Plurality of Worlds of Lewis

Plurality of Worlds of Lewis

by Jacques Roubaud
     
 

This collection of prose and poetry elaborates on themes explored in Roubaud'sSome Thing Black, which theTimes Literary Supplementcalled "a harrowing book... an elegy for our time." As in the earlier collection, Roubaud grapples with the grief he continues to feel at the untimely death of his young wife.

In parts 1 and 2, he uses the possible

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Overview

This collection of prose and poetry elaborates on themes explored in Roubaud'sSome Thing Black, which theTimes Literary Supplementcalled "a harrowing book... an elegy for our time." As in the earlier collection, Roubaud grapples with the grief he continues to feel at the untimely death of his young wife.

In parts 1 and 2, he uses the possible existence of many worlds as a means by which to transcend the trauma of this unbearable loss. (David Lewis's book On the Plurality of Worlds provided the inspiration and title for Roubaud's book.) These poems also rage against the limitations of poetry itself, which can only clarify the exactness of his grief, not assuage it. In part 3, Roubaud uses a mathematically precise form to explore the idea of form.

Dalkey Archive Press

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Precisely measured and deeply moving..." -- PW

Dalkey Archive Press

"Ghostly presences inhabit these spaces that these lyric poems and fluid fictions construct. Rosmarie Waldrop's translation brings to the surface the obsessive, repetitive thought patterns that characterize grief.... Roubaud... asks language to propose equivalencies and transformations." --Susan Smith Nash, Texture #6

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"Writing as a poet-philosopher, Roubaud... casts a delicate net of language to apprehend ideas that most compel him..." --Publishers Weekly

Dalkey Archive Press

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Writing as a poet-philosopher, Roubaud, who teaches mathematics at University of Paris, casts a delicate net of language to apprehend ideas that most compel him. Here, as in Some Thing Black, he struggles with the premature death of his wife. Attempting to relate in some metaphysical equation the dead with the living, Roubaud posits that there are many, simultaneous worlds (the rather awkward title is based on philosopher David Lewis's book, On the Plurality of Worlds). He tries to place his wife's nothingness within his realm of experience, exploring his own intimate, contradictory states of consciousness-pain, memory, daily routine-and the branching realities they suggest. The poems of the first two selections are filled with play of light and shadows, and define loss as if metered by questions, suppositions and impossibilities. The third section is a long prose poem in which he considers the idea of form as it exists in his own body, in the ``grey-in-itself'' void of all objects, and in the signficance of an empty notebook. Precisely measured and deeply moving, Roubaud's meditations are rendered in Waldrop's translation with force and nuance. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564780690
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
03/28/1995
Pages:
109
Sales rank:
1,216,231
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.33(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jacques Roubaud (born 1932 in Caluire-et-Cuire, Rhône) is a French poet and mathematician. He is a retired Mathematics professor from University of Paris X, a retired Poetry professor from EHESS and a member of the Oulipo group, he has also published poetry, plays, novels, and translated English poetry and books into French such as Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark. Roubaud's fiction often suppresses the rigorous constraints of the Oulipo (while mentioning their suppression, thereby indicating that such constraints are indeed present), yet takes the Oulipian self-consciousness of the writing act to an extreme. This simultaneity both appears playfully, with his Hortense novels, Our Beautiful Heroine, Hortense in Exile, and Hortense is Abducted, and with the gravity and reflection of the writing act as the affirmation of one's worth and existence in The Great Fire of London, considered the pinnacle of his prose.

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