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«Chêne et Chien»

A Translation with Commentary by Madeleine Velguth

Madeleine Catherine Velguth

The French writer Raymond Queneau (1903-1976) is coming to be recognized as one of the major voices in 20th-century literature. Although twelve of his novels have been translated, Chêne et Chien, considered by specialists to be the keystone of his oeuvre, has not until now been available in English. Labeled a «novel in verse» by Queneau, this autobiographical poem recounts the poet's childhood, portions of that childhood revisited through psychoanalysis, and finally his joy at finding himself whole. The translator's introduction situates the work in Queneau's life and oeuvre, addresses the problem of poetry as autobiography, examines the structure of the poem itself and discusses the difficulties of translating Queneu's many moods and rich wordplay into English verse. Explanatory notes complete the volume.
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Madeleine Catherine Velguth

Madeleine Velguth analyzes the representation of women in the first six novels of Raymond Queneau (1903-1976) in the context of the social and intellectual climate of early twentieth-century France. Her balanced approach shows how surrealism, psychoanalysis and autobiography inform Queneau's sympathetic and finely-drawn portraits of women. Revealing previously unnoticed structures, Velguth's study presents these works as an organic whole: six variations on the theme of the slow maturing of the man and the artist.