poetry and essays by Jacques Réda
translated by Aaron Prevots

8.5" x 5.5"
153 pages

Praise for Europes:

With his Proust-like ramblings, Europes is Jacques Réda's entertaining reflection upon the various selves that surface in different locales across the continent. In fact, often the named country provides only the most tangential entry point for the inner world into which he dives. Take for example a passage from "Switzerland. IV. The Eagle::
We had the feeling of belonging to a collegial club for the chosen few: we had seen the eagle. This is how revealed religions and their martyrs are born. Had we been threatened with irons, fire, boiling hot oil, we would still have persisted: "an eagle, the Eagle, I saw it, I'm telling you. My Belgian friend was with me."
These are the thoughts of a man who is much more concerned with his inner landscapes than ones the train passes through, one who tells the reader about what he would like to have seen rather than the reality that disappointed him.

– Roy Wang, NewPages

If in an "official" way Europes could be called a "travel essay," the book's fluid character undermines this characterization. Recording the fleeting instants of the narrator's peregrinations, Europes includes essays on Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Scandinavia and France—one or two essays followed by one or more poems for each country. The poems are "poèmes de circonstance," that is, topical poems, in this case, poems on the countries described in the preceding essays, written in the tradition of Raymond Queneau: playful, silly, ironically rhymed.

– Three Percent Review

In Europes, published in French in 2005 and appearing here as a complete bilingual edition, Jacques Réda takes the reader on a leisurely, lyrical journey across the continent, from the bucolic pastures of Switzerland to the urban emptiness of industrial Dresden, and from the monumental churches of Ravenna to the colorful streets of his beloved Paris. Réda's encounters and observations are at once exhilarating and familiar, subverting preconceived notions of travel and home, and providing an unforgettable glimpse of a landscape in flux. With its sumptuous blend of poetry and prose, Europes is an endearing and idiosyncratic travelogue.

Jacques Réda (b. 1929) is the author of more than forty books, including works of poetry, autobiographical prose, short novels, and essays on topics ranging from jazz to city life to literature. A cultural icon and eminent literary figure in mainland Europe, he is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Prix Valery Larbaud (1983), the Grand Prix de l'Académie Française (1993) and the Prix Louis Mandin (2005), all three awarded in recognition of his lifetime's achievements.


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