Pierre Guyotat (born in 1940) has been a source of French literary scandal since the 1967 publication of Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers. The French government banned his novel Eden Eden Eden from being publicized, advertised on posters, or sold to anyone under the age of 18 from the time of its publication in 1970 until 1981.
by Pierre Guyotat
Independence evokes a foundational moment in Pierre Guyotat’s life, while he was serving as a soldier during the Algerian war: his arrest andimprisonment by French military security for political rebellion.
This text was written for a special issue of the Nouvelle Revue Française, the literary magazine which greatly contributed toshaping French literary history during the course of the twentieth century. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publishing company, Les Editions Gallimard, which houses the magazine, each contributor was invited to submit a text written in relation to a novel which they felt encapsulated the century.
Independence was published on the occasion of a series of readings organized with Pierre Guyotat in the US, April–May 2011. 28 Pages • Limited Edition •
In The Deep
A hypnotic account of three days and nights plucked from the summer of 1955, In the Deep maps the origins, development, and meaning of Pierre Guyotat’s creative vocation. To read it is to inhabit the life of an adolescent boy who is just discovering his calling to write, while also tormented by the questions left unanswered by his Catholic upbringing. Faced with his faith’s failure, he feels the need to invent another one—one much darker and conflicted—which he believes will be his destiny. In the Deep leads us through the foundations of Guyotat’s infamous “beat-sheet”: the masturbatory writing practice that caused a scandal in the 1970s when he first disclosed it, and which—although he has since disowned it—remains fundamental to any understanding of Guyotat’s oeuvre.
Translated by Noura Wedell
Introduction by Gary Indiana
Long ago, in childhood, when Summer reverberates and feels and throbs all over, it begins to circumscribe my body along with my self, and my body gives it shape in turn: the “joy” of living, of experiencing, of already foreseeing dismembers it, this entire body explodes, neurons rush toward what attracts them, zones of sensation break off almost in blocks that come to rest at the four corners of the landscape, at the four corners of Creation.
The novelist and playwright Pierre Guyotat has been called the last great avant-garde visionary of the twentieth century, and the near-cult status of his work—because of its extreme linguistic innovation and its provocative violence—has made him one of the most influential of French writers today. He has been hailed as the true literary heir to Lautréamont and Arthur Rimbaud, and his “inhuman” works have been mentioned in the same breath as those by Georges Bataille and Antonin Artaud.