Just a short post to let you know about a newly published collection:
Alain-Fournier’s poems, while relatively few, are one of the small pearls washed up in the maelstrom of early twentieth-century France. Best known for his novel Le Grand Meaulnes, a posthumous classic, Alain-Fournier was killed in battle in 1914. His poems suspend a pre- war French idyll of warm evenings and rained-on orchards, silk-banded straw hats, lamp-lit farmhouses – and young love reaching out ‘in the frightening dark, with timid fingers’. His lines fluoresce with the pain of memories which cannot be re-lived, and they combine elements of Symbolism, Impressionism and Imagism. The sun is an ambivalent force in these poetic narratives, which transform themselves as if they were dreams. The music of Debussy, the writings of Laforgue, and the paintings of Renoir can also be detected under the surface of Alain- Fournier’s verse, which is provided here in a comprehensive English translation for the first time.
Alain-Fournier was the pseudonym of Henri-Alban Fournier, a French author and soldier. He was the author of a single novel, Le Grand Meaulnes (1913), which has been twice filmed and is considered a classic of French literature. In 1914, Alain-Fournier started work on a second novel, Colombe Blanchet, but this remained unfinished when he joined the Army as a lieutenant in August. He died fighting near Vaux-les- Palameix (Meuse) one month later, on 22 September 1914. His body remained unidentified until 1991, at which time he was interred in the cemetery of Saint-Remy-la-Calonne. Most of the writing of Alain-Fournier was published posthumously: Miracles (poems and essays) in 1924, his correspondence with Jacques Riviere in 1926 and letters to his family in 1930. His notes and sketches for Colombe Blanchet were also published.
To order your copy of Poems at £8 (RRP £9.99) with free UK P&P, go to www.carcanet.co.uk and enter the code: MEAULNES (case sensitive) at the checkout. Alternatively, telephone (+44)161 834 8730 or return the form to: Carcanet Press Limited, 4th Floor, Alliance House, Cross Street, Manchester M2 7AQ, UK