Literary Review — No 20, summer 2005

Abstracts

Ar voudig hag an abadenn vell-droad - Beaj Furludu - Pluenngaer ha Pluennvil Maelenn Bernard
The fairy and the football match - Furludu's journey - Nicequill and Nastyquill Three tales by Maelenn Bernard, first form pupil in Diwan school in Vannes.
Tr. Y. Coudroy
Mervel a ra goustad
He dies slowly
Pablo Neruda
translated by Tomaz Jacquet
Dilost-hañv
Late summer
René Guy Cadou
translated by Laorañs Motrot
E-sell d'ober poltred un evn
To paint the portrait of a bird
Jacques Prévert
translated by Laorañs Motrot
Annezadur diwar Installation,
"Moving in" based on "Installation"
Alphonse Daudet
translated by Laorañs Motrot
Queen Mary 2, Du-mañ, Akariom, Hevelebour, A-hent-dall, Tristat gwalarn
Queen Mary 2, At home, Aquarium, For King and Community, Blind alley, Sad Old Norse
Laorañs Motrot Tr Y. Coudroy
Lizheroùigoù da Fa
Tiny short letters to Fa
Yann-Ber Quirion

The beauty of flowers is that they die. Nothing more distressing than a granite sculpture carved to last. What is great is the fragility of stone, the grooves, the erosion and the wounds of cold.
[…]
Where is the sorrow ? You do. I do. No need to word. You are not my love. You are not love. You are.

Roazhon a-bezh a red
Everybody runs in Rennes
Gab Cherel Tr. Yves Coudroy
To René, my – almost – fellow citizen.
Curro ergo cogito.
– Hi there, Yann ! How are you ?
– (Yann grunts)
– But you feel fit, don't you ? – I'll tell you when I'm there. Yann isn't very talkative this morning, hardly polite even. Well, Gregor isn't the kind of lad who'll get flustered over so little, this won't stop him… – Look, Yann who's the starter ? Robert ! He doesn't run anymore, I think. He must be too old. He was champion of Europe of the ten-thousand-meter race in the sixties, wasn't he ? And three years running… – … – And, oh, did you notice ? Can't you see Grall over there, among the competitors ? He has been running the 100-kilometer race 501 times. Can you believe that ? And you know, in the last race in Plouvorn he was well placed. – … Nothing doing – Whatever Gregor says to try and start a conversation while waiting for the race to start, Yann won't open his mouth. Sore ? Cross at him ? No, worried rather ; that's it – he must be worried, because today is a very special day. "Tout Rennes Court – s'mi Ouest France – 21km" and our two friends, one as well as the other, even though they are not all that young anymore, have a good mind to mount the podium and be given a cup. In that kind of open competition, there are two ways of ranking the finishers ; according to their order of arrival, that's "scratch", but also according to their age or sex. That's why Yann and Gregor both find themselves in S4, or in other words in "class 4 senior runners". They are past seventy, Yann has been for four years now, and Gregor is a newcomer to the seventy-year old club, as he reached this venerable age only a month ago. "A real windbag that bloke !" thought Yann, "but I'm not going to be buggered by a lad his age, that's for sure." When I tell you Yann was called "Everfirst" among marathon runners, you'll understand how much pressure he had to put up with. A glimpse on Basque contemporary literature The legend of the Black Oak Francis Basterot A selection of poems Dust or Ashes Itxaro Borda A selection of poems I walk the line Itxaro Borda A detective short story Point of view Drougaberzh Avraham Marsel Poulain The sacrifice of Abraham In a penetrating analysis of two famous topics of the Bible, Abraham's sacrifice and the Golden Calf, Marsel Poulain points to the central issue of history in the making. History as a creation and the denial of it are analysed in the case of contemporary Brittany. "One can see there a ritual aimed at attracting God's benevolence while sacrificing to him one's most precious belonging. Like a many other Biblical texts, Abrahm's story is mainly of human significance. It tells that God does not request such a sacrifice. […] Let us leave the Church. We are in Brittany. Every Breton is guilty. Guilty of what ? Of being, and being Breton. […] The guilty conscience reaches first all those who were imbedded in the traditional culture and heritage for, more than the others, they feel divided between that culture and its rejection by the official and social system. How to get rid of the heavy burden of culpability ? By the sacrifice ! One understands the obstination of certain people to destroy the most invaluable they have. In that way Roparz Hemon appears as the ideal sacrificial victim. […] To worship the Golden Calf is first of all a return to the past, last embellished, disencumbered of any element of crisis. It is a rejection of history as a creation, and anchoring out of history. […] The worship of the Golden Calf joins again in deep the bonds between the oppressor and the oppressed, linked around the same idol. It expresses and strengthen the psychological trends that are at the ground of every resignation and every forfeiture." Angerzh ar Vretoned vat Pierrette Kermoal The passion of Good Bretons Like the Hebrew in front of the golden calf, a lot of Breton speakers show how anxious they are to erase the break, to refuse creating history. The break to erase is Gwalarn, the literary review created by Roparz Hemon in 1925, a founding event in our literature. The way back is barred like with the Sea that swamped the soldiers of Pharaon. The Good Bretons, heart divided between their Breton feelings and their desire to be welcome in the French realm, are looking for a way to come back to the former situation, to refuse History. In Nenn Jani, the last novel of Roparz Hemon, a picture of the small people of Brest before World War I, they find the adequate channel : it unites the people turned toward – old style – Brittany and those turned toward the proletarians. Consensual and harmless, this roman is highly acceptable. The entire Breton literature is what the Good Bretons want to render "acceptable" when they request that it be translated in French : to demonstrate that it conceals nothing bad ! They don't mention translations in the most spread languages, which is however what our literature needs to go to the world. The French translations that have been produced so far locks it up in the folklore, or make it a part of the French literature. Indeed the break is erased. A few writers of Gwalarn's team have made attempts to erase the break they observed between the Emsav and the society, between the Emsav and contemporary philosophical movements, including communism. That is what Abeozen tries to achieve in his novels Hervelina Geraouell and Argantael. Although he pictures characters turned to Brittany and Marx in the same time, he fails to give motion to a dialectics between them and construct a theory. Differing from the Good Breton's behaviour, he doesn't attempt to refuse the creating of history but understand distinct historical courses.

To go fast

Ar penngwenn Marie France Coïc The Penguin Tr. Yves Coudroy The Penguin, Smert postoronnevo in Russian (The death of the Foreigner), a novel by Andreï Kourkov, a writer who lives in Kiev. How to make the reader laugh as death is hovering over people ? How to move him in a novel where fun prevails, and all the while draw a pitiless picture of a corrupting society ? These are the contradictions and paradoxes in Andreï Kourkov's novel. With a lot of humour too, Marie France Coïc makes us discover the unexpected adventures of Victor Alexeïevitch, a writer who is losing his inspiration, and Micha, a penguin who lives with him in his flat, in Kiev. It's not easy for Micha to manage in the flat, but it's not easier for Viktor to find his place in society…The novel was published eight years ago ; events have just caught up with it. let's bet Viktor Alexeïevitch's fame will last longer than that of his two political namesakes. Lydia Cassatt o lenn ar gelaouenn veure, gant Harriet Scott Chessman Joelle Kermoal–Furic Lydia Cassatt reading the Morning Paper, by Harriet Scott Chessman Harriet Scott Chessman's novel tells the story of two characters who actually lived : Mary Cassat, the painter, and Lydia, her sister and also her model The five parts of the work refer to five paintings of Mary Cassat. Woman reading, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NA The cup of tea, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Lydia crocheting in the garden at Marly, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Woman and child driving, Philadelphia Museum of Art Lydia working at a tapestry-loom, Collection of the Flint Institute of Arts. The action takes place at the end of the 19th century, in Paris. Mary is involved in the "impressionist" movement. She intends to become a recognized painter and to that end she remains unmarried and childless. Lydia is badly sick. Each one expresses her concern of the other through the painting. For Lydia posing for her sister is a manner to take part in the act of creation. For Mary, the paintings are a manner to accompany her sister, to illustrate the authenticity of her soul. "One doesn't dare to say that it is moving, says Joelle Kermoal-Furic, for it is more than that, art creating ties between the two sisters, between the reader and Mary Cassatt, between the painter and the writer, between the women of the 19th century the women of today, between life and death" Lydia Cassatt reading the Morning Paper, Harriet Scott Chessman, The Permanent Press & Seven Stories Press, 2001.

Film review

"Vera Drake", gant Mike Leigh Yann-Ber Quirion "Vera Drake", by Mike Leigh Vera Drake, the main character, her husband, her brother-in-law, her daughter, other people around her : poor folk living a colourless life, sharing with the others what they have. Next door, Vera's son and his aunt, plunged in the world of consumption, angry to improve their situation to get the cons of the industrial world. Which ones actually are in history ? Which ones are on the fringes ? The lowliest being is Vera and her fellows. Their situation drives them to become animals, or even to the most human. No need for the film to preach for being a work and propose modestly the lively production of Mankind. The film goes ahead clam without effects ; the actors having rejected any overplay. The show is a real pleasure, one of those rare heartening moments. .Notennoù