Frédéric Boyer / Walls and Bridges

October 17-23, 2013
Frédéric Boyer

Frédéric Boyer is the author of more than 30 books, (novels, essays, poetry, plays and translations).

For years, his works have oscillated between personal writings and the reinterpretation and translation of major ancient texts. He’s notably undertaken, with a number of contemporary writers (Olivier Cadiot, Jean Echenoz, Florence Delay, Jacques Roubaud, Marie NDiaye, Valère Novarina among others), a new translation of the bible, which was published by Bayard in 2001.

In 2010, his new translation of Richard II by W. Shakespeare (P.O.L, 2010), featuring Denis Podalydès and directed Jean-Baptiste Sastre, was presented at the Festival d'Avignon. It also brought about his debut as an actor. His first play Phèdre les oiseaux (P.O.L, 2012) was presented at the Théâtre de Lorient and at the Centre dramatique de Châteauvallon.

Boyer won the Prix du Livre inter in 1993 for his novel Des choses idiotes et douces, and the Prix Jules Janin de l'Académie française for his new translation of Confessions by Saint Augustin (Les Aveux, P.O.L, 2008). The English translation of Vaches (Cows) is forthcoming by Noemi Press.

Vaches, P.O.L, 2008Cows

Forthcoming translation: Noemi Press, 2013 (translated from Vaches, P.O.L, 2008 by Johanna Howard and Nick Bredie)

Cows is a lyrical and philosophical meditation on the nature, being, and ultimate slaughter of cows. What begins as a meditation on the pastoral ruminations of the beasts of the field moves inevitably to the acknowledgement of our complicity in their slaughter. In Vaches, Frédéric Boyer does not so much attempt to answer for the beasts as to capture the beauty and terror of their silence in the face of their annihilation. What will we do once we’ve succeeded in eradicating the cows? For Boyer, the line between the cows and ourselves is blurred: they provide a constant reminder, not only of our own mortality, greed, and selfishness, but of our responsibility as the builders of abattoirs, theirs and ours alike. While the critique which arises from these mediations pushes toward a more complicated vision of animal–human relations, it is also through this strange blurred perspective, written often in deceptively simple and direct language and slightly shifting point of view, that Boyer creates such a unique commentary on the post-human condition.

Proposed lectures (in French)
1-Lecture on La Chanson de Roland and more broadly on the relationship between contemporary writing and traditional works.

Example: a reading of Phèdre les oiseaux (translated by Cole Swensen) to be presented at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in May (

Please download and fill out the Walls & Bridges Application Form and send to Anne-Sophie Hermil and Mathilde Billaud

Dates already booked
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013: Walls and Bridges, New York
Monday, Oct. 21, 2013: Brown University, Providence

MORE IN books

An evening with Adonis, winner of the Pen/Nabokov Award

May 3, 2017 | 6:30pm
Albertine Books
972 Fifth Ave,
New York, NY

The Radical Act of Drawing A Life

May 6, 2017 | 4pm

Pen vs Sword: Satire vs the State

May 6, 2017 | 7pm
St. Josephs College
245 Clinton Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Sandrine Revel presents Glenn Gould: A Life Off Tempo

May 8, 2017 | 7:30
WORD Bookstore Jersey City
123 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07302