2015 Hemingway Grant Winners

December 29, 2015 | By FRENCH CULTURE BOOKS

We are proud to announce the 2015 Hemingway Grant recipients!


HEMINGWAY GRANT

The program, launched in the 1990’s, has supported a steady number of publications in the U.S. For 2015, 16 titles were selected for a Hemingway Grant. The beneficiaries form a wide collection of remarkable books on art, poetry, science, and great literary figures. The submissions vary considerably in genre and style from art book to graphic novel; from literary fiction and philosophy to political essay.


La Langue Maternelle, by Vassilis Alexakis, Editions Stock, 2007

To be translated by Robert G. Margolis and published by Autumn Hill Books, spring 2016.

Mother Tongue tells the story of Pavlos Nicolaïdis, a Greek political cartoonist residing in Paris, who returns to Greece after 20 years abroad. Upon returning “home,” Nicolaïdis must face the complications created by his double cultural allegiance to France and Greece. Nicolaïdis chances upon the enigmatic symbol of the Delphic Epsilon and is fascinated by it; he embarks on an intellectual and historical journey centered on the letter "E." Tahar Ben Jelloun calls Mother Tongue “fascinating as a metaphysical quest” and praises Alexakis for “turning a letter into an enigma full of its own silences that serves as an oracle worthy of the major classical texts.”


La Résistance du sensible: Merleau-Ponty, critique de la transparence, by Emmanuel Alloa, Editions Kimé, 2008

To be translated by Jane Marie Todd and published by Fordham University Press, October 2016.

The Resistance of the Sensible: An Introduction to Merleau-Ponty deals with the three main topics in Merleau-Ponty’s work, which also correspond to three periods: perception (up to 1945), language (1945-52), and the ontology of the visible (1952-61). The book follows through these periods what the author terms Merleau-Ponty's "critique of transparency." According to professor of philosophy Véronique Foti, “This is an outstanding work that richly deserves translation into English … Alloa’s scholarship is impeccable. He displays not only an in-depth familiarity with the entire range of Merleau-Ponty's texts and with the secondary literature in several languages, but he is equally at home in the history of philosophy, in linguistics, and in the thought of existentialist and (post)phenomenological philosophers … Alloa’s style is both lucid and engaging … [The book] is faultlessly organized, and the logical transitions are smooth.”


Plus loin qu'ailleurs, by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, Editions du Cygne, 2013

To be translated by Hélène Cardona and published by White Pine Press, March 2016.

Beyond Elsewhere is a story that speaks of exile, the journey of a soul in search of the absolute, the epiphany of being in love, which represents a moment of eternity, at once of distress and salvation, a beacon on one’s path. One enters Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac’s world as one enters an ancient forest, a temple, a pagoda—a place, not of religion, but of intense spirituality. It is a journey beyond space and time, a window into the invisible, wide open. We travel beyond elsewhere, beyond the known world, in a quest for the absolute and the divine, in search of infinite love, a quest—from life’s beginning—to meet the other and oneself. It is a hauntingly beautiful long prose poem, a dance that touches on the universal and uniquely personal at the same time.


L'Europe de Gutenberg: Le livre et l'invention de la modernité occidentale, by Frédéric Barbier, Editions Belin, 2006

To be translated by Jean Birrell and published by Polity Press, December 2016.

Gutenberg's Europe offers an important new understanding of the history and development of book printing. It covers the wide-ranging implications of this new medium—economic, political and social—as well as charting technical developments with great expertise. The focus is on Germany, however Barbier enriches the work with comparative elements, discussing the situation across Europe, as well as the evolution of printing in China and Korea. Barbier distinguishes himself from other writers in his precise, nuanced approach, supporting his arguments with considerable empirical evidence. Gutenberg's Europe will enthuse those with interests across the humanities, from cultural and European history to media and communication.


Maurice Blanchot: Partenaire invisible, by Christophe Bident, Editions Champ-Vallon, 1998

To be translated by John McKeane and published by Fordham University Press, fall 2016.

Christophe Bident’s magisterial study of Blanchot is far more than a biography. It will transform the way readers of Blanchot, historians of twentieth-century Europe, and theorists across a range of disciplines respond to this major intellectual figure. A sophisticated reader of Blanchot’s work, Bident offers extensive archival research by which he explores the complex ways that Blanchot’s work enters into engagement with his contemporaries. In Leslie Hill’s account, Maurice Blanchot: Invisible Partner is “an exhaustive, probing, scrupulous, tactful, account” of this major thinker, “written with supreme elegance and extremely well documented.”


L’Événement anthropocène, by Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, Editions du Seuil, 2013

To be translated by David Fernbach and published by Verso Books, December 2016.

Scientists tell us that the Earth has entered a new era: the Anthropocene. We are not facing simply an environmental crisis, but a geological revolution of human origin. Refuting the view of a “human species” that upset the Earth system unaware of what it was doing, this book proposes a new account of modernity that shakes up many accepted ideas. Through a dialogue between science and history, the authors draw an ecological balance sheet of a developmental model that has become unsustainable, and explore paths for living and acting politically in the Anthropocene.


La Vocation de l'écriture, by Marc Crépon, Odile Jacob, 2014

To be translated by Tyler Williams and Donald Cross and published by SUNY Press, fall 2017.

The violence our society faces has its own dimension in language. Anyone with an interest in the study of transgression must recognize how language shapes, models, and imposes patterns of violence. Twentieth century philosopher Marc Crépon shows us how language can be condemned to certain death, and explores a conviction that the knot of violence ravels first in the ways that we employ words.


La Maison Cinéma et le monde 1: Le Temps des cahiers (1962-1981), by Serge Daney, P.O.L., 2001

To be translated by Noura Wedell and published by Semiotext(e), fall 2016.

This first volume in a trilogy of Serge Daney’s journalistic writings is focused on his film criticism for the Cahiers du Cinéma, from 1962 to 1981. Although he is among the most important French writers on cinema in the last fifty years, Daney's work has only rarely been translated into English. This constitutes an important gap in cinema studies in the English speaking world. These articles recount his formative years, his simultaneous discovery of cinema and the world, his resolute political commitment, and his budding fascination with the media.


Le désordre des familles, by Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault, Editions Gallimard, 1982

To be translated by Thomas Scott-Railton and published by Minnesota University Press, May 2016.

The Disorder of Families, originally published in 1982, is a critical look by Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault at an archive of lettres de cachet from eighteenth-century France. These letters, often written by common folk with the help of scriveners, implored the king to invoke his power to intervene in family and marital matters, including charges of theft, debauchery, and infidelity. In addition to this archive of letters, the book includes an introduction, section introductions, and a conclusion, all co-written by Farge and Foucault. The book illuminates their interest in how these letters employ and illustrate power, discipline, and governmentality.


Faire semblant c'est mentir, by Dominique Goblet, L'Association, 2007

To be translated by Sophia Yanow and published by New York Review Comics, November 2016.

The Belgian cartoonist Dominique Goblet has established herself as one of the leading figures of European alternative comics with books that are often challenging but always accessible and richly rewarding, from her early journal comics in the 1990s to her more recent experimental work for the avant garde publisher Fremok. Her art ranges from rough and deceptively crude to intricate and delicate, often within the same book, but is always captivating. Foremost among Goblet’s works is Pretending is Lying, which took her twelve years to complete. In a series of intense episodes, drawn in a variety of styles, it tells the story her tumultuous childhood in Belgium—raised by an alcoholic but loving Walloon father and an abusive Flemish mother. Its themes of love, guilt, and coming to terms with the past are timeless and moving, even as its style and structure are thrillingly innovative.


Métaphilosophie, by Henri Lefebvre, Éditions Syllepse, 1965

To be translated by David Fernbach and published by Verso Books, December 2016.

Metaphilosophy was first published in French in 1965 and is arguably Lefebvre’s most complete philosophical work. Offering Lefebvre’s most sustained engagement with Heidegger, along with detailed discussions of Marx, Hegel and Nietzsche, Metaphilosophy is concerned with how philosophy can metamorphize into a metaphilosophy—in other words, how philosophy might actualize and overcome itself—and in so doing, become something like Marx’s revolutionary praxis. In this regard, Metaphilosophy provides the theoretical underpinning to Lefebvre’s best-known ideas.



L'énonciation impersonnelle, ou le site du film, by Christian Metz, Editions Klincksieck, 1991

To be translated by Cormac Deane and published by Columbia University Press, December 2016.

The Impersonal Utterance: The Site of Film is both an extension of Metz’s path-breaking work in bringing the concepts and methods of linguistics and psychoanalysis to the study of film, and the articulation of fundamentally new directions in his thought. Metz’s basic argument is that the concept of enunciation has been unevenly applied to studies of cinematic spectatorship, and in a larger field, the study of narration in general. But in novels as well as films, the human actors are withdrawn—enunciation becomes impersonal. In terms of reaching depth of understanding of how films address their spectators and involve them in acts of understanding, we are led astray by personifying these formal features and devices. Throughout the book, Metz’s critique proceeds with a view to revising the theoretical excesses of both linguistic and phenomenological approaches.


Compter et classer: Histoire des recensements américains, by Paul Schor, EHESS, 2009

To be translated by Lys Ann Weiss and published by Oxford University Press, winter 2016.

The book traces the history of the American census from the first census, in 1790, to the 1940 census, with an epilogue about the period spanning from 1940 to the present. It is not a general history of the American census but a history of the shifting categories of race and ethnicity used by the census over a long period. Based primarily on archival material that has not been studied before, it is as much a history of race and ethnicity as it is a history of population statistics, and is an original contribution to the field.


La réfutation majeure, by Pierre Senges, Verticales, 2004

To be translated by Jacob Siefring and published by Contra Mundum Press, June 2016.

Ostensibly composed in the decades following America’s discovery, The Major Refutation takes the form of a Renaissance treatise to argue that the newly discovered lands (i.e., the Americas) do not actually exist, but are the result of a vast hoax staged by countless actors. The newly discovered continents would be as spurious as unicorns and mermaids, or the lost city of Atlantis. The book incorporates an extraordinary amount of historical material pertaining to the age of exploration and ancient mythology. Speciously, the text of the treatise is attributed to Antonio de Guevara (1480–1548), a Spanish bishop and courtier whose writings were extremely popular during the sixteenth century. The afterword to the Renaissance treatise explores alternate possible attributions for the text, and various other uses of literary imposture through the ages.


Carnets (1936-1947), by Victor Serge, Agone, 2012

To be translated by Mitchell Abidor and Richard Greeman and published by New York Review of Books, July 2016.

In the last decade of his life Victor Serge kept a notebook which was at once a diary and a place to record and work out his thoughts about politics, art, life, love, literature, and the many other interests that he pursued. Serge, after all, was a modern version of a renaissance man, as well as a brilliant novelist and a central figure in the revolutionary upheavals that marked and scarred the twentieth century. The recent discovery in Mexico of an additional stash of Serge’s papers among the papers of his companion Laurette Sejourne has more than doubled the size of the Notebooks, which now emerge as a major work in their own right, tracking Serge’s years in France in the late thirties, his departure by boat (the same boat that carried Claude Lévi-Strauss and André Breton) for the New World, and his years of Mexican exile. These extraordinary pages include Serge’s encounters with Gide and Trotsky, thoughts about Hitler and the war, visits to Teotihuacan, and meetings with Mexican artists, among other riches. Translation of this important work will further illuminate our understanding a remarkable man and writer as well as of the twentieth-century itself.


Esthétique du cinéma d'animation, by George Sifianos, Editions du Cerf, 2012

To be translated by Jayne Pilling and published by Mississippi University Press, January 2017.

The award-winning study Aesthetics of Animation by Georges Sifianos seeks to define animation and to organize the vastness of its various forms and expressions through the physiology, psychology, and mechanics of the cinematographic instrument and its human audience. The highly documented analysis of what an animated film may be re-integrates animation within the field of pictorial art at large and considers animation from a worldwide perspective.

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