That is spendid news! I have some relatives in France who I always thought would love these books. Now they may read them in their native language. Thank you (and thanks to your publishing house) for making that possible. --Previous Message--
: Dear Pat,
: Thanks for the long message.
: I don't have time to go into it in detail,
: but I can answer it on a few points.
: I take great pleasure in translating
: Whittemore, but I'm doing it as a
: professional: the Quartet has been acquired
: by French publisher Robert Laffont, and
: editor Gerard Klein--who usually handles
: their SF line--has asked me to translate it.
: Le Codex du Sinai, aka Sinai Tapestry, has
: just been released, and the cover can be
: seen on this site.
: As for your musings on the character of Joe
: O'Sullivan Beare, I think they are right on
: target. I think the Quartet, among other
: things, charts a process of what John Clute
: calls "thinning", ie the passing
: of the legends (Strongbow, Menelik Ziwar,
: Yakouba...) and the dawning of a more
: prosaic world. See Joe's line in Jerusalem
: Poker, where he wishes he had been one of
: these characters.
: This is a very complex and very moving
: theme, with a lot of resonance in
: literature. And Whittemore's work manages to
: be more than that, too.
: About Borges: his work contains multitudes.
: Back to deadline-fighting,
: --Previous Message--
: M. BREQUE,
: Are you translating the Quartet for a new
: French edition? Was there ever a French
: edition? Even if you're doing it for
: pleasure I applaud your project. I agree
: with you that the Quartet needs some serious
: looking into by the critics. Regarding your
: observation about the shadows of the past
: the reviewer for Harpers Magazine compared
: it to the winding down of a top. I agree up
: to a point. I think the kind of magic that
: Whittemore works is that even as the
: characters become less "fantastic"
: as we go from Strongbow to Yossi these
: people are no less extraordinary for the
: things they do. Like David Jerusalem in
: Borges' Deutsches Requiem (which is really,
: for me, the most terrifying thing I've ever
: read)they become hymns to every minutia of
: existence. That's one of the reasons why i
: think Joe is such a wonderful and unique
: character. You can really kind of chart this
: progression through him in his three books.
: In the beginning he was just as mythic as
: Wallenstein or Zawir but as we get to Nile
: Shadows he's become quieter. He's learnt in
: his capacity as medicine man to listen. And
: then at the end of the book he's just
: "a small man." And then in the
: last book he's there just in passing and
: only once (I was a little pissed actually,
: being such a joe fan and all, that Bell
: never even spoke of him. But that's just my
: one gripe) but, and here is where I think
: the end becomes really cool, we've kind of
: adopted the Joe of Nile Shadow's capacity to
: listen. We've become a little more sensitive
: to life. We've gotten more involved in
: regular, earthy, mundane things. I think
: that's just a brilliant move. The only other
: author I can think of who kind of turns
: greatness on it's ear like this is Tolstoy.
: there's probably others but Tolstoy sounds
: just right. Here's the other thing though...
: I've really gotten to love that special kind
: of enjoyment of reading someone whose an
: obvious creative genius and yet is ignored
: by and large by the lit. establishment. And
: by that I mean the academic establishment.
: For my own part I never much cared for the
: folk that I've known professors to lap up
: like John Barth, Vladimir Nabokov and David
: Foster Wallace...yuk! (no offense, I hope,
: to any fans of these authors) Up there with
: Whittemore I also think Mervyn Peake and
: Richard Brautigan have yet to recieve their
: deserved accolades as being some of the best
: wizards of the language in the last century.
: And yet...and yet... what if they did?... I
: don't know. Maybe I just don't want to
: share. Time for me to grow up.
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That is spendid news! I have some relatives in France who I always thought would love these books. Now they may read them in their native language. Thank you (and thanks to your publishing house) for making that possible.