Archive for the ‘Literary Magazine’ Category

By Helene Monsacré
Literary magazine n° 221
Juillet/Août 1985 (File literature and the exile).

“Oh! not, nothing is softer than fatherland and parents; in the exile, what good is the richest residence, among foreigners and far from its parents?”
Ulysses in.

It is at the time when Ulysses has just declined his identity in Phéaciens, and before even beginning the long account of its adventures, which it makes reference to the hardness of the exile. And what a exile! Ten years with guerroyer under the walls of Troy with the other Greeks, nine years to be wandered on the seas with the research of the way of the return. Because,it is to it the post-war period; it is the account of the returns of the Greek heroes in their hearths, more particularly the recit of the return of Ulysses. During nearly ten years, Ulysses fights to leave the inhospitable regions where, inlassablement, it fails; during ten years, this so difficult return will lead it of one exile to the other.


By Jean-Baptist Baronian
The Literary Magazine n°468
October 2007

In addition to Alfred Jarry and Octave Mirbeau, the white Review accomodated talented writers, aujourd’hui forgotten.

Jarry and Octave Mirbeau, the white Review accomodated talented writers, aujourd’hui forgotten.

“Center of rallying of all the divergences” according to the formula d’André Gide, the white Review regularly makes l’objet, these last decades, d’études and of work. Witness, the very recent bibliography of the a hundred and forty pounds qu’elle published, of 1892 to 1902, established by Patrick Fréchet with the editions of Lérot (see the literary Magazine n° 461). (more…)

Kafka Pragois

Posted: October 10, 2007 in Kafka, Literary Essay, Literary Magazine

By Jean Montalbetti

Literary magazine n° 198
September 1983

1983. Whole Europe celebrates the centenary of Kafka. In Paris, a conference is devoted to him to the Sorbonne. But Prague, city whose Kafka is indissociable, continuous to regard it as a declining author, of which proscire is needed work and the memory.

“It seemed to to me that the nature of works of Kafka is such that it is likely to make of him the completely frightening civil servant of the Castle which he describes (…) It is the humour which prevents Kafka from becoming this monument petrified and risen by the mass of interpretations that one brings.”
Vaclav Jamek


Benefits of the controversy
By Jean-Louis Hoots

L’art of the polemic goes up with highest Antiquity “Polemos [ the conflict ] is the father of all things and the king of all things”, affirmed Héraclite. All l’histoire of Greek philosophy can be summarized with a succession of arguments. Oscillating between theoretical debates and personal attacks, refutation and invective, this practice of the controversy, lengthily ground in the Platonic dialogues, n’a ceased d’échauffer philosophers. In the middle of the XIXe century, Schopenhauer reformulated of them the rules and the tricks in a treated court, nicely entitled L’Art to always d’avoir reason. Enumerating thirty-eight stratagems, the philosopher taught how to be right at all costs by sapping the arguments of l’adversaire and while showing himself of worse faith than him. After having suggested many easy ways, pretences and pro­vocations, Schopenhauer advised like ultimate ad personam l’attaque recourse, by showing “die­sobligeant, aggressive, offensive, coarse”.

This file of the literary Magazine is made l’écho various invectives, insults, mocking remarks and insults that the philosophers during two millenia launched out. Perhaps one will reproach us for bringing back squabbles sometimes worthy d’une playground “polé­the mists disgust me”, said Bernanos, repenting the pannings of which it overpowered so many of its contemporaries. The polemic, when it concerns the mania, is useless, even degrading. But it can be salutary when it emerges with relevance to revive the debate. It s’apparente then with a tournament where it s’agit less to embank l’adversaire that to d’enrichir a common reflexion.
This file wants to be an illustration of the good use of the dialectical one. It recalls by the menu the most famous duels, and most fertile, of l’histoire of philosophy “the controversy is often beneficial with l’un as with l’autre, of the fact qu’ils rub their heads between them, and is used for each one d’eux to rectify its own thoughts, and also to conceive new sights”, concludes in its Schopenhauer treaty which, definitely, had…

Read the completed content of this edition at

By Hubert June
in literary magazine n° 120
January 1977

It is to Mrs Hanska that Balzac very entrusted. The “Letters” which were restored to us, in 1976, by Roger Pierrot form most invaluable of the comments to “the human Comedy”

What there is astonishing of and applicant in the world by the library, it is that the authors most notably known reserve surprises, and that one does not come from there, finally, never with end. I want to say that these surprises are serious and call into question numbers established concepts. As well Balzac was done various as to gather them all together one would attend a ball dressed up (and masked) the most succeeded of.

So that it is necessary, fortunately, to recover some to the patient work from the editors. One of most important, for our matter, publishes the final edition of one of the beautiful books of Balzac, which is a correspondence. The editor, it is Roger Pierrot. The book: “Letters with Mrs Hanska” (editions of the Delta). It is of other key to this book only the reading: I do not know anything, for my part, of also enthralling, and I want to say why. With the risk to shock, I affirm that Balzac attracts the prigs as much as honey the flies: one is Balzac by mood, which arranges all (at least this is there what one believes commonly). In reality, all is contrary: if Balzac is not a temptation, it is that it is nothing! See: the thickness of work is made of an exceptional transparency. It is a paradox, but which touches finger: between Balzac and its work the distance is carefully maintained. One said for Balzac – which from this point of view does not say anything – that Balzac was not nowhere, whereas it is enough to read it, with a natural transport, to understand that it is everywhere. When I walk in the lanes of high-Angouleme, I am Balzac in fact, and drawn out of Angouleme to be returned, all, in Balzac. “the lost Illusions”, it is not a veil, but on the contrary, a tear. I included/understood that in the place that I said, in a time when I was obstinated not to include/understand the “Balzac ones” (it is as that which should be said), because the geographical place who is Angouleme is split like fig even or open nut (it is a fruit which comes to Charente) to allow Balzac, a cane with the hand, to appear. I had sworn that one would not take to me more there.

The crib

And here me is captive. With new. And, again, I see under work the man. I know value of criticism of today, and that it is necessary to distract the work from the alibis that the criticism of yesterday gave him, which was, as well, to speak only about the entours. I include/understand the advantage of a scientific step of pace. But finally, these combined headlights that are Balzac, and Stendhal, they seen are reduced with écirture alone? And can that be conceived? They have curious passion to exist. Stendhal is polygraph before being a novelist. Balzac is supplier with the sheet. It is enough to say that they are summarized only in them. In fact complicated machines are located in the first ranks of these named bats, by the old authors and Alexandre Vialatte, men. They teach quality, which must return to us modest.

What it is necessary to initially say of the “Letters for Mrs Hanska”, it is that they make a work in margin of the general correspondence. It is what Pierrot showed by separating these letters from the others, that it publishes in addition (Traditional Garnier). When the two sets appear, we will undoubtedly not see Balzac differently, but will see we it better. Although I come from there to doubt that, so much the letters with Polonaise teach Balzac with those who saw it badly, and inform the others about the capacities of this wretched fellow. It is that it is necessary to take these letters in the tread of the great period of creation (at least for the second volume, which rameute 112 missives written from March 1841 to June 1845), then, generally, in a relationship with the works in progress: one seizes, here, which it is that the memory of Balzac. It is movement, not arrangement. It is dynamic and creative. Balzac, it is an eye – and a dream.

Better: with good lira the letters of this man who did without newspaper or notes, and with which Mrs Hanska, literally, was used as crib – still that it did not keep of doubles, nor did not redemandait its mail to him: it was enough for him, once and for all, to write -, I imagine that one will découvira what Proust, in his “Against Sainte-Beuve”, said being “the admirable invention of Balzac, to have kept the same characters in all its novels”. It well here is perceived: it is that the universe of Balzac does not extend in latitude and longitude, but increases in gravity and depth. It is not spread out, this world, it thickens. The memory of the writer resembles more one madrepore than with a land register: sedimentations occur, which weigh down the vision. And it is wonder, suddenly, to perceive the large man in the center of his theatre, character among his characters (what “the human Comedy” gives, at the bottom, little with entendre).Barbey of Aurevilly, which said by political dandyism some stupid things about it, was not mistaken while writing: “Balzac did not need to be invented romantic. Naturally, it was – and perhaps most romantic for it of all the heroes of novel which it had invented!”

Beautiful and rich

In such way that the beginning of the relations with Mrs Hanska is due narrowly to the romantic one. In Odessa, in February 1832, a woman who signs “Foreign” the address a letter with Balzac via the Gosselin editor. This message was to be of an extremely remarkable interest, since we see Balzac showing of it reception by the way of the small advertisements, in the Gazette of France initially, and in the Daily one then. It is into 1833 that “the Foreign one” will take figure in its eyes: it meets it in Neufchâtel, then in Geneva. Balzac, which is prompt to ignite, ignites at once. Mrs Hanska, born countess Rzewuska, fore-mentioned Eve, wife of U noble Polish, belongs to an old family. She is beautiful, undoubtedly, but she is rich. Then the most extraordinary ballet of the world starts. It will finish only in March 1850, by a marriage, a few months before the death of the writer.

One said much evil of Mrs Hanska and undoubtedly deserves it this fate. But one said, on this subject, much of evil of Balzac, reproaching him a little heavy consents which it made, writing to close relations that it was going to marry a situation and a fortune, and not so much a woman. Andre Wurmser, in his masterly book (“Balzac visionary”, éd.Seuil), joined, from this point of view, which said Marcel Proust to his mother: that Balzac missed delicacy. It is necessary to see, seems to me it, the things differently: Balzac amourache in 1832 on the faith of some letters, is impassioned in 1833 with the first meeting, is caught of a sharp hope in 1842 when Venceslas Hanski dies, but it marries only in 1850 with the day before to die. Add to that of the many races through Europe: Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Russia… Constancy – at least – y is. And more still: it is to Mrs Hanska that Balzac entrusts all, and initially what is due to him to the body: its work. The Letters, such as they are restored to us by Roger Pierrot, form most invaluable of the comments to “the human Comedy” which can be imagined.

All that was mysterious or secret, the reason of transitory characters who hardly appear on the scene for disappearing at once, the roots, it is here that one will find of them most surely the keys. Better: it is in the comparison that the reader can make between the anecdote delivered by the Letters and the savour of the novel published, that the reader precisely will measure the creative power of Balzac. Albert Béguin said: Balzac the visionary. Yes! of a matter of living room, it makes an unforgettable character. Of a circumstance even, a considerable romantic event. Not that the Letters with Mrs Hanska are a laboratory: on the contrary, one sees there the novelist in the noise of the life.

Balzac is thus…

There are amusing things. Balzac was not a ladies’ man (like one says), but it was a man who loved the women (what is better) in these ways of engagement which is stretched over eighteen years, there are connections. Acrobatics which it makes to dissimulate them with the remote beloved are not to be believed: it is a swaying walk penaud.

Of course, the question arises: Was Balzac in love? One would have – now (thanks to the Letters) – bad thanks to denying it: it is only to see in which state the met its passion, and how it is deluded with hope to fall at once into the darkest discouragement. That it has seen – in the same time – beautiful party that it could to make, and there that it was possible good to sit a fortune which had been unceasingly staggering, it is undeniable. Balzac is thus, it is necessary to put up with it. It devours all in the time even where its work devours it. In the last months of its life, when it is made collector, it is itself that it will put at the museum (but it will be it his). It has the vanity of the large workers.

When he dies, Eve will deliver to the public only one handle of letters: she will claim that the others were destroyed in Moscow. it should be waited until in its turn she disappears to find them, and it is eminent Balzac Charles de Spoelberch de Lovenjour who, at the end of last century, was at the origin of the version until today only known. This edition did not go without defects (Roger Pierrot gives the precise reasons of them, and it is necessary to refer to its foreword): there were mutilations due to the propriety authorized to the people still in life (or with their direct heirs), and especially the dating of the missives was – in the ignorance of a true Balzac “calendar” – whimsical. The 35 letters delivered to the public by Mrs Hanska into 1876 become four large volumes joining together more than 400 letters, but ausi one of the most astonishing works of Balzac, and the essential comment with the reading of “the human Comedy”.

A stupid history
By Jean-Louis Hoots

Let us not rock the reader d’illusions: the silly thing does not leave not grown this file. Qu’il s’agisse of literature, of philosophy or of policy, it appears equal to itself. Monster afflicting, underhand, relentless, which binds the spirits and involves them towards the abyssals zone. The reign of the silly thing starts with the death of God and his angels, when l’Histoire and l’opinion public s’emparent world. Exit l’idiot and the insane one. Place at the animals and rough, with remained and stupid, with the imbeciles of the plains and the cretins of the mountains.

This n’est not a return towards the Middle Ages but well a modern diving in l’âge, of which Tocqueville was the first to have a presentiment of the dangers. The democratic capacity, prophesied it, “does not tyrannize, it obstructs, it compresses, it extinguishes, it stupefies, and it reduces finally each nation to n’être more qu’un d’animaux shy persons and industrial herd whose government is the shepherd”. All is in order so that the silly thing triumphs and becomes, crystallized in its torpors, its tricks and its buffoonery, l’obsession of the novelists. Flaubert made his preferred enemy of it, and sought to muzzle it “We suffer only d’une thing: the Silly thing, entrusted it to George Sand. But it is formidable and universal “the Such white monster continued by Achab, the Animal, qu’il had tracked through its œuvre whole, escaped to him. The Dictionary of the generally accepted ideas was to be used as common grave to all the conneries given birth to by ḻhumanity. Mow. This work d’ensevelissement remained unfinished, as if the silly thing were a subject too vast and proliferating to be able to be thus contained. D’autres, after Flaubert, dreamed d’un catalogues which would garner all ineptitudes, remarks useless and dilatory, stupid things and boobs encumbering this low world. Titanic ambition, so much the tricks and the faces of the silly thing are multiple. It proceeds by metastases, plays of mirror, put in abyme. It is prodigiously talkative, and quasi inexhaustible when it speaks d’elle-même. Very like televisual nothing, which proceeds by the same set of repetitions and narcissistic assemblies to carry out the greatest number to l’abrutissement, the silly thing likes s’autocélébrer. “In the large idiot, all is good”, assene l’un anonymous imbeciles whose Jean-Marie Gourio s’est makes the faithful rapporteur in her Short of counter. And still: “When you have a life of idiot, is not necessary especially to be intelligent, you suffer more” Or: “connery, c’est that the immersed part of l’iceberg. Below, one does not see what you think “One would like to quote, jusqu’à more thirst, because the silly thing thus ingurgitée by small glasses is like the song of the sirens, it fascine and petrifies. Thus let us let spread out it its sufficiency in a long procession of matter of counters, commonplaces, well-worn jokes. And fault of being able to make it burst, let us take the party d’en to laugh.


Book Review by Dmetri Kakmi

When Elif Safak’s latest novel was released in her home country, she was arraigned and accused of insulting Turkish identity. The charges were fortunately withdrawn; had she been charged, she could have faced up to three years incarceration, this in the latter stages of pregnancy. Safak escaped imprisonment, but the death threats keep coming from ultra-nationalists and they are to be taken seriously. These people are, after all, the ones who killed Armenian journalist Hrank Dink last year. The consequences of this unwarranted kerfuffle in a supposedly democratic nation is that one of Turkey’s most prominent and liveliest voices is too afraid to venture out. She is so stressed, she is finding it difficult to breast feed her baby. On a positive note, it’s worth noting that the Turkish edition of the book was, nevertheless, a bestseller.

But what is the fuss about? For the answer we must examine the novel itself.

First and foremost, The Bastard of Istanbul is a cross-continental family saga. It examines in loving detail and with much humour the lives of two families: one living in contemporary Istanbul and Turkish, the other residing in San Francisco and Armenian. They are the Kazanci and Tchakhmakhchian families, respectively. It appears initially that the two have nothing in common. But don’t be fooled. Turkey is the classic metaphoric haunted house, sitting astride the continental divide; consequently, from inside its many rooms the past and present are still largely at war, while from unexplored corners voices are trying to be heard, come what may. In other words, every ethnic and religious group that has traversed Anatolian soil has at one time or another shared a bed with the opposition. It’s called sleeping with the enemy. Often not only does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing, but there are two or more sides to every story. The consequences of this incessant kvetching is that no one is unsullied. This is where the Kazanci and the Tchakhmakhchian s are implicated. They do not know it, but long fingers are reaching from the blighted past to inextricably bind them together for all time. The conduits that will bridge the gap, that privilege, belongs to the young. And they are a spunky crew.

The first is the bastard of the title, nineteen-year-old Asya Kazanci. She is a modern Turk, rebellious, outspoken, and belligerently without a past, in more ways than one. She is also the youngest of a household of several generations of women, the men having died mysteriously at a young age. The second conduit is Armanoush Tchakhmakhchian. She is sensitive and searching for her Armenian roots in, of all places, the American desert. Her curiosity about the ‘genocide’ of the Armenians compels her to finally meet the enemy on their own turf. Thus she deceives her family and flies to Istanbul to learn more about her beloved grandmother’s past. She cannot know what a Pandora’s box she is opening, and what a hidden blessing she will find.

It’s an intriguing premise that allows the horrors of what took place in 1915 to slowly rise to the surface. I won’t go into more detail because the scenario Safak creates, the intrigues, the agonies, the loops and connections, the surprising revelations, ought to be discovered on ones own. I will say, though, that I was so captivated that I swallowed the book whole in two days and when I finished, I read it over again. I didn’t want to part with the characters. They are so alive and so familiar to anyone who has grown up in that part of the world. And the contradictory face of modern Istanbul is so beautifully evoked.

What I can say is this. This is a smart and brave book, by a smart and brave author. Firstly because it attempts something that is quite difficult to pull off in literary terms. The Bastard of Istanbul is an absorbing and artfully composed meditation on Turkey’s changing face. The trick is that it is posing as an easily digestible popular entertainment, complete with lashing of scrumptious Turkish food (there’s a recipe), transgressive (for Turkey) gestures, and illicit encounters.

Second, by using the Kacanci household as a metaphor for her country (the women are split right down the middle: half are conservative, while the others move with the times), Safak explores Turkey’s amnesiac brain with a deftness and compassion that ought to be applauded. She is, when one reads carefully, being fair to both sides. Despite what I said above, Asya Kazanci is not the bastard of the story. Turkey is. This is because, as Safak suggests, the country exists almost purely in the present, with a steady eye on the future. Sure, it embraced the glories of the Ottoman past, but it has almost entirely divorces itself from the more painful elements of that imperial glory. The pangs of nation building might as well have happened in another country, not merely in the near past. In this regard, Turkey is shown to us as a bastard afloat in time. And what Safak suggests is that a country without a full knowledge of its past is not a country at all, just as a person without a past feels less than human. With one particular plot permutation, Safak goes on to suggest that the country might even have an unhealthy or even unnatural relationship with its sense of self. It must first embrace both the good and bad in its history before it can begin to even dream about moving forward.

If the book is hard on Turks, it does not go easy on Armenians either. Those with victim complexes to nurture, beware. You will find little or no solace here. Safak deftly avoids mentioning the word ‘genocide’. Instead she uses the noun ‘massacre’. There is, after all, no proof that the Ottomans sanctioned a systemic annihilation of the Armenian people along the lines of what the Nazis did to the Jews and other ‘undesirables’. There is, however, ample evidence to show that Armenian legionaries inside and outside Turkey fought for the Russians and the French against the Ottomans during World War One. In an effort to safeguard the interests of the country, the Ottomans forcefully deported a very large number of Armenians (the figure is disputed) in the July heat from the northeast of the country to the far southeast. Many cruelly perished along the way.

The beauty of Safak’s book is that it is not a political diatribe. Rather, it is a humanist plea to recognise the past, to commemorate the dead, and to finally move on. Far from seeming glib, it is a sensible solution.

*This review is officially published in Istanbul Literary Review, visit