Friday, October 25, 2013

"Haunted House" by Pierre Reverdy Translated by John Ashbery

Pierre Reverdy
For me it's the perfect book to bring with you in the bathtub.  If you read it slowly, and wait till the water reaches your chin, it is sort of the ideal situation with regards to this book.   "Haunted House" may be the first prose piece or fiction published in English by this great poet Pierre Reverdy.  The poet John Ashbery translated Reverdy's prose into English, which can't be the easiest thing in the world.  Nevertheless this is very much a classic Surrealist text - where the images flow dream-like against the other image.  

In the back of the book the publisher/editor compares this work to Lautréamont's "Chants de Maldoror" which is a fair comparison.  Both books bring up a dread that can't really be described, it is more of a mood piece than anything else.  As a reader you just follow the pathway and let the writing take you to another place.   For those who have a collection of Surrealist text, "Haunted House" is an important part of that textural world.  It is a fave of Andre Breton, so he knows!

The Brooklyn Rail/Black Square Editions (ISBN: 978-1-934029-01-5

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