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12.6.05

Bernard Manciet

Here's the latest Ionarts literary scoop (the last one was about Michel Houellebecq's new novel), which comes from an article (C'était l'Homère gascon, June 9) by Jean-Louis Ezine for Le Nouvel Observateur (my translation):

We know about Montaigne, Montesquieu, Mauriac: the three M's, the three Aquitainian musketeers. Naturally, as is always the case with this sort of thing, the three are actually four. But who knows about the fourth? Nevertheless, Bernard Manciet was the most Aquitainian and the most swashbuckling of that illustrious group, him for whom the word was a sword edge, always battling for diversity in the world and pushing his taste for the rapier to the point of living and dying in Sabres [where he was born in 1923], a little town in the Landes that he celebrated in a strange work, L'Enterrement à Sabres (Burial in Sabres), an epic of more than 5,000 lines, at once a theological poem, a majestic will, and a living cosmogony, modeled on funeral ceremonies in the ancient Latin world.
Some quick checking has shown that none of his books are available in English translation. Not as much of his work was published as could have been possible, because Manciet chose to write in Occitan and insisted that his publisher print his works only in bilingual French-Occitan editions. What did get published is available in that format from Editions L'Escampette. Bernard Manciet, who was often mentioned as a possible future Nobel laureat, died during the night on June 2. I'm going to try to read one of his books this summer.

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