Translated by Tess Lewis
5 x 8.5 inches, 160pp. November 2015
ISBN : 9780857423078
Rs 595.00 (HB)
After several years abroad, a young man returns to his hometown to seek the man he calls master. This master, a brilliant philosopher, had made the young man into a disciple before sending him out into the world to put his teachings into practice. Returning three years later, the disciple finds his master has abandoned his wife and child and moved into a squalid one-room flat, cutting himself off completely from his former life. Disillusioned and reeling from the discovery, the young man spends an entire night listening to his master’s bitter denunciation of the ideals they once shared.
Obscurity, by noted thinker Philippe Jaccottet, is the story of this intense encounter between two men who were once very close and now must grapple with the fractured ideals that separate them. Written in 1960 during Jaccottet’s period of poetic paralysis, the novel seeks to harmonize the best and worst of human nature—reconciling despair, falsehood, and lethargy of spirit with the need to remain open to beauty, truth, and the essential goodness of humankind. Translated by Tess Lewis, Obscurity is Jaccottet’s only work of fiction, one that will introduce new readers to the multifaceted skills of this major poet.
Philippe Jaccottet’s most recent collections of poems and poetic prose texts include Cahier de verdure (Notebook of Greenery, 1990), AprÃ¨s beau- coup d’annÃ©es (After Many Years, 1994), Et, nÃ©anmoins (And, Nonetheless, 2001) and Ce Peu de bruits (These Slight Noises, 2008). His prizes include the Petrarch Prize and the Schiller Prize (2010), the highest Swiss literary distinction. In 2014, his collected writings were published in Gallimard’s pres- tigious ‘PlÃ©iade’ series, a rare honor for a living author.
Tess Lewis has translated seven books and numerous essays and articles from French and German. Her translations include works by Peter Handke, Alois Hotschnig, Julya Rabinowich, Lukas Bï¿½rfuss, Philippe Jaccottet, Pascal Bruckner and Jean-Luc Benoziglio among others. She has been awarded a PEN Translation Fund grant and an NEA Translation Fellowship. She also serves as an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review and writes essays on European Literature for various literary journals and newspapers.