Lydia Davis

Posted on 2 octobre 2009

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Il suffit de quelques mots pour avoir envie de plus encore. Lydia Davis serait un écrivain d’écrivain selon Intelligent Life, l’excellent supplément trimestriel de The Economist.

Pour mieux lire, rien ne vaut qu’écrire ; pour savoir écrire, il est si bon de lire : autant vivre en lisant en écrivant. Pour le dire de manière ramassé comme le Républicain Pierre Assouline : un écrivain est d’abord un lecteur.

Traductrice, parce qu’écrivain, entre autres de Proust, Lydia Davis considère que “Translating makes me much more acutely aware of shades of meaning (…) You have a set problem and you can’t get around it by avoiding it. You have to pick just the right word. (…) I keep learning new words, (…) I also like being immersed in another culture, and a different way of saying things. It’s refreshing to go into that other culture and then come back into my life.

Chut, la lire comme l’invite l’article par ces extraits de Break it down qui raconte une histoire simple de calcul économique de vacances, qui se tresse en souvenirs d’amours passés :
– “He’s sitting there staring at a piece of paper. He’s trying to break it down.
– « …I was afraid to say it but I had to say it because I wanted her to know, it was the last night, I had to tell her then or I’d never have another chance, I just said, Before you go to sleep, I have to tell you before you go to sleep that I love you, and immediately, right away after, she said, I love you too, and it sounded to me as if she didn’t mean it, a little flat, but then it usually sounds a little flat when someone says, I love you too, because they’re just saying it back even if they do mean it, and the problem is that I’ll never know if she meant it, or maybe someday she’ll tell me whether she meant it or not, but there’s no way to know now, and I’m sorry I did that, it was a trap I didn’t mean to put her in, I can see it was a trap, because if she hadn’t said anything at all I know that would have hurt too…« 

& :
Chut, je lis | 18 novembre 1922 | Prescription de libraire@LitteraturOL.
Peut-être écrire ensuite.

Ajouts – Add-ons au bénéfice de son Collected Stories (Farrar, Strauss and Giraux) ouvrant son magnifique papier doux de blond, ouvert sur une table de lecture :
– « If I were not me and overhead me from below, as a neighbor, talking to him, I would says to myself how glad I was not be her, not to be sounding the way she is sounding, with a voice like her voice and an opinion like her opinion. But I cannot hear myself from below, as a neighbor, I cannot hear how I would be if I could hear her. Then again, since I am her, I am not sorry to be there, up above, where I cannot hear her as a neighbor, where I cannot say to myself, as I would have to from below, how glad I am not to be her« . (From Below, as a Neighbor, page 287).
– « Sat down to read Foucault with pencil in hand. Knocked over glass of water onto waiting-room floor. Put down Foucault and the pencil in hand. Stopped to write note in notebook. Took up Foucault with pencil in hand. Counselor beckoned from doorway. Put away Foucault and pencil as well as notebook and pen. Sat with counsellor discussing situation fraught with conflict taking form of many heated arguments. Counselor pointed to danger, raised red flag. Left counselor, went to subway. Sat in subway car, took out Foucault and the pencil but did not read, throught instead about situation fraught with conflict, red flag, recent argument concerning travel (…) Put down Foucault and the pencil, took out notebook and made note of what was now at least understood about lack of understanding reading Foucault, looked up at other passengers, thought again about argument, made note of same question about argument as before though with stress on different word. » (Foucault and Pencil, pages 151-153).

Ajout d’ajout – Stacked add-on (2010-04) : A long, in-depth and litterature-loving article published by the New York of Books on the book  Collected Stories.

Posted in: Littérature