Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jean Frémon

A nice review in the new issue of Eileen Tabios's Galatea Resurrects of Jean Frémon's Gloire des formes précédé de Le double corps des images (P.O.L., 2005) by Barry Schwabsky (note to self: Barry Schwabsky reads French; another note: I'm not sure the title is correct; it appears as simply Gloire des formes at P.O.L.). What I also liked: that a review of a non-translated book appears so nonchalantly amid reviews of English-language books, even though the accents (on say, Frémon) come and go.

Perhaps I imagine too much, but this review also seems to enclose themes of translations within translations: Fremon's double-identity as art director (perhaps that would be a triple-identity?) and writer (or another triple as poet and novelist), translating between the two worlds (I was going to say mediums, but the art and literary worlds are truly that). From this selection of Frémon's writings on art, Schwabsky draws only one quote (both in the original French, but also translated into English), but what a quote! It could also be applied to translation:

“On appelle témoin le morceau de bois que les coureurs de relais se passent de main en main. L’histoire de la peinture est peut-être une course relais dans laquelle le témoin est un secret.”

"Témoin is the name of that piece of wood that the runners in a relay race pass from hand to hand. The history of painting is perhaps a relay race in which the témoin is a secret.”

Substitute "translation" for "painting" and see what happens.

Happy thanksgiving!


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