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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This item is taken from PN Review 67, Volume 15 Number 5, May - June 1989.

News & Notes
"All my life long I have been a trouble-maker... Everything that I write, everything that I do, is a disturbance and an irritation." The trouble-maker is dead: Thomas Bernhard, the controversial and distinguished novelist. Michael Hamburger (in After the Second Flood) wrote: "It is never Bernhard the man whom we meet in his works, but the artist and his mask of style; and that may be because Bernhard's life did not give him the benefit of a 'personal identity', which is always a social identity also. Bernhard's fame and success as a writer have not altered his refusal to define himself as anything but the outsider his beginnings made him." PNR hopes to publish an extended appreciation in a later issue.

The Belgian poet Jo Duchesne, who died last year just short of his 88th birthday, was by profession a teacher of French, and of Walloon to elder pupils. He made his debut with a collection of poems in the French language (Etais, 1924) before turning to the Walloon of his native province Liege. He was particularly noted for his dramatic works, and had made adaptations from Molière, Shakespeare and Chekhov. His collection of poems, Al dibane (1960) won him the coveted Liege prix biennal, the so-called Prix Goncourt of 'dialect' literature. Eager to encourage the work of younger poets, he was instrumental in promoting the Prix des Critiques Wallons. During the Second World War he worked in the Resistance.
(Y.L.)

Empty Hands (trans. Yann Lovelock)

In my pockets nothing, nothing in my hands.
   I've scattered all I collected
   To the four winds, for whoever cares:
   A heart like an ember
   A lock of hair,
   Some medals, a length of silk,
   Her last letter and a photo.

   Now I bear my empty hands
   Lightly as an angel's plume.

You carry too much junk in your pockets.
   Pockets, they're made for hands,
   Holding nothing...


Literaturnaya Gazeta has recently announced the impending publication of Vassily Grossman's Life and Fate. This epic novel of the Second World War was completed in 1960 and submitted to the journal Znamya but was rejected as being anti-Soviet and the manuscript was confiscated by the KGB. Vladimir Voinovich managed to bring to the West a microfilm copy of an incomplete version which was published in Lausanne in 1980, and in an English translation in 1985. Now at last Russian publishers are vying with one another to bring out the first Soviet edition: the publishing house Knizhnaya Palata have announced that their version is almost ready, but the venture has been fraught with difficulties. After relying initially on an incomplete version serialized in a Soviet journal, they turned to the Swiss edition, which in turn proved unsatisfactory. But now a new version has come to light, one which escaped the KGB depredations. Grossman had given a copy to his friend Vyacheslav Ivanovich Lobode; after his death his widow kept the manuscript. When she heard later about the problems with the text she gave her copy to Grossman's son, Fyodor Borisovich, who passed it on to Knizhnaya Palata. They were so far advanced with the uncanonical text that they decided to continue, but with an afterword about the discovery of the authentic version. This text, having been declared genuine by a panel of literary experts, is to be published in a definitive edition.
(M.T.)

The Summer 1989 issue of Contemporary Literature (Volume 30, number 2) is devoted to the work of Ford Madox Ford, on the fiftieth anniversary of his death. Under the guest editorship of Joseph Wiesenfarth, who contributes an essay on Ford's art of poetry, the issue will include two essays by Sondra Stang; with Carl Smith, an account of Ford's compositions for voice and piano; with Maryann de Julio, a study of translation - Ford's Le Bon Soldat.

It is fifty years too since the death of Joseph Roth, to be marked by a new edition of his works, beginning this Spring with the novels and stories from 1916 to 1929, and the journalistic writings between 1915 and 1923. Kiepenheuer & Witsch are publishing the complete works in six comprehensive volumes.

Another fiftieth anniversary: Seamus Heaney's birthday. William Cookson writes to inform us that Agenda is to mark the event (April 13th) by a special issue which contains eight new poems by Heaney, a translation from Dante's Inferno, and also Learning from Eliot, a previously unpublished lecture. This last is an edited version of remarks prepared for the T. S. Eliot Centenary Lectures at Harvard in Spring 1988 and subsequently developed as the Cheltenham Lecture at the festival there last October. The issue will also include essays on Heaney by John Bayley, William Bedford, Neil Corcoran and others. (£3.50 from 5 Cranbourne Court, Albert Bridge Road, London SW11 4PE)

Readers are to feel "challenged" by "the orality, ambiguity, inter-textuality, gender explicitness" and are solemnly advised about what constitutes a "significant generator of her aesthetic message". The introduction over, A Rosario Castellanos Reader is a substantial anthology of the poetry, short fiction, essays and drama of Castellanos, much of it translated into English for the first time, and placing her work in its Mexican cultural context. Maureen Ahern is the principal translator and editor of the volume published by the University of Texas Press.

Papers are being invited for the thirteenth international Pound conference to be held at the University of Essex, Colchester, from the 5th to the 7th of September 1989. The central theme of the conference is announced as 'Pound and America' and the conference organizer is Jackie Kaye at the Department of Literature, Essex University.

Ideologies are ever scrambling to catch up with history, or their own histories. This is not a reflection on Kenneth Baker's recent anthology or on History in the 'national curriculum' - particularly. In Turkey the 70-year-old novelist Kerim Korcan and his publisher Rabia Sen Suer have been arraigned at the state Security Court for disseminating 'Communist propaganda' in Korcan's novel Bridge of Fire which referred to torture in Istanbul's political police centre thirty years ago. In Moscow the Party Secretary for Ideology, Vadim Medvedev denounced the publication of Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. (However, at the same time 1500 people gathered in Moscow to celebrate Solzhenitsyn's seventieth birthday, and Efim Etkind has been re-admitted into the Soviet Writers' Union, after being expelled when denounced in a KGB report for his association with Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky). Fundamentalist Christians in Singapore have pressurized the Government to ban Nikos Kazantzakis' novel The Last Temptation of Christ. Martin Scorsese's film of the novel has been solemnly cursed in Athens (Kazantzakis was cursed in his lifetime) and, after rioting in Athens, the film has been provisionally banned in Salonica and Athens. (Index)

The Basil Bunting Poetry Archive at Durham University has published Bunting's A Note on Briggflatts. This short note is Bunting's single written statement on the poem, a statement he reworked but was reluctant to publish in his lifetime - "Yet I have been teased so much by people who cannot be content to listen without reasoning, and by people who think they detect in the poem notions alien to it and sometimes repulsive to me that I will set down, if I can, some hint of the state of the maker's mind." Copies are available from Durham University Library at £3. This is the archive's first publication.

There is a new, extended edition of James Greene's translations of Osip Mandelstam's poetry. Greene has revised some of the versions in the earlier edition (1977) and has added further translations. Complementing the earlier edition's brief forewords by Nadezhda Mandelstam and Donald Davie is a new introductory essay on Mandelstam's life and work by Donald Rayfield. Detailed end-notes to the translations are given, along with an appendix with the Russian texts. The Eyesight of Wasps is published by Angel Books.

With parallel Russian text, Spenser Books have published Richard Chappell's verse translation of Pasternak's poem - or poem sequence - 'The Year Nineteen-Five', which first appeared in 1926. In 1927 Pasternak observed: "the epic is implicit in our age and accordingly in the book 'The Year Nineteen-Five'. I am moving from lyrical modes of thought to epic-writing, very hard though it is".

Of this summer's season of conferences and schools, two combine literary and political themes. In County Antrim there will be a summer school on John Hewitt's work and his 'regionalism', at which lecturers will include Tom Nairn, Seamus Heaney, George Watson and Frank Ormsby. (July 31 - August 7). Details: Jack McCann, The Post Office, Carnclough, Co. Antrim. The conference 'Romanticism and Revolution' at Lancaster University, July 5-8, will be addressed by Marilyn Butler, E.P. Thompson, Jean-Pierre Faye and Jonathan Wordsworth (Details: Professor Raman Selden, Lancaster University).

The small publishing house Allardyce Barnett has over the last few years published the work of Douglas Oliver, Veronica Forrest-Thompson, Andrew Crozier and J.H. Prynne. Unlike many small presses, Allardyce Barnett does not receive public subsidy, nor is it represented and distributed to the book trade through a larger commercial publisher. It is now seeking benefactors, inviting them to contribute a minimum of £100, to enable them to publish about two new titles each year. Enquiries to 14 Mount Street, Lewes, BN7 1HL.

An erratum slip with the current issue of the Australian journal Kunapipi sounds like an early Bob Cobbing text: "Moodrooroo - read Mudrooroo. Paddy Ore - read Paddy Roe. Paddy Row - read Paddy Roe." But the issue itself - a double issue edited by Anna Rutherford - is a substantial and hugely varied compilation of contemporary Aboriginal culture, published as a tribute to Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal, and including an annotated bibliography of work by Aborigine writers from 1924 to 1987. Concerning the recent Australian festivities, one of the contributors to Kunapipi proposes that "the celebration is not for the birth of white Australia, but for the survival of the Aborigines over the last two hundred years."

The Philip Larkin Memorial Fund appeal has already equipped the Larkin Memorial room in the library of Hull University and subvented the purchase for the library of a copy of Larkin's XX Poems (1951), a pamphlet published in only 100 copies.

This item is taken from PN Review 67, Volume 15 Number 5, May - June 1989.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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