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Parts of celeb French writer Michel Houellebecq's work translated in Afrikaans

A new book presents the translation into Afrikaans of a selection of eighty poems by Michel Houellebecq, along with two essays. Published by Hond, the translation was done by Catherine du Toit, a lecturer the University of Stellenbosch, and her French third year students; constituting both a literary and an educational linked to present and future research possibilities. Arguably the most famous French writer alive, Michel Houellebecq is a complex artist – ambiguous, ironic, multifaceted. On the one hand his work is cutting, cruel, sexually explicit, abject. On the other hand, he writes with rare compassion, intimate and attentive to the suffering of the aged, the fragile, the imperfect, the vanquished.

Houellebecq is mainly famous for his novels - "Whatever", "The Elementary Particles", "Platform"... His poetry has remained little known across the world although he himself regards it as seminal and an integral part of his work. The poems are often characterized by an absence where emotion springs from ellipsis. Thus, in the infinite mobilisation of our lives, there are moments of immobility that mark a suspension, a floating, an uncertainty; a pause that invites the aesthetic possibility. A quiet revolution in which we can live again. Lesser recognition also applies to his essays of which few translations exist, even though they contain essential elements of his thinking. With this Afrikaans translation of eighty poems and two essays by Houellebecq, the authors hope thus to enhance further comprehension of the artist's singular creativity with a larger public.

Michel Houellebecq: "Tagtig Gedigte en Twee Essays" (Hond publishers) - Book launch: Friday 30 November 2012, 18:00 at the Sasol Art Museum of Stellenbosch - This project is supported by the France-South Africa Seasons 2012&2013


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