Violet Blood of the Amethyst

Written by Louis Calaferte | Translated by John Taylor | June 2013
Violet Blood of the Amethyst
(Chelsea Editions, June 2013)

Le Sang violet de l'améthyste, published posthumously in 1998, exemplifies the rich and extremely diverse work of Louis Calaferte, one of the most original and controversial writers of 20th-century France. Here, in seemingly random order, are poems, memories, philosophical speculations, quotations, addresses to the reader, erotic descriptions, alchemical concepts, childhood scenes and, most surprisingly, short monologues of Polyphemus, the cyclops of Homeric legend. The settings shift between London and Venice, the time from the Middle Ages to the present. In the introduction to his translation, John Taylor compares this stream to the unstoppable thoughts of insomnia, or to the flow of consciousness that runs in our heads every day. Bilingual French and English.

LOUIS CALAFERTE (1928-1994) was one of the most prolific and controversial French writers of the twentieth century. A Christian anarchist, fiercely independent and aloof, he nevertheless won the Grand Prix National des Lettres. His ninety published titles include forty collections of poetry, a half-dozen volumes of plays, a half-dozen books of essays, a series of sexually explicit novels, such as Requiem des innocents (1952), Septentrion (1963) and La Mécanique des femmes (1992), a series of recorded interviews and sixteen books of carnets or notebooks. His massive work exhibits an unrestrained freedom, a disdain for social convention, a love of women, a childlike wonder, an enthusiasm for art and literature and a belief in life as it is lived.

JOHN TAYLOR is the author of the three-volume Paths to Contemporary French Literature and Into the Heart of European Poetry - all four books published by Transaction Press. He has also written seven books of stories, short prose and poetry, notably The Apocalypse Tapestries (Xenos Books), Now the Summer Came to Pass (Xenos Books), and If Night Is Falling (Bitter Oleander Press). He writes the "Poetry Today" column in the Antioch Review and contributes regularly to the Times Literary Supplement. For Chelsea Editions, he has recently translated And, Nonetheless, a large collection of poetry and prose by Philippe Jaccottet, and The Straw Sandals, a similarly large book of poetry and reflections by Pierre-Albert Jourdan.

More info

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

Never Catch a Cold

The Cold is a strange animal that has mysteriously survived modern times... We know because we have often been forced to stay in bed with a cold for a couple days. Reprint of a cult children's book where André François imagines a universe full of puns and playfulness.
new titles

La Boutique Obscure

In La Boutique Obscure Perec once again revolutionized literary form, creating the world’s first “nocturnal autobiography.” From 1968 until 1972 — the period when he wrote his most well-known works — the beloved French stylist recorded his dreams.
new titles

The Map and the Territory

The most celebrated and controversial French novelist of our time now delivers his magnum opus—about art and money, love and friendship and death, fathers and sons.