and I copied it from a characteristic- ally frank and encouraging letter that I received from Louis Calaferte in late (He died three and a half years later, at the. Louis Calaferte is the author of Septentrion ( avg rating, 56 ratings, 0 reviews , published ), Requiem des innocents ( avg rating, 35 ratings. La mécanique des femmes has 49 ratings and 5 reviews. Marie-Maude said: Très cru et vulgaire, ce qui n’est pas un problème, mais je me demande encore ce.

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Scotch-taped to a louiss near my writing desk is a small piece of paper on which the following bold words appear: He died three and a half years later, at the age of During his last, pain-ridden years, Calaferte necessarily applied this same stern advice to himself, several times daily, for despite the rampages of a long-unidentified illness, he kept working hard—the expression is feeble—until his last breath.

Reading Louis Calaferte | Dalkey Archive Press

As the nine to date published volumes of his calagerte and absorbing Carnets or Notebooks amply reveal, the author of Septentrion —the most impressive French erotic novel of the post-war period—always wrote with a sense of urgency. Intensifying eye-witnessed events by means of fictional additives constitutes, of course, a common act of literary artifice.


So the age-old question of autobiographical inspiration and fictional transposition—a trite, even czlaferte line of inquiry for solving the riddles raised by the work of many authors—must nonetheless be pursued for Calaferte. Tellingly, Calaferte increasingly eschewed the simplifications of a single memorializing realist narrator, although he had movingly adopted this narrative position in his first novel, Requiem des innocentswhich recalls his Lyons upbringing and announces his liberation from it, through the discovery of books and writing.

Calfaerte no longer elaborates plots.

He even begins to play with words, with phonemes, with letters, in the loiis of concrete poetry. Of course, some sections in some of his books spin off variations on a salient image or word—a narrative technique linking texts that are otherwise quite different in subject matter and thereby creating a sense of amplification.

These childhood memories are extremely powerful. This latter coincidence leads to scenes with adult characters, to recordings of their brief verbal exchanges, and each time the verb crops up in all its psychoanalytical resonance.

With the possible exception of Caladerte des innocentsthis paradox—confessional writings which remain, at the same time, mysteriously distinct, even aloof, from straightforward realist memorializing—characterizes much of his mature oeuvre. Nothing in contemporary American literature resembles such work.

Because of the evil or moral turpitude that is pinpointed in some passages, it seems that Calaferte himself was seeking—through writing—to emerge from persistent inner and outer Hells ranging from his childhood and his struggle with suicidal impulses to his disgust at contemporary society.


At the end of his life, Tolstoy also combined the two ideologies. It should be clear by now that these two translations, however welcome, represent barely the rim of the Calaferte volcano. His bibliography includes more than ninety titles.

Louis Calaferte

The man even wrote gentle-hearted nursery rhymes. Until more of his work is translated, American readers will, above all, have to face up to The Way it Works with Womena series of crude evocations of female sexuality. And does a male writer have the right, moral or simply literary, to describe an eroticism that he cannot, by definition, experience?

With characteristic vigor, Calaferte responds to some of these questions in The Inner Adventure. Still, voluptuousness conceals its defeat. Conversations with Louis Calaferte. The Way it Works with Women.