Philippe Sollers (born Philippe Joyaux) is a French writer, editor and critic. In the early 60’s he founded the avant-garde journal Tel Quel (along with the writer and art critic Marcelin Pleynet), published by Seuil, which ran until 1982. In 1982 Sollers created the journal L’Infini that was published by Denoel, and later published, while still being directed by Sollers, under the same title by Gallimard. Sollers is a provocative and dynamic author and a challenging critic.
Books by Philippe Sollers
The Park—(translated from the French by A. M. Sheridan Smith)
The narrator of The Park watches from his window, his balcony: the avenue, the park, the couple in the apartment across the way. He is attached to the woman. He returns to his room, to his notebook.
She is someone he has loved or hopes to love. He is a friend who died in the war. The I is sometimes a child, sometimes the author and sometimes He. There is no absolute division between He and I, the observer and the observed. The words of the book are those being written in the notebook.
“Perhaps one of the most poetical examples of the ‘new novel’ in France … present and past time are mingled in a work that is a record of its own writing.” Choice
“…One of the most original novelists in contemporary France. …The brilliance of style beautifully preserved in A.M. Sheridan Smith’s translation. The Park is … a difficult stylistic convention, which becomes both the fabric and the texture of the work, at once what Sollers writes and how he writes it.” Tom Bishop—The Saturday Review
Car doors bang in the street, excited voices answer each other. A whole group of people arrive and go away again. Carefully groomed women in evening dresses are laughing and getting into cars which (someone shouts out an address) will soon stop in line along the avenue. But how many times have I gone round to her flat, when there was no danger of me being discovered—I who had know her for so long?
from The Park
Event—with the essay Event, Poem, Novel by Roland Barthes (translated from the French by Bruce Benderson and Ursule Molinaro)
No truth can be spoken about an event. If we give up words in their function of naming things and allow them their own life, then, “a language of truth begins to speak.”
from the essay Event, Poem, Novel by Roland Barthes
“Starting (first condition, lines, engraving—beginning of the game) may be the stablest element that clusters behind the eyes and forehead. He quickly takes stock. There is a chain of maritime memories passing into his right arm: he catches them by surprise half-asleep, foam swept up by the wind. On the other hand, the left leg seems to be itching by mineral groupings. A large area of his back still has superimposed images of rooms at twilight. Blocked, he doesn’t push it, he waits.”
from Event by Philippe Sollers
“A searching hero, a searched-for story, an enemy language, an ally language, these are the cardinal functions that make up the meaning of Event (and consequently its “dramatic” tension).”
from Event, Poem, Novel by Roland Barthes