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Week in Review: May 25, 2018

by Shannon Sullivan

May 68: A Reading List

While reflecting on the protests of May 1968 this month, we started compiling titles, as is our habit. Then we figured we might as well just create a reading list for everyone-- that’s what the book department is for, right? We’ve included works ranging from firsthand accounts, sociological analyses, and novels based on the events; including Leslie Kaplan’s iconic L’Excès-l’usine, which tells of her experience in a factory in 1968; Julian Bourg’s From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and French Thought, examining the paradigm shift in French thought in the decade following May 68; and Mitchell Abidor’s May Made Me, which presents an oral history of the protests from those who participated in them. These are just some of the highlights-- after all, we can’t give away all of the good stuff here! Check out the full list, and happy reading!

French Comics in NOLA

The French Comics Association has announced their tour of acclaimed francophone graphic novelists, coming to New Orleans in June for this year’s American Library Association annual conference! Featured guests include Barroux, whose Alpha: Abidjan to Paris (Bellevue Literary Press) gives a human face to today’s refugee crisis; Aurélie Neyret, illustrator of Cici’s Journal (First Second), which follows the adventures of writer-in-training Cici; Benjamin Reiss, whose Japanese adventures inspired Super Tokyoland (IDW Publishing); illustrator Julie Rocheleau, whose work on About Betty’s Boob (Archaia) makes it an inspiring and comedic tale of loss; and last but not least… you? For the full schedule of events, see here.

Simone de Beauvoir joins the Pléiade

Among the most recent additions to the iconic Pléiade are two volumes of the work of feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, celebrated author of 1949’s The Second Sex and Goncourt-winning 1954 novel The Mandarins. French publishing house Gallimard chose to include five of de Beauvoir’s memoirs, focusing on her autobiographical chronicles rather than her best-known works. One of the included memoirs is Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre, a reflection on the last years of her lover’s life. The two are finally reunited in the collection, Sartre’s works having been part of the canon since 1982. Read more about the addition here.

Barbara Cassin elected to the Académie française

May has turned out to be quite the month for women philosophers! Barbara Cassin, a philosopher, philologist, and Hellenist who specializes in language and translation, was elected to the Académie française earlier this month. She will join 4 other women who are currently members of the Académie, making a total of 9 women members since its founding in 1635. Several of her works have been published in the United States, including  Dictionary of Untranslatables (Princeton University Press), Google Me: One-Click Democracy (Fordham University Press), translated by Michael Syrotinski, and Sophistical Practice: Toward a Consistent Relativism (Fordham University Press).

Talking Punk Rock with Virginie Despentes

Words without Borders interviewed author Virginie Despentes last week, whose Vernon Subutex 1 was one of the shortlisted titlesfor this year’s Man Booker International Prize. The discussion ranged from writing as a vocation, building a character by starting with their job, and being seduced by Gone with the Wind. Vernon Subutex 1, translated by Frank Wynne and coming out in the United States from Farrar, Straus and Giroux later this year, tells the story of the titular character, a former proprietor of the Bastille’s infamous Revolver music shop who is now penniless on the streets of Paris, as he uses the final trick up his sleeve. Despentes is one of only six Francophone authors to have been shortlisted in the history of the prize.

Vuillard’s creative, interpretive take on history

Éric Vuillard’s Prix Goncourt-winning work, The Order of the Day, was reviewed a few days ago in the Complete Review. The review highlighted the way the author’s voice colors the narrative, engaging the reader more than your traditional history book. The book focuses on two decisive events: the February 20, 1933 meeting between Hitler and twenty-four leading German industrialists, leading to large donations to the Nazi Party’s election campaign, and the Anschluss of Austria on March 12, 1938. Translated by Mark Polizzotti, The Order of the Day will be available in the United States from Other Press on September 25, 2018; Vuillard himself will be on tour in the United States this October.

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