Gabrielle Wittkop

KeskusteluThe Chapel of the Abyss

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Gabrielle Wittkop

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 31, 2015, 8:46 am

The French novelist Gabrielle Wittkop (1920-2002), was an E.T.A. Hoffman scholar and wife to the German writer (and "homosexual nazi deserter"), Justus Wittkop. From what I can determine from my biographical skimming and her one novel translated in English, The Necrophiliac, she produced elegantly written novels of intensely disturbing macabre erotica (only François Augiéras' The Sorceror's Apprentice comes to mind as a comparison). I have only just picked up The Necrophiliac, and well - here is a sampling:

The Wakefield Press will publish translations of two Wittkop novels later this year.

tammikuu 29, 2015, 8:46 pm

Shocking! I must order it immediately.

Wakefield press has a very interesting catalog. I've just ordered their edition of The Creator by Mynona with illustrations by Kubin and their edition of The Book of Monelle by Marcel Schwob.

tammikuu 30, 2015, 12:36 am

At only 110 pages, this should be a quick read, and I've ordered a copy. Thanks for bringing her to my attention!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 31, 2015, 8:53 am

It is a quick read - beautifully written, erudite and funny (laughing at a cancer patient falling out of bed funny):

"Herodotus teaches us that women of quality 'after their death are not delivered directly to the embalmers, no more than very beautiful or well-renowned women. They aren't given up until after three or four days. This is done in order to the avoid the embalmers taking advantage of these women.'
Scattered in the human chronicle, the most ancient of commentaries on this most inoffensive passion that no one calls perversity. But 'three or four days is so naive...!" (46)

tammikuu 30, 2015, 9:26 am

3: "Thanks for bringing her to my attention!" - worthy of a rim shot, after you have ... come across the scene where a pack of Neapolitan dwarfs, under the conniving aegis of Hermes, are packed off to a banquet so that..., well, as the angel said to someone long ago: "read!"

tammikuu 31, 2015, 8:52 am

1: elegantly written novels of intensely disturbing macabre erotica Well that caught my attention! Time to put that on the Borges-ian Infinite Library, aka My Wishlist. And the descriptor "homosexual Nazi deserter" brought to mind Funeral Rites by Jean Genet.

tammikuu 31, 2015, 9:47 am

and I was thinking of an intensely disturbing Bukowski story of morticians!

tammikuu 31, 2015, 10:04 am

6: Sort of a vague gloss on Herr W. - by nazi, I assume they mean the political party. But how do you desert a party? Or did he skip out of the Wehrmacht as they enjoyed their stroll under the shade of the boulevards? In which case, was he a party member or just a reluctant trooper?

tammikuu 31, 2015, 11:05 pm

8: Sort of a vague gloss on Herr W. - by nazi, I assume they mean the political party. As Ambrose Bierce so eloquently described it:

"PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."

But I am curious to know more about his Nazi past. How does he fit within the likes of ex-Nazis like Martin Heidegger, Werner von Braun, and Ex-Pope "Eggs" Benedict XVI

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2015, 1:54 am

I'm reminded of this little gem from the book Apocalypse Culture.

"The Unrepentant Necrophile: an interview with Karen Greenlee".

helmikuu 14, 2015, 1:49 pm

benwaugh, please let me know if you figure out how the protagonist got the objects of his affection up the lift & to his flat without being seen. It's been some time since I read it, but I remember that niggling at me.

I know necrophilia is implied or skirted around in some 19th-century writing, but Waste by Eugene Marten is the only other novel I can think of it that deals with it as directly as the Wittkop.

helmikuu 14, 2015, 3:18 pm

Well that takes some doing, I usually - uh oh....

It did require some indulgence , particularly with the incident at the Neapolitan hotel. Off season or not... 2 statuesque and inflexible Swedes.

marraskuu 2, 2015, 11:50 am

Received two new translations of Wittkop's work from Wakefield Press:

Murder Most Serene
Exemplary Departures

marraskuu 2, 2015, 1:34 pm

I just receivede ED (argh) - waiting on MMS. Looking forward to several more promising translations from Wakefield Press.

marraskuu 2, 2015, 5:02 pm


marraskuu 2, 2015, 5:46 pm

The acronym I used left me feeling a bit crestfallen.

marraskuu 2, 2015, 11:17 pm

Ah, I see. The translation not up to snuff?

marraskuu 3, 2015, 10:15 am

Nary a complaint ;)

marraskuu 11, 2015, 5:48 pm

Beautiful, free, erudite, cold, bright/black sentences, full of humor and lust for life - what a model individual and appealing companion of the late hours. Like Beckett or some other Dalai Lama: someone for whom one would curb one's self to obtain audience, and (this is probably too romantic) learn.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 12, 2015, 10:49 am

Started reading Murder Most Serene The opening scene where she describes the mourners comes across like Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Motel" as directed by Luchino Visconti Cheeky yet somber. PG Wodehouse meets Proust would be another description. In a word: lush.

huhtikuu 30, 2018, 10:18 pm

Started reading Exemplary Departures by Ms. Wittkop. If the cool, lean, no-frills prose of Elmore Leonard is like a Zippo lighter, then Wittkop's lush decadent prose is like a luxurious bejeweled cigarette lighter from the artisans at Cartier

kesäkuu 21, 2021, 4:25 pm

The publisher mentions that they are publishing another Wittkop translation in the near future.

kesäkuu 24, 2021, 10:51 am

kesäkuu 24, 2021, 3:41 pm

Yes indeed.

heinäkuu 9, 2021, 1:52 pm

It would seem that her works are still available in pocket editions in French. I'll look out for those.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 9, 2021, 3:27 pm

Hard to find here, though I have managed a few. The edition of Litanies pour une Amante Funèbre by Le Vampire Actif is prettily done.

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