Louis Calaferte – Le Sang violet de l’améthyste / The Violet Blood of the Amethyst

Posted on September 8, 2012

Louis Calaferte
Le Sang violet de l’améthyste (extraits) / The Violet Blood of the Amethyst (excerpts)
translated from the French by John Taylor

published in The Black herald, issue 3, September 2012 / publié dans le n° 3 du Black Herald, septembre 2012


buy issue 3 of The Black Herald / acheter le numéro 3 du Black Herald


Louis Calaferte (1928-1994) was a prolific and controversial novelist, short-prose writer, poet, playwright, and diarist. His best-known books include Requiem des innocents (1952), the erotic novel Septentrion (1963) and La Mécanique des femmes (1992). Only two of his works have appeared in English: the latter, under the title The Way it Works with Women, and C’est la guerre(both Northwestern University Press). As a troubling sequence of interconnected poems, short prose narratives, and quotations, his posthumously published Le Sang violet de l’améthyste (1998) offers the entire gamut of Calaferte’s themes and writing styles. Louis Calaferte (1928-1994), romancier, nouvelliste, dramaturge, poète prolifique et controversé, est l’auteur, entre autres, de Requiem des innocents (1952), Septentrion (1963) et La Mécanique des femmes (1992). Le Sang violet de l’améthyste, séquence de poèmes, de citations et de courts récits entrelacés, fut publié à titre posthume en 1998.

John Taylor is the author of the three-volume Paths to Contemporary French Literature andInto the Heart of European Poetry (Transaction). He has also written six books of stories, short prose and poetry, the latest of which is If Night is Falling (Bitter Oleander Press, 2012). He writes the “Poetry Today” column in the Antioch Review and contributes regularly to the TLS. He has recently translated books by Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Philippe Jaccottet, and Jacques Dupin. In 2011, he won a grant from the Sonia Raiziss Charitable Foundation to translate Louis Calaferte’s Le Sang violet de l’améthyste (to be published by Chelsea Editions). John Taylor est l’auteur dePaths to Contemporary French Literature, de Into the Heart of European Poetry (Transaction), de six recueils de nouvelles, de prose et de poésie, dont Apocalypse Tapestries (Xenos Books) et deUne certaine joie (Tarabuste, 2009). Il est aussi le traducteur de Philippe Jacottet, de Pierre-Albert Jourdan, de Louis Calaferte, de Jacques Dupin et de George Perros.


Le Sang violet de l’améthyste, Louis Calaferte © Éditions Gallimard, 1998.