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The spoken word and the written word in Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies par Catherine Pesso-Miquel, publié le 16/10/2009
This article analyses the construction of voices in Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies, in which the paradoxical relationship between printed signs on a page and phonemes uttered by human bodies is fore-grounded. Auster revels in creating lively dialogues that are carefully inscribed within a particular voice through the use of didascalia, but he also celebrates the physicality and euphony of a narrative voice which navigates between elegiac lyricism and sharp-witted humour. The Brooklyn Follies, like all Auster’s books, is a book about books, but this one is also a book about tales and story-telling, about speech and silence, and the very American tradition of tall tales.
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The "mechanics of reality": Paul Auster speaks about his work and inspiration par Paul Auster, Jocelyn Dupont, publié le 15/01/2009
A l'occasion du passage de Paul Auster à Lyon, la Villa Gillet a organisé une rencontre entre l'auteur des Brooklyn Follies et plusieurs centaines de lycéens étudiant cette oeuvre pour leur bac d'anglais. La première partie de l'entretien a été menée par Jocelyn Dupont, puis, dans la seconde partie, les lycéens ont pu poser eux-mêmes leurs questions à Paul Auster.
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What Is Translation For? par Keith Gessen, publié le 19/11/2013
What is the place of the writer in the literary field of the home country? What contribution can this writer make to the literary field of the target or host country? It's important to understand that the answers to these questions will often be different: a writer can be a marginal figure in his home country and become a vital figure in another country. More often, of course, the reverse is true.
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Kate O'Riordan: Visions of Ireland - A writer's view par Kate O'Riordan, publié le 17/09/2013
A Londoner by adoption, Kate O’Riordan grew up in the small city of Bantry on the west coast of Ireland. With Le Garçon dans la lune, published in 2008 and Pierres de mémoire, in 2009, O’Riordan signed two new remarkable opuses in which she questions family relationships. A novelist and short-story writer, Kate O’Riordan also writes for the cinema and continues to confirm her legitimate place among Irish authors who count. She came to the Villa Gillet to take part in a discussion on 'Ireland by Irish writers'.
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Are You Going to Write That in Your Book? par Siddhartha Deb, publié le 03/12/2013
Born in north-eastern India in 1970, Siddhartha Deb is the recipient of grants from the Society of Authors in the UK and has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies at Harvard University. His latest book, a work of narrative nonfiction, ((The Beautiful and the Damned)), was a finalist for the Orwell Prize in the UK and the winner of the PEN Open award in the United States. His journalism, essays, and reviews have appeared in Harpers, The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times, Bookforum, The Daily Telegraph, The Nation, n+1, and The Times Literary Supplement.
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In Praise of Babel par Robyn Creswell, publié le 22/11/2013
Like Jewish and Christian commentators, Muslim exegetes understood the Babel story to be a parable of how mankind’s hubris, in the form of a desire for knowledge or an attempt to reach the heavens, leads to divine punishment. The subsequent confusion of human idioms and scattering of peoples is a second fall from grace, an expulsion from the paradise of monolingualism. Henceforth, translation becomes at once necessary and impossible—impossible in the sense that no translation could ever match the transparency of the original Ur-Sprache. So the Islamic tradition, like the Judaic one in particular, comes to bear a tremendous nostalgia for the lost language of Eden.
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Translation as Muse: Muse as Teacher par Mary Jo Bang, publié le 15/11/2013
how can reading not add to one’s experience, and in turn influence a person’s writing? And wouldn’t translation especially affect the brain, since translation involves the closest sort of reading, one where the mind simultaneously reads for meaning and tries to access the equivalent word or expression in another language. Wouldn’t reading the word “pelle” in Italian similarly send a message to the brain to access the synaptic record of all past sensory experience having to do with leather: black jacket, kid gloves, car seat, red belt with an alligator buckle, toy-gun holster, shoe shop. Wouldn’t the experiential knowledge of how those various leathers felt be carried along as the translator toggled between two different linguistic systems? And of course each of those leather memories would be connected to other associational memories, some quite rich in subjectivity.
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Goldie Goldbloom: Portraits and Faces - Appearance and Disfigurement par Goldie Goldbloom, publié le 27/09/2013
Chekhov is well known for his impartial observations of his characters and for his grasp of “realism”. When I first read his description of the lady with the little dog, I discovered that she is “a fair-haired young lady of medium height, wearing a beret.” I was puzzled. This less than enthusiastic description of the woman Gurov will come to love leaves out many basic details such as the colour of Anna Sergeyevna’s eyes and whether she has an attractive figure. I wondered why Chekhov departs from the wordier earlier traditions of written portraiture, and how his simple sketch of Anna illustrated the “realism” for which he is known.
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Hugo Hamilton on memory and fiction par Hugo Hamilton, publié le 24/06/2013
It’s a stormy night in Dublin. My father comes into the bedroom to close the window. But the old sash window is rotten. As he tries pull it down, the wooden frame comes apart in his hands like a piece of fruit cake. The glass is smashed. So my father has to find a way to cover over the gaps. He looks around and picks up the nearest thing at hand. In the corner of the room there is a map of the world, a big rolled up school atlas which he’s kept from the time he was a schoolteacher. He rolls it out and nails the atlas up against the window frame. It’s a temporary solution, he says. Go to sleep. So that’s how I fall asleep, with the wind blowing across the world, flapping at the oceans and the continents. The world is there in the morning with the sun coming through.
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The Speckled People - a conversation with Hugo Hamilton par Hugo Hamilton, Kouadio N'Duessan, publié le 10/06/2013
Somebody mentioned the word confusion. That is probably the word that describes my childhood most clearly. It was a confusion of languages, confusion between the inside of the house and the outside of the house, confusion between my father’s idealism and my mother’s memories. There’s always been confusion in my life.
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Kate Colquhoun on the blurred boundaries between fiction and non-fiction par Kate Colquhoun, publié le 11/09/2012
Truman Capote called his 1966 book In Cold Blood the first non-fiction novel. Since then, the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction have become increasingly blurred. Are these false definitions? At least we could say that novelists are able to articulate the internal worlds – the thoughts and feelings – of their characters while non-fiction relies entirely on evidence.
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Nick Flynn on the misfit and the outcast par Nick Flynn, publié le 27/08/2012
I wrote a memoir a few years ago (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City), which, in part, chronicled the five or six years my father spent living on the streets in Boston. I’d been a case-worker with the homeless for three years before he got himself evicted from his marginal living situation, ran out of options (he slept in his taxi, on friend’s couches) and eventually ended up at the shelter where I worked. I hadn’t grown up with him, I hadn’t met him, really, before he came into the shelter—that this is where I got to know him is in the Shakespearian realm of the unlikely coincidence that sets the play in motion (think Hamlet encountering his father’s ghost).
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Declaration of Disinclinations par Lynne Tillman, publié le 11/12/2012
I like the theoretical ideal of neutrality, of non-hierarchical thinking. I’d like to be a writer, a person, but I am not. None of this naming is my choice. I’m a woman, “still” or I’m “only a woman.” “A good, bad woman, a silly, frivolous woman, an intelligent woman, a sweet woman, a harridan, bitch, whore, a fishmonger, gossipy woman. A woman writer.” What is “a woman writer”? Does “woman” cancel or negate “writer”? Create a different form of writer? Or does “woman” as an adjective utterly change the noun “writer”? “Man writer”? Not used. “Male writer,” rarely employed. Are there “man books” being read in “man caves?” OK, I declare: I’m a woman who writes, a person who writes. But how am I read?
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"Language is a movement between scattered forms": Interview with Amitava Kumar par Amitava Kumar, Natacha Lasorak, publié le 25/10/2019
Amitava Kumar is an Indian writer and journalist who teaches literature at Vassar College. In this interview, he talks about his collection of essays Away: The Indian Writer as an Expatriate (2004) and his novel Immigrant, Montana (2017), and focuses on the notion of "home", immigration, the caste system and the political situation in India.
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Interview with Will Self par Will Self , Beth Harper , David Belaga , publié le 23/06/2009
On 29th May 2009, the London-based writer Will Self came to Lyon to take part in the Villa Gillet's "Assises Internationales du Roman". He was to give a talk on his perspectives on the works of the influential French writer, Louis Ferdinand Céline, but before he did so I managed to catch up with him to ask a few questions about his interests, influences and views on modern fiction.
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"Ideas don't exist, except within emotions": Interview with Joshua Cohen par Joshua Cohen, Benjamin Ferguson, publié le 20/12/2019
Joshua Cohen is an American writer and literary critic, whose first collection of essays, ATTENTION: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction (2019) explores the notion of attention in today's society. In this interview, Joshua Cohen talks about writing for a global readership, being a novelist in the age of non-fiction, the effects of #MeToo on literary production and the invention of facts.
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Adelle Waldman: L’identité troublée par Adelle Waldman, publié le 15/09/2015
In reporter and columnist Adelle Waldman’s first, highly touted novel, La Vie amoureuse de Nathaniel P., the author describes with subtlety and irony the meanderings of Nate Piven, a popular writer moving up in the elite literary circles of Brooklyn. He is also a young lover drunk with his success with women. In this astute novel of manners, Waldman brilliantly paints the portrait of a modern, imperfect and narcissistic male with a troubled love life.
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Some thoughts on silence and the contemporary “investigative memoir” par Marco Roth, publié le 06/12/2012
Critics and readers, at least in the United States, seem to be slower to recognize the investigative memoir as a narrative mode deserving of attention as such. The American memoir comes burdened with a history of survivor’s tales and evangelical Protestant redemption stories: the writer is usually delivered from bondage: slavery or captivity in the 19th century, Communism, Nazi Europe, or “substance abuse” in the 20th, and into freedom or the light of truth. THE END. Testifying, in both legal and religious senses, is important. Important too is the sense that the author can be written into a social order, given a normal or productive life...
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Paul Auster: A General Introduction par Jocelyn Dupont, publié le 13/02/2009
This document provides a short general overview of Paul Auster’s work. After a brief discussion of Auster’s texts positioning in the literary heritage, it tackles the place and role of the writer in an often alienating environment. It then deals with the representation of the city in Auster’s work, notably Brooklyn, before concluding on the gift for storytelling that so characterizes Paul Auster’s production.
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Some Thoughts About Memory, Identity, and the False Family Narrative par Mira Bartók, publié le 15/01/2013
Identity and family legacy are partially formed by the family “memory narrative”—a family member, usually our mother or father, tells us stories about what happened before we were born or when we were too young to remember momentous events. But what happens when that narrator in the family is mentally ill, or a compulsive liar? In my case, my schizophrenic mother was the unreliable narrator of our family history. And my alcoholic father, a gifted writer who left when I was four, told my mother’s family grandiose lies about his own past.
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Conscious and Unconscious Narrative Literature, Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience par Siri Hustvedt, Lionel Naccache, publié le 20/01/2012
Nous passons une grande partie de notre vie à élaborer des fictions, à nous raconter des histoires et à en raconter aux autres. La narration est profondément enracinée dans l'esprit humain, à un niveau à la fois conscient et inconscient. Produire une narration est une façon de donner du sens à l'expérience factuelle. Mais les fictions créées par le cerveau humain et celles que les romanciers imaginent sont-elles de même nature ? L'écrivain américain Siri Hustvedt et le neurobiologiste français Lionel Naccache exprimeront leurs points de vue originaux, pénétrants et empathiques sur cette question. We all spend our time constructing fictions, telling stories to ourselves and to others. Narration is deeply rooted in the human mind, at a conscious and unconscious level. Producing a narrative is a way of giving meaning to factual experience. Are the fictions created by the human brain and those imagined by novelists of the same nature? American writer Siri Hustvedt and French neurobiologist Lionel Naccache express their original, incisive and empathetic views on these questions.
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Joshua Cohen: W.I.K.I. par Joshua Cohen, publié le 20/12/2019
Every year, the English-speaking writers invited to the Assises Internationales du Roman write the definition of a word of their choice.
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Amitava Kumar: Immigritude par Amitava Kumar, publié le 25/10/2019
Every year, the English-speaking writers invited to the Assises Internationales du Roman write the definition of a word of their choice.
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Reconfigurations of space in Partition novels par Sandrine Soukaï, publié le 19/09/2019
This article examines two Indian novels Clear Light of Day (1980) by Anita Desai and The Shadow Lines (1988) by Amitav Ghosh along with Burnt Shadows (2009) by Anglo-Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie, books written about the Partition of India that accompanied independence in 1947. Partition led to violence on an enormous scale; the exact number of people who were killed has never been ascertained, and estimates vary between one and two million. Partition also caused massive displacements of population, estimated between 12 and 18 million. This paper examines the way in which space – national, familial and communal – was divided and then reshaped by and through Partition. After discussing the fractures, ruptures and uprooting brought about by this trauma, I will consider the way in which diasporic writers devise fictional maps of memory of the past that foster exchanges across geographical borders.
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Taiye Selasi: On Emotions par Taiye Selasi, publié le 31/08/2015
How do writers succeed in submerging us in situations so unlike our own lives? I would argue that, as a reader, I have yet to encounter a situation in literature "unlike" my life. The demographic details may differ: Charlotte is a spider, I am a human; Teju Cole's narrators are men, I am a woman; many of Toni Morrison's characters are mothers, I am not. The list of things that I am not is long: white, male, a parent, a soldier, Chinese-speaking, South American, a witness to any war.
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Morality (Adelle Waldman) par Adelle Waldman, publié le 26/08/2015
Two of my favorite authors, Jane Austen and George Eliot, are very concerned with characters’ moral lives. In “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.,” I look closely at how Nathaniel P. justifies his behavior to himself. Today, books or films about romantic relationships, or dating, are often seen as very light—mere amusements and escapes—but this is the area in life when most of us will reveal how we treat others: how kind we are to those we don’t (or no longer) love and how we respond when differences arise with those we do love. I wanted to write a book about relationships that was truthful without being escapist, and I wanted to look closely at how dating behavior reflects morality in the deepest sense.
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Nikolai Grozni: The Whispers of Music Lost par Nikolai Grozni, publié le 10/09/2014
“Only the words break the silence, all other sounds have ceased,” writes Beckett in his Texts for Nothing. Or does he sing it? If words were the only sounds, then a sentence would be the only melody. We might never understand which came first—the words or the melody. Perhaps the first humans knew how to sing long before they knew how to talk. In this Dionysian vision of antiquity, all mortals were originally musicians. Music was the only thing that mattered. People understood each other by inventing mimetic melodies and singing together in tune. They appeared, loved, suffered, worshipped the gods and died like opera singers on stage.
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Going Solo par Eric Klinenberg, publié le 19/02/2013
About five years ago I started working on a book that I planned to call ALONE IN AMERICA. My original idea was to write a book that would sound an alarm about a disturbing trend: the unprecedented rise of living alone. I was motivated by my belief that the rise of living alone is a profound social change – the greatest change of the past 60 years that we have failed to name or identify. Consider that, until the 1950s, not a single human society in the history of our species sustained large numbers of people living alone for long periods of time. Today, however, living alone is ubiquitous in affluent, open societies. In some nations, one-person households are now more common than nuclear families who share the same roof. Consider America. In 1950, only 22 percent of American adults were single, and only 9 percent of all households had just one occupant. Today, 49 percent of American adults are single, and 28 percent of all households have one, solitary resident.
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How Healing Are Books? par Pierre Zaoui, publié le 22/01/2013
The idea that novels, theater, or poetry often help us live, that they help us feel cleansed or feel stronger, more energized, more alive, or that they at least help us survive by giving us the boost we need to hang on a little longer, is not simply a constant topos of literature, be it western, eastern, or universal. It is an indisputable truth for those who make use of it, whether they write it, read it, comment on it, or transform it into a first-aid kid of maxim-prescriptions and citation-medicines to use as needed.
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Not Looking for Love par Chris Kraus, publié le 17/12/2012
As women, we are often identified through our choice of sexual partners. When an “attractive” woman has sex with an ugly man, it is a descent into “abjection.” But why? Clearly, it is because as women, we are still believed to attain most of our identities through sexuality. In the present assimilationist climate, any non-monogamous, non-relational sexual act is read as a symptom of emotional damage. Our culture persists in believing that sex holds the magic key to a person’s identity — which is, of course, wrong — and in behaving as if female writers are uniquely charged with upholding the sacred intimacy of the sexual act.
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The Words of the Flesh par Wendy Delorme, publié le 11/12/2012
There are people who write from the place that they have been assigned. Some of them with rage so as to get away from it; others, by contrast, who follow the path that has been mapped out for us. There are those who would rather stay on the margin of that space, away from the feminine, off-centered, but are then dragged back to it, kicking and screaming. Their words are women's words, words that are situated. The masculine remains the universal reference. Feminine words stay in the realm of the singular, indexed to the gender of who said them.
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Frederick Wiseman on Reality and film par Frederick Wiseman, publié le 03/09/2012
The provocative starting point sent to me for this debate states that "Artists and writers are vampires who feed on reality." I do not think this is any more true of artists and writers than it is of anybody whether they be doctor, lawyer, used car salesman, fishmonger, politician, farmer, priest, housewife or any of the other hundreds of thousands of jobs that exist.
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Nicholson Baker on his literary career and how he came to write about sex par Nicholson Baker, publié le 13/06/2012
I think the job of the novelist is to write about interesting things, including things that might not seem all that interesting at first glance--like, say, a lunch hour on an ordinary weekday – and to offer evidence that life is worth living. At least, that’s what I try to do – not always successfully. My first book was about a lunch hour – the second about sitting in a rocking chair holding a baby – the third about literary ambition. There was almost no sex in those three books. But I always wanted to be a pornographer – because after all sex is amazing and irrational and embarrassing and endlessly worth thinking about. My fourth book was called Vox, and it was about two strangers telling stories to each other on the phone. I decided to write it as one big sex scene, because if you’re going to do it, do it.
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Interview de Richard Russo - Assises Internationales du Roman 2011 par Richard Russo , Clifford Armion , publié le 30/08/2011
Richard Russo won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize with his novel Empire Falls. In May 2011, he took part in the fifth edition of the Assises Internationales du Roman, organised by the Villa Gillet and Le Monde. He was kind enough to grant us an interview at the Hotel Carlton in Lyon.
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Katherine Mansfield’s Short Stories: An Introduction par Emilie Walezak , publié le 28/06/2011
Katherine Mansfield wrote short stories exclusively and produced a large body of work though she died quite young from tuberculosis when she was 30. She is one the best representatives of modernist short story writing. Virginia Woolf herself admitted to Mansfield that she was jealous of her writing: "and then Morgan Foster said the Prelude and The Voyage Out were the best novels of their time, and I said damn Katherine! Why can't I be the only woman who knows how to write?"
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James Frey - Assises Internationales du Roman 2010 par James Frey, publié le 03/09/2010
James Frey was one of the guests of the Assises Internationales du Roman, organised by the Villa Gillet and Le Monde in Lyon. He introduced his novel Bright Shiny Morning and told the audience about his perception of Los Angeles and his conception of storytelling.
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