Patrick Mcguinness

  • 1989. Un jeune professeur anglais est nommé à Bucarest en remplacement d'un confrère. Nous sommes trois mois avant la chute de Ceausescu, mais cela, il l'ignore. Guidé par Leo, un trafiquant au marché noir, il découvre un pays où tout est rare et rationné, de l'électricité à la liberté. Les seules choses qui prospèrent sont l'ennui et les petits arrangements. Tout le monde s'espionne, on ne sait à qui l'on peut faire confiance. Au milieu de cette dangereuse morosité et de la déliquescence du régime survient l'amour, qui va tout modifier.

  • Au sud de Londres, quelques jours avant Noël, est retrouvé le cadavre d'une jeune femme étranglée. Le narrateur, Ander, officier de police, enquête sur le crime avec son assistant le grassouillet Gary. Suspect : M. Wolphram, voisin de la victime, ancien professeur de lycée en retraite. Il se dit innocent.
    Au fur et à mesure que les interrogatoires se multiplient, Ander est pris d'un sentiment de déjà-vu. Il se remémore sa propre éducation dans un pensionnat privé connu pour ses problèmes de harcèlement : M. Wolphram y avait été un de ses professeurs. Solitaire et marginal, passant ses journées à écouter de la musique, il devient la proie de la presse à scandale et des réseaux sociaux. Ils le harcèlent d'injures. Le voici assassin, pédophile, à lyncher. Une journaliste sans scrupules alimente le scandale en publiant des témoignages biaisés sur celui qu'on surnomme désormais « le loup de Chapelton ».
    Dans ce subtil mélange d'enquête et de remémoration, Ander en vient à se rappeler une autre affaire où Wolphram avait été mêlé, et où il s'était révélé bienveillant. Défaut majeur dans ce temps où les chiens des réseaux sociaux aboient et réclament la mort d'hommes vite désignés à leur vindicte. Au fait, coupable, l'est-il ou non, le gentil professeur ?
    Dans la lignée du mystérieux et puissant Cent derniers jours, un faux livre policier, un vrai livre littéraire, dans la lignée de Graham Greene. Le roman du harcèlement.

  • De la gare de départ, la station Quartier-Léopold, il ne reste aujourd'hui qu'une façade. Depuis Bruxelles on était acheminé par le fer jusqu'au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg via Namur. Les entrepreneurs anglais qui construisirent cette ligne, la 162, au mitan du dix-neuvième siècle, prévoyaient de la prolonger jusqu'aux Indes. Mais il est arrivé aux partisans de l'expansion infinie que la vitesse et les changements qu'ils fomentaient leur ont été pour ainsi dire retournés, et que les prodiges annoncés sont devenus inutiles et désuets, sur fond de dépérissement. Ainsi de la poignée de gares - et avec elles l'ombre portée de villes ou de quartiers dans l'ambiance d'une vie qui allait encore en avant - où ne subsistent des furieux espoirs de la première Révolution industrielle que des amas métalliques aux tons de rouille, des panneaux à peine lisibles, des brouillards inhabités qu'on dirait faits pour nuancer le chagrin qu'on en a. Un peu plus d'une vingtaine de ces stations (c'est plus qu'il n'en faut à une Passion) que Patrick McGuinness a traversées des centaines de fois depuis sa jeunesse : la figure s'en révèle, à chaque fois en un poème, comme la source affleurant d'une profonde nappe de la mémoire, la sienne aussi bien que celle des générations qui l'y ont conduit.
    Ainsi : [.] « Un moment parmi les ombres, sous les néons, Gare de Léopoldville, et nous voilà de nouveau en Belgique, péniche glissant sur des eaux rougies par le sang et piquetées de diamants. » * Quel autre traducteur que Gilles Ortlieb, familier des lieux, des noms et des petits vertiges ferroviaires associés à ce coin d'Europe, ces vers pouvaient-ils attendre ?

  • Fils de diplomate, Patrick McGuinness a une jeunesse itinérante, passant d'un pays à l'autre au gré des mutations de son père. Pourtant, s'il est pour lui un lieu qui caractérise le bonheur insouciant de l'enfance, c'est bien la maison de sa grand-mère, à Bouillon, petit village des Ardennes lové dans un des méandres de la Sémois, où il passe une partie de son enfance et où il se rend encore plusieurs fois par an accompagné de son épouse et de ses enfants.
    La ville n'est pas très éloignée de Charleville, où Rimbaud a vu le jour, ou de Sedan, où l'armée française a été défaite par les troupes prussiennes en 1870. A Bouillon deux mille habitants, tout semble délicieusement suranné, comme échappé au temps et à la globalisation. Intact dans son excentricité, c'est une petite bulle de belgitude : on y déjeune encore de trempinette et de café réchauffé, les murs du bar affichent le nom de breuvages oubliés Mandarine Napoléon, Pisang, Maitrank, Dubonnet, Byrrh , on y « pisse dans ses frites » et il faut choisir entre la Westmalle et l'Orval, deux bières trappistes, l'une flamande l'autre wallonne, car « en Belgique, même les moines trappistes doivent choisir dans quelle langue se taire ».

  • 'This is literary fiction as it should be: in stylish, surprising, lyrical sentences we are forced to confront the hidden power structures, public and private, that control our everyday lives' The Times A young woman has been murdered, and a neighbour, a retired teacher from Chapleton College, is arrested. An eccentric loner - intellectual, shy, a fastidious dresser with expensive tastes - he is the perfect candidate for a media monstering. In custody he is interviewed by two detectives: the smart-talking, quick-witted Gary, and his watchful colleague, Ander. Ander is always watchful, but particularly now, because the man across the table is his former teacher - Michael Wolphram - whom he hasn't seen in nearly 30 years. As the novel proceeds, we watch Wolphram's media lynching as ex-pupils and colleagues line up to lie about him. In parallel, we read Ander's memories of his life as a young Dutch boy in 80s England. Another outsider, another loner in a school system rife with abuse and bullying, Ander has another case to solve: the cold case of his own childhood. Though it deals with historical abuse and violence in schools, and the corrupt power of the popular media, Throw Me to the Wolves is about childhood and memory. A perceptive and pertinent novel of our times, beautifully written and psychologically acute, it manages to be both very funny and - at the same time - shatteringly sad.

  • Winner of the 2014 Duff Cooper PrizeWinner of the 2015 Welsh Book of the Year AwardShortlisted for the 2015 James Tait Black Memorial PrizeShortlisted for the 2015 PEN Ackerley prize Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize Let me take you down the thin cobblestoned streets of the Belgian border town of Bouillon.

  • Once 'the Paris of the East', Bucharest in 1989 is a world of danger, repression and corruption, but also of intensity and ravaged beauty. As Ceausescu's demolition squads race to destroy the old city and replace it with a sinister Stalinist Legoland, its inhabitants live out communism's dying days not knowing how or where things will end. In 'The Last Hundred Days' a young English student arrives in Bucharest to take up a job he never applied for and whose duties are never made clear. He finds dissidents, party apparatchiks, black-marketeers, diplomats, spies and ordinary Romanians, all watching each other as Europe's most paranoid regime plays out its bloody endgame.

  • Winner of the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize
    Winner of the 2015 Welsh Book of the Year Award
    Shortlisted for the 2015 James Tait Black Memorial Prize
    Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Ackerley prize
    Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize Let me take you down the thin cobblestoned streets of the Belgian border town of Bouillon. Let me take you down the alleys that lead into its past. To a town peopled with eccentrics, full of charm, menace and wonder. To the days before television, to Marie Bodard's sweetshop, to the Nazi occupation and unexpected collaborators. To a place where one neighbour murders another over the misfortune of pigs and potatoes. To the hotel where the French poet Verlaine his lover Rimbaud, holed up whilst on the run from family, creditors and the law.
    This exquisite meditation on place, time and memory is an illicit peek into other people's countries, into the spaces they have populated with their memories, and might just make you revisit your own in a new and surprising way.

  • Poetry and Radical Politics in fin de siècle France explores the relations between poetry and politics in France in the last decade of the 19th century. The period covers perhaps the most important developments in modern French poetry: from the post-Commune climate that spawned the decadent movement, through to the (allegedly) ivory-towered aestheticism of Mallarmé and the Symbolists. In terms of French politics, history and culture, theperiod was no less dramatic with the legacy of the Commune, the political and financial instability that followed, the anarchist campaigns, the Dreyfus affair, and the growth of Action française. Patrick McGuinness argues that the anarchist politics of many Symbolist poets is a reaction to their own isolation, and to poetrys anxious relations with the public: too difficult be be widely read, Symbolist poets react to the loss of poetrys centrality among the arts by delegating their radicalism to prose: they can call, in prose, for the overthrow of the state and support anarchist bombers, while at the same time writing poems about dribbling fountains and dazzling sunsets for eachother. This study demonstrates the connections between the anti-Symbolist reaction of the école romane of 1891 (in which Charles Maurras first made his name), and the far-right cultural politics of Action française in the early 20th century. It also redefines many of the debates about late 19th-century French poetry by putting an argument forward for the political engagement(s) of the Symbolists while the French intellectuel as a national icon was being forged. McGuinness insists onprofound continuities between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th in terms of cultural politics, literary debate, and poetic theory, and shows how politics is to be found in unexpected ways in the least political-seeming literature of the period.The famous line by Péguy, that everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics, has an appealing sweep and grace. This book has its own more modest and specific version of a similar journey: it begins in Mallarmé and ends in Maurras.

  • This volume of essays, which is dedicated to the late Richard Bales, one of the doyens of Proust studies, considers Proust's pivotal role at the threshold of modernity, between nineteenth- and twentieth-century forms of writing and thinking, between the Belle Epoque and the First World War, between tradition and innovation. More than just a temporal concept, this threshold is theorized in the volume as a liminal space where borders (geographical, artistic, personal) dissolve, where greater possibilities for artistic dialogue emerge, and where unexpected encounters (between artists, genres and disciplines) take place. Working both backwards and forwards from the publication dates of A la recherche du temps perdu (1913-27), the seventeen essays written specially for this volume take as their focus Proust's manifold engagements with the world of modernity, as well as intermedial relations among the generations of artists before and immediately after him. Looking back to the nineteenth century, the undisputed starting point for nascent forms of modernity in Western art and literature, and a period that was uniquely formative for the young Proust, they also offer insights into inter-artistic dialogue in Surrealist and post-Surrealist painting and poetry.

  • This collection of essays explores the relationship between art, literature and the stage in France and Belgium in the period 1830-1910. It is the first book to bring together scholarship on this neglected area of study and provides unique insights into current research within this rich interdisciplinary field. The rise in popular theatre, the beginnings of a `society of spectacle', the emergence of the print media and the development of stage direction and set design, along with the crisis in pictorial and literary representation, created a dynamic cultural climate wherein the interface between writing, painting and dramatic representation thrived. The chapters in this volume chart different facets of this phenomenon: from the art of performing assumed by writers and the collaborations between artists and theatre directors to the theatrical motifs that infiltrated visual art and the increasingly `dramatized' relationship between painting and spectator at the end of the century.

  • This volume commemorates the work of Malcolm Bowie, who died in 2007. It includes selected papers drawn from the conference held in his memory at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London, in May 2008, inspired by his work in nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature. Malcolm Bowie was instrumental in shaping French studies in the United Kingdom into the interdisciplinary field it now is. The contributions to this collection are grouped around Bowie's principal interests and specialisms: poetry, Proust, theory, visual art and music. The book is, however, more than a memorial to Malcolm Bowie's work and legacy. In its inclusion of work by established and eminent members of the academic profession as well as new and emerging scholars, it is also a showcase for cutting-edge work in French studies in the United Kingdom and beyond.

  • This selection of essays by Alan Raitt provides a series of cross-readings of nineteenth-century French literary authors and texts. The collection revolves around Flaubert and Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, the two authors with whom Raitt is most associated, situating them and their principal works in relation to each other, as well as to Balzac, Nerval, Baudelaire, Mallarmé and Huysmans. In so doing, the collection shows the extent to which nineteenth-century French literary history appears both as a succession and as a simultaneity of literary styles and credos.

  • The work of French writer and essayist Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003) is without doubt among the most challenging the twentieth century has to offer. Contemporary debate in literature, philosophy, and politics has yet to fully acknowledge its discreet but enduring impact. Arising from a conference that took place in Oxford in 2009, this book sets itself a simple, if daunting, task: that of measuring the impact and responding to the challenge of Blanchot's work by addressing its engagement with the Romantic legacy, in particular (but not only) that of the Jena Romantics. Drawing upon a wide range of philosophers and poets associated directly or indirectly with German Romanticism (Kant, Fichte, Goethe, Jean Paul, Novalis, the Schlegels, Hlderlin), the authors of this volume explore how Blanchot's fictional, critical, and fragmentary texts rewrite and rethink the Romantic demand in relation to questions of criticism and reflexivity, irony and subjectivity, narrative and genre, the sublime and the neutre, the Work and the fragment, quotation and translation. Reading Blanchot with or against key twentieth-century thinkers (Benjamin, Foucault, de Man), they also examine Romantic and post-Romantic notions of history, imagination, literary theory, melancholy, affect, love, revolution, community, and other central themes that Blanchot's writings deploy across the century from Jean-Paul Sartre to Jean-Luc Nancy. This book contains contributions in both English and French.

  • The poems in Jilted City inhabit in-between-places, when a border is being crossed, a word is slipping into another language, when memory is translating loss. From Stations where the train doesn't stop' in Blue Guide', following a train journey through Belgium, toCity of Lost Walks', English versions of a dissident Romanian poet whose poetry fails to register except in the form of an omission', McGuinness explores transition and translation, the afterlife of absences. Wit and paradox are at the heart of a collection that finds unforeseen connections between place and displacement.

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