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Paradise for the Portuguese Queen

Benjamin Ivry, 27 September 1990

... The Queen of Portugal has gone mad. Her madness consists of thinking herself in heaven. But heaven is below what she expected. She wanders around muttering, ‘Hmph!’ Hugo, Things Seen Who has seen the sunflower has seen the sun, says Camoens in The Lusiade, but I hardly expected to see my duenna and her hairy mole, nor my maidservant dwarf, malodorous as ever, nor my already-bearded Infante, not now not here ...

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Michael Hofmann: Zagajewski’s Charm, 15 December 2005

Selected Poems 
by Adam Zagajewski, translated by Clare Cavanagh, Renata Gorczynski, Benjamin Ivry and C.K. Williams.
Faber, 173 pp., £12.99, October 2004, 0 571 22425 3
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A Defence of Ardour: Essays 
by Adam Zagajewski.
Farrar, Straus, 198 pp., $14, October 2005, 0 374 52988 4
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... For twenty years, since I first read the first poem, ‘To Go to Lvov’, in his first English-language book, Tremor (1985), I have had a happily unexamined admiration for the work of the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. Hence, perhaps, the inordinate difficulty – even for me, with my sluggishness and resistances – in approaching it now in a spirit of ...

The Castaway

Jeremy Harding: Algeria’s Camus, 4 December 2014

Algerian Chronicles 
by Albert Camus, edited by Alice Kaplan, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 224 pp., £11.95, November 2014, 978 0 674 41675 8
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Camus brûlant 
by Benjamin Stora and Jean-Baptiste Péretié.
Stock, 109 pp., €12.50, September 2013, 978 2 234 07482 8
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Meursault, contre-enquête 
by Kamel Daoud.
Actes Sud, 155 pp., €19, May 2014, 978 2 330 03372 9
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... In 2013, the centenary of Camus’s birth, a major exhibition was planned in Aix-en-Provence. Benjamin Stora, a historian of the Maghreb (and the Algerian war), was put in charge only to be shown the door a few months later. Stora, nowadays close to the Socialist Party, was a good choice for the Ministry of Culture if they were to provide funding, which ...

Mediterranean Man

R.W. Johnson, 16 October 1997

Albert Camus: A Life 
by Olivier Todd, translated by Benjamin Ivry.
Chatto, 420 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7011 6062 4
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... By the time Albert Camus received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 the nuanced position he took on the Algerian revolution had caused a scandal in orthodox progressive circles. Camus kept as quiet as he could because he feared terrorist reprisals against his mother, who was still living in Algiers. At the Nobel ceremony, however, he was harangued by an FLN enthusiast and forced into making a statement ...

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