Sphinx

Written by Anne Garréta; Emma Ramadan (Translator)
Written by Anne Garréta
Translated by Emma Ramadan

Deep Vellum Publishing, April 2015.

Sphinx is the debut novel, originally published in 1986, of the inventive French author Anne Garréta, one of the few female members of OuLiPo, the influential and exclusive French experimental literary group whose mission is to create literature based on mathematical and linguistic restraints, and whose ranks include Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, and Raymond Queneau, among others. Sphinx is a remarkable work of literary ingenuity: a beautiful and complex love story between two characters, the narrator, “I,” and A., written completely without any gendered pronouns or gender markers referring to the main characters, all the more difficult in the strict gender requirements of the French language. Sphinx is Garréta’s first novel to appear in English.

Anne Garréta will participate to a two-day conference untitled "Feminism's Abject Selves: Beauvoir, Leduc, Wittig", on April 17-18, 2015 at the Maison Française of Columbia University.

About the author

Anne F. Garréta is the first member of the Oulipo to be born after the founding of the Oulipo. A normalienne (graduate of France’s prestigious École normale supérieure) and lecturer at the University of Rennes II since 1995, Anne F. Garréta was co-opted into the Oulipo in April 2000. She also teaches at Duke University as a Research Professor of Literature and Romance Studies. Her first novel, Sphinx, hailed by critics, was published by Grasset in 1986. Her second novel, Ciels liquides (Grasset, 1990), told the fate of a character losing the use of language. In La Décomposition (Grasset, 1999), a serial killer methodically murdered characters from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. She met Oulipian Jacques Roubaud in Vienna in 1993, and was invited to present her work at an Oulipo seminar in March 1994 and again in May 2000, which led to her joining the Oulipo. She won France’s prestigious Prix Médicis in 2002, awarded each year to an author whose “fame does not yet match their talent” (she is the second Oulipian to win the award–Georges Perec won in 1978), for her latest book, Pas un jour (Grasset, 2002).

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