Shop > Artists' Books

#14253

Wishes

Writer
Georges Perec
Translator
Mara Cologne Wythe-Hall
Price
$25.50
Date
2018
Publisher
Wakefield Press
Format
Artists' Books
Size
15.5 × 23 cm
Length
229 pp
Genre
Creative Writing
Description

“In the beginning was the pun,” Samuel Beckett once wrote. And so it was that Georges Perec brought the good word to his friends and acquaintances on a yearly basis as an expression of his best wishes for the New Year. Wishes gathers together these ten pamphlets of homophonic wordplay that Perec sent out from 1970 until his death in 1982, originally printed at his own expense in limited quantities. This paean to the pun consists of a series of short prose pieces—alternately humorous, enigmatic, banal, and absurd—each concluding with a list of the everyday bits and pieces of language lying at their root. English proverbs, Latin phrases, the names of composers, jazz artists, filmmakers, crime novelists, and book titles are all fodder for Perec’s homophonic translations in which the meaning of words gives way to their sounds, which in turn generate new meanings (and in turn, new texts): John Coltrane turns into an anecdote about a wanderer with severe ring around the collar; Michelangelo Antonioni’s first movie transforms into a prophecy of a murderous holiday; the phrase “All’s well that ends well” becomes a pregnant cow named Alice hailed by a drunk Satan; and Maurice Ravel proves to be a warning against corpses with a predilection for root vegetables.

These texts and their marriage of sound to meaning present a fundamental challenge to any attempt at translation, and bring into stark relief the choices translators are often forced to make in their endeavors. This English edition sidesteps such choices by offering two alternate translations: a traditional one focused on the literal semantic content of Perec’s texts, and another (here termed a “transmogrification”) focused on their formal phonological play.

Wishes presents a relentlessly playful Perec, and demonstrates language’s endless urge to undermine its own meaning: a rebellious phonology where words don’t just make love in the Surrealist tradition, but actually procreate.

  1. Wishes
 

Related Items

  1. Georges Perec and the Oulipo: Winter Journeys
  2. Andrew J Paterson: Not Joy Division
  3. Liz Knox: Commentariat
  4. Sarah Sze: Centrifuge
  5. Mira Mexico
  6. Jaclyn Bruneau, Robert Dayton, Jacquelyn Ross, and Daniella Sanader: Young Adult // Issue No. 03
  7. Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World
  8. Keith Haring: Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks
  9. Micah Silver: Figures in Air
  10. Shannon Webb-Campbell: I Am a Body of Land
  11. Gwen Benaway: Holy Wild
  12. Michael Dumontier and Micah Lexier: Call Ampersand Response
  13. Friedrich Kunath: Alles Macht Weiter
  14. Johannes Wohnseifer: A Secret Show in a Secret Place
  15. Tadej Pogacar: Home Stories
  16. Image Counter Image
  17. Dana Lixenberg: Set Amsterdam
  18. Clunie Reid: Faker Drinker Soldier Heiress
  19. Hans Schabus : Hans Schabus: Transport
  20. Richard Tuttle: Prints
  21. Michael Schmelling: Land Line
  22. Olivier Foulon and Michael Krebber: The Soliloquy of the Broom
  23. The Future of the New: Artistic Innovation in Times of Social Acceleration
  24. Andreas Angelidakis and Karen Marta: Fin de Siècle
  25. Meschac Gaba
  26. Jenny Holzer, Kathy Acker, Barbara Kruger, Lee Ranaldo, and David Wojnarowicz: Just Another Asshole No. 6
  27. More Than Real: Art in the Digital Age
  28. Nathalie Zonnenberg: Conceptual Art in a Curatorial Perspective
  29. Copy This Book: An Artist’s Guide to Copyright
  30. David Shrigley: Goat Music
  31. Image Bank
  32. Milena Mercer : Altered States
  33. Annie Pootoogook: Cutting Ice
  34. Sarah Sze: Timekeeper
  35. David Reinfurt: A New Program for Graphic Design
  36. Olafur Eliasson: Reality Projector
  37. Ari Marcopoulos, Karen Marta, and Hans Ulrich Obrist: The Athens Dialogues
  38. Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum