近はスーパースローペースだったが、やっとBOOK3も半ばをすぎた。残り150ページほど。いよいよ終わりらしきものがぼんやりと見えてきて、長編読了間近にしか味わえないあの独特の感覚を味わっている。でも、夕食後、用事ついでにブックオフに行ってしまいました。連城三紀彦『夜よ鼠たちのために』(宝島社文庫)、泡坂妻夫『花嫁のさけび』(ハルキ文庫)、日下三蔵編『怪奇探偵小説名作選(5)橘外男集 逗子物語』(ちくま文庫)を324円で買う。

# by anglophile | 2016-02-03 23:52 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 02月 01日
Narrative Gems 001: Marcel Proust, 'Swann's Way'
The next day being Sunday, with no need to be up and stirring before high mass, if it was a moonlight night and warm, then, instead of taking us home at once, my father, in his thirst for personal distinction, would lead us on a long walk round by the Calvary, which my mother's utter incapacity for taking her bearings, or even for knowing which road she might be on, made her regard as a triumph of his strategic genius. Sometimes we would go as far as the viaduct, which began to stride on its long legs of stone at the railway station, and to me typified all the wretchedness of exile beyond the last outposts of civilisation, because every year, as we came down from Paris, we would be warned to take special care, when we got to Combray, not to miss the station, to be ready before the train stopped, since it would start again in two minutes and proceed across the viaduct, out of the lands of Christendom, of which Combray, to me, represented the farthest limit. We would return by the Boulevard de la Gare, which contained the most attractive villas in the town. In each of their gardens the moonlight, copying the art of Hubert Robert, had scattered its broken staircases of white marble, its fountains of water and gates temptingly ajar. Its beams had swept away the telegraph office. All that was left of it was a column, half shattered, but preserving the beauty of a ruin which endures for all time. I would by now be dragging my weary limbs, and ready to drop with sleep; the balmy scent of the lime-trees seemed a consolation which I could obtain only at the price of great suffering and exhaustion, and not worthy of the effort. From gates far apart the watchdogs, awakened by our steps in the silence, would set up an antiphonal barking, as I still hear them bark, at times, in the evenings, and it is in their custody (when the public gardens of Combray were constructed on its site) that the Boulevard de la Gare must have taken refuge, for wherever I may be, as soon as they begin their alternate challenge and acceptance, I can see it again with all its lime-trees, and its pavement glistening beneath the moon.

Suddenly my father would bring us to a standstill and ask my mother --- 'Where are we?' Utterly worn out by the walk but still proud of her husband, she would lovingly confess that she had not the least idea. He would shrug his shoulders and laugh. And then, as though it had slipped, with his latchkey, from his waistcoat pocket, he would point out to us, where it stood before our eyes, the back-gate of our own garden, which had come, hand-in-hand with the familiar corner of the Rue du Saint-Esprit, to await us, to greet us at the end of our wanderings over paths unknown. My mother would murmur admiringly, 'You really are wonderful'! And from that instant I had not to take another step; the ground moved forward under my feet in that garden where, for so long, my actions had ceased to require any control, or even attention, from my will. Custom came to take me in her arms, carried me all the way up to my bed, and laid me down there like a little child.

# by anglophile | 2016-02-01 22:07 | Narrative Gems | Comments(0)
2016年 01月 31日

# by anglophile | 2016-01-31 21:21 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 01月 30日
昨日は仕事の予定を我田引水気味にやりくりし、高岡のブックオフセール&福野アミューの古本市という古本ダブルヘッダーに、二兎追う者十兎を得るくらいの勢いとパッションで駆けつけた。ブックオフの方は久々の「文庫2冊で500円&単行本2冊で1200円」というやつ。いつぞやのときほどの大収穫はなかったが、それなりの本は買えたので足を運んだ甲斐はあったかな。高岡の2店舗では、ジュノ・ディアス『こうしてお前は彼女にフラれる』(新潮クレスト・ブックス)、井上ひさし『笑劇全集 完全版』(河出書房新社)、ジャン・ジュネ『ブレストの乱暴者』(河出文庫)、水上勉『壺坂幻想』(講談社文芸文庫)、小川国夫『流域』(集英社文庫)を1808円で買った。ディアスは『オスカー・ワオ』が積ん読である。『壺坂幻想』は名作「寺泊」と同時期の短編集らしい。水上勉の世界にときどき浸ってみたくなるのは、北陸に住んでいるからかもしれない。小川国夫の文庫だけ108円。こういう集英社文庫は無視するのがむずかしい。解説を藤枝静男が書いている。


# by anglophile | 2016-01-30 23:05 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 01月 27日
夕食後、外出する用事があったので、もれなくブックオフにも寄った。正月にもらった10%オフ券を使い6冊購入する。黒田三郎『詩集 小さなユリと』(夏葉社)180円、巽昌章『論理の蜘蛛の巣の中で』(講談社)180円、日下三蔵編『乱歩の幻影』(ちくま文庫)97円、L・リーフェンシュタール『回想(上)』(文春文庫)97円、マーガレット・ミラー『眼の壁』(小学館文庫)97円、森英俊編『ミステリー作家事典』(光文社文庫)97円を買う。夏葉社の黒田三郎の詩集があったのでびっくり。誰が売ったのだろう。荻原魚雷さんの書いた折り込み冊子が挟まっていた。

# by anglophile | 2016-01-27 23:19 | 古本 | Comments(2)
2016年 01月 25日

# by anglophile | 2016-01-25 23:17 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 01月 23日
何の前触れもなく妻が「もう青豆は妊娠したか?」などという要らぬ情報をリークしてくるので一時ブックオフに避難する。村上春樹訳『愛蔵版 グレート・ギャツビー』(中央公論新社)とトムヤンティ『メナムの残照』(角川文庫)を216円で買う。ギャツビーの愛蔵版は函入りで小冊子が付いていて豪華だ。これが108円とはうれしいな。ハルキ日和が続いているので、今なら読めるかもしれない。

# by anglophile | 2016-01-23 23:48 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 01月 21日

# by anglophile | 2016-01-21 23:10 | 古本 | Comments(0)
2016年 01月 20日

# by anglophile | 2016-01-20 19:45 | 古本 | Comments(0)