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Queneau as Translator of James Joyce, of Descartes' Philosophy and Dunne's Physics

Christopher Clark, CUNY
Monday, December 2, 2019 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm
144 Louis A. Simpson International Building
Monday, December 2, 2019 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm

French author Raymond Queneau is best known for his 1959 novel Zazie dans le métro and his contributions to the experimental group Oulipo, which he co-founded with François Le Lionnais in 1960. However, during the early years of his career as a novelist and poet, Queneau also published literary translations of novels, short stories, and poems, translating a diverse array of Anglophone writers that included Sinclair Lewis, Henry Miller, George Du Maurier, and Amos Tutuola. This talk will present work from Clarke’s dissertation in progress. After giving an overview of Queneau’s work in literary translation, it will explore the further role of translation and related processes in his work as a novelist, detailing examples of his literary repurposing of philosophy by the likes of René Descartes, literature by authors such as James Joyce, and physics, mathematics, and philosophy of time by British aeronautics engineer John William Dunne.

Chris Clarke was raised in Western Canada, and currently lives in Philadelphia. His published translations include work by Pierre Mac Orlan (Wakefield Press), Raymond Queneau (New Directions), and François Caradec (MIT Press). His translation of Marcel Schwob’s Imaginary Lives (Wakefield Press) was awarded the 2019 French-American Foundation Translation Prize, an award for which his translation of Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano's In the Café of Lost Youth (NYRB Classics) was a finalist in 2017. He is currently at work on two translation projects, Mansour’s Eyes by Ryad Girod (Transit Books, 2020), and a new translation of Raymond Queneau’s 1944 novel Loin de Rueil for NYRB Classics (2022). A doctoral candidate in French at the Graduate Center, CUNY, his dissertation examines the role of translation in the career of French novelist Raymond Queneau.

Sponsored by
Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication