La Dissolution, and: Impératif catégorique, and: Eros mélancolique (review)


The word “prolific” does not suffice when describing the work of Jacques Roubaud. Born in 1932, he is the author of numerous scholarly articles and a three-book series of mysteries with a female protagonist, Hortense. He has written other novels (Nous, les moins-que-rien, fils ainés de personne, multiroman [2006] and La Dernière balle perdue [1997]), books of poetry and children’s poetry, an anthology of troubadorian poetry, a collection of French sonnets from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a philosophical treatise, books on poetics (La vieillesse d’Alexandre [1978], Poésie, etcetera, ménage [1995]), as well as a seven-volume (and “six-branch”) “récit autobiographique,” which David Bellos has compared to the work of Marcel Proust.1 The three books Roubaud published in 2008 and 2009, La Dissolution, Impératif catégorique and Eros mélancolique (the latter in collaboration with Anne Garréta) are thoughtful, humorous, contemporary, moving and intriguing literary texts which, as Oulipian works, challenge the categories of literary genre.

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