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THE RENÉE VIVIEN TRANSLATION PROJECT

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ABOUT CHAPBOOKS

ABOUT CHAPBOOKS

The word "chapbook" is a centuries-old term for the small, softcover books sold by travelling merchants. The word "chap" is actually a short form of "chapman", the itinerate salesmen who peddled inexpensive, lightweight goods from town to town. These small books which I write, illustrate, and print are a modern-day version of these early paperbacks.

BEHELD

A European insect, the Death's Head Moth is shunned because of the skull-like markings on its back. Though harmless, it has often been killed as an evil omen, the eye of the beholder in this case being ill-informed.

Illustrated with ink drawings, this story about such a moth's encounter with a human household can also be read as an allegory for being misunderstood.

HAIR FETISH

An autobiographical cartoon parody of the author's obsession with sumptuous locks. Garnished with historical examples of the hair fetish from ancient days to the silver screen. The marbled paper cover comes in four colours: Screwy Redhead, My Favourite Brunette, Blue Rinse, and Distinguished Grey. Can be ordered with attached genuine hair bookmark (washed, conditioned, and NOT mine), or without, in case hair separated from a head makes you squeamish.

THE PAIN IN THIS NECK OF THE WOODS

Depressed ramblings about the stages of coping with loss (white printing on black), interspersed with metaphysical speculations (black printing on white). A dialogue between the conscious and subconscious minds, and between the worlds of sleeping and waking; musing on the possibility of crossing from one to the other while retaining awareness. Ink drawings of absurd morbidity are scattered throughout.

..."the purple prose of a lascerated wraith"...

CONVERSATIONS WITH A DEAD POET

A meeting in fantasy with the poet and author Renée Vivien (1877-1909), a symbolist writer who lived and died dramatically, and was one of the first known lesbians to write publicly about her romantic life since the times of Sappho. Here, the author takes the opportunity to ask importunate questions about the afterlife and the value of earthly achievements and failures. The poet deals with this accordingly.

Set in a florrid necropolitan landscape, "Conversations" is illustrated copiously with period photographs and embellishments from Vivien's own books. Also included: biographical information on the poet, a list of her works, and those which concern her, and translations of some of her poems by the author.

SPECIMENS EXHUMED AND TRANSMUTED

VERSES, PROSE POEMS, AND A SHORT STORY BY RENÉE VIVIEN

When Renée Vivien died at 32, she left a large body of work for one so young. Although of English origin, she wrote almost exclusively in French; most of her work is rhyming, rhythmical verse of great precision. Because of this, and also due to the Lesbian nature of much of her subject matter, her complete works have not yet been translated into English. The author has taken upon herself this daunting task, so that more people will be able to understand and appreciate Renée Vivien for the products of her mind and heart, and not merely as a character in the life of Natalie Barney, or an abstract figure in the pantheon of Gay Culture. This book is the first step on the long journey.

This is the first time the short story, "The Vegetable Garden", the prose poems "The Four Winds", "The Black Swan", "The Beggar-Girl", and "Along the Abyss" have been translated into English. Of the 7 poems, 4 are new versions of previously translated works, and 3 are in English for the first time. The book is illustrated with period and contemporary photographs, as well as decorations from Vivien's books.