Lydie Salvayre

Biography

Lydie Salvayre (Photo by Coup d'Oreille [Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0])

Lydie Salvayre was born Lydie Arjona in 1948 to Spanish parents exiled to the South of France to escape the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. Salvayre returned to this period in her novel Pas pleurer (2014), for which she was awarded the Prix Goncourt. Hoping that they would return to Spain, her parents lived amongst a community of Spanish refugees having very little contact with their French neighbours. Salvayre’s father, though growing up among the bourgeoisie, was forced to engage in manual labour, while her mother would sew clothes to make ends meet. Growing up between two languages, for Salvayre, French was the language of books, of school, of perfect grammar, of order, while Spanish was the language of home, of community, of jokes, of the intimate realm. In her novels, these two ways of writing or conceiving the self compete and are often in tension.

After completing a degree in literature, Salyvare went on to study medicine and psychiatry. In 1979, she defended her thesis already showing a deep concern for, and kinship with, the literary – 'La Perversion: approche timide à partir du texte de Georges Bataille "La tragédie de Gilles de Rais"’ – at the Medical School of Aix-Marseille University, France. For a long time, she practised psychiatry (specializing in paediatric psychiatry) and would write in her free time. She was director of the Centre médico-psycho-pédagogique in Bagnolet, a suburb of Paris, where she would see children and adolescents in consultation.

Salvayre started publishing novels in her forties, the first, La Déclaration (1990), was awarded the Prix Hermès du premier roman. In 1997, she won the Prix Novembre (now Prix Décembre) for her novel La Compagnie des spectres (1997), which retells the story of a mother and daughter who need to come to terms with the period of the Occupation, while facing the threat of eviction.

In 1990, she met Bernard Wallet (founder of the publishing house Les Éditions Verticales) who would become her domestic partner. In her novel, BW (2009), she fictionalized his decision, following an accident, to leave the world of publishing, through a character sharing his initials.Shortly after the announcement of her being awarded the Goncourt Prize on 5 November 2014, Salvayre revealed that she was undergoing treatment for cancer, though she noted that the jury was unaware of her medical condition. She also remarked (in an interview with Marc-Olivier Fogiel for RTL on 10 November 2015) that her next novel would not deal with this question as she would be ‘too afraid of falling into pathos’. On 17 July 2015, she was named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Compiled by Sonja Stojanovic (Brown)

Bibliography

La Déclaration (Paris: Julliard, 1990; Verticales, 1997) - awarded Prix Hermès du Premier Roman

La Vie commune (Paris: Julliard, 1991; Verticales, 1999)

La Médaille (Paris: Seuil, 1993)

La Puissance des mouches (Paris: Seuil, 1995)

La Compagnie des spectres (Paris: Seuil, 1997)- awarded Prix Novembre (now prix Décembre)

Quelques conseils utiles aux élèves huissiers (Paris: Verticales, 1997)

La Conférence de Cintegabelle (Paris: Seuil/Verticales, 1999)

Les Belles Âmes (Paris: Seuil, 2000)

Le Vif du vivant (Paris: Cercle d’art, 2001)

Et que les vers mangent le bœuf mort (Paris: Verticales, 2002)

Contre [with Serge Teyssot-Gay and Marc Sens] (Paris: Verticales, 2002)

Passage à l’ennemie (Paris: Seuil, 2003)

‘Pour faire peur à la peur’ (Lignes 15.3, October 2004, pp. 23-24) (available online at http://www.cairn.info/revue-lignes1-2004-3-page-23.htm)

Préface à Femmes dans la guerre (Paris: Le Félin, 2004)

La Méthode Mila (Paris: Seuil, 2005)

Dis pas ça [with Serge Teyssot-Gay, Marc Sens and Jean-Paul Roy] (Paris: Verticales, 2006)

Portrait de l’écrivain en animal domestique (Paris: Seuil, 2007)

Petit traité d’éducation lubrique (Sainte-Anastasie: Cadex, 2008)

‘Paralipomènes’ (Le Magazine Littéraire 474, April 2008, p. 100) (available online at http://www.magazine-litteraire.com/mensuel/474/paralipomenes-lydie-salvayre-01-04-2008-16994)

‘Untitled text’ (Centre des Écrivains du Sud, 19 November 2009) (available online at http://www.pauleconstant.com/EESA&I/EES191109LS.pdf)

BW (Paris: Seuil, 2009) - awarded the Prix François Billetdoux

Hymne (Paris: Seuil, 2011)

‘Mes souvenirs de promo: “Confusion”’ (Décapage 45, Autumn-Winter 2012, pp. 51-52)

7 femmes (Paris: Perrin, 2013)

Pas pleurer (Paris: Seuil, 2014; Points, 2015) awarded the Prix Goncourt

‘L’enfance du mal. Lydie Salvaire s’interroge sur les origines de la haine’ (Vanity Fair, 12 May 2015) (available online at http://www.vanityfair.fr/actualites/france/articles/l-enfance-du-mal-lydie-salvaire-s-interroge-sur-les-attentats-de-janvier/25772)

‘Ne rien faire… le bonheur’ (Libération, 28 December 2015) (available online at http://www.liberation.fr/debats/2015/12/28/ne-rien-faire-le-bonheur_1423281)

‘Tenter l’utopie avec Slavoj Zizek’ (Le Monde, 13 July 2016) available online at http://www.lemonde.fr/livres/article/2016/07/13/tenter-l-utopie-avec-slavoj-zizek-par-lydie-salvayre_4968749_3260.html


English Translations of Salvayre’s Work

The Lecture [Translation of La Déclaration by Linda Coverdale] (Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2005)

Everyday Life [Translation of La Vie commune by Jane Kuntz] (Rochester, NY: Dalkey Archive Press, 2006)

The Award [Translation of La Médaille by Jane Davey] (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1997)

The Power of Flies [Translation of La Puissance des mouches by Jane Kuntz] (Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2007)

The Company of Ghosts: followed by Some Useful Advice for Apprentice Process-Servers [Translation of La Compagnie des spectres and Quelques conseils utiles aux élèves huissiers by Christopher Woodhall] (Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2006)

The Cintegabelle Conference [Translation of La Conférence de Cintegabelle by Linda Coverdale] (Rochester: Dalkey Archive Press, 2006)

Portrait of the Writer as a Domesticated Animal [Translation of Portrait de l’écrivain en animal domestique by William Pedersen] (Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2010)

Cry Mother Spain [Translation of Pas pleurer by Ben Faccini] (London: MacLehose Press, 2016)

‘Refutation’ [Translated by Roxane Lapidus] (SubStance 104 [special section] 33.2, 2004, pp. 10-12)

‘In Praise of Ugliness’ [Translated by Jeanine Herman] in As You Were Saying: American Writers Respond to their French Contemporaries ed. by Fabrice Rozié, Esther Allen, and Guy Walter (Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2007, pp. 35-39)

‘Paralipomena’ [Translation of “Paralipomènes” by Jane Kuntz] in The Novelist’s Lexicon: Writers on the Words That Define Their Work ed. by Villa Gillet and Le Monde (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011, pp. 81-83)

Compiled by Sonja Stojanovic (Brown)

 

Criticism

DalMolin, Eliane: ‘Vouloir montrer: le spectacle de la réalité chez Annie Ernaux, Lydie Salvayre et Amélie Nothomb’ in Nomadismes des romancières contemporaines de langue française ed. by Audrey Lasserre and Anne Simon (Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2008, pp. 103-113)

Douzou, Catherine: ‘L'Histoire en écho: La Compagnie des spectre de Lydie Salvayre’ in Présences du passé dans le roman français contemporain ed. by Gianfranco Rubino (Rome: Bulzoni [Collection ‘Studi e testi 6’], 2007, pp. 67-84)

Engélibert, Jean-Paul: ‘“Ressources inhumaines”: Le nouvel esprit du travail dans quatre romans français contemporains (François Bon, François Emmanuel, Aurélie Filipetti, Lydie Salvayre)’ (TRANS- [en ligne] 4, 2007) available at http://trans.revues.org/192

Faivre-Duboz, Brigitte: ‘“Je contre”: Tangential Speech in the Writings of Lydie Salvayre’ (SubStance 104 [Special section] 33.2, 2004, pp. 34-45)

Garach, Ruth L.: ‘La problématique de la traduction littéraire avec une traduction d’extraits choisis de La Puissances des Mouches de Lydie Salvayre’ (Master’s Thesis, McMaster University, 2000) available online at https://macsphere.mcmaster.ca/bitstream/11375/13192/1/fulltext.pdf

Gautier, Antoine: ‘Syntaxe et ponctuation en conflit. Le point est-il une limite de la rection?’ (Travaux de linguistique 60, 2010, pp. 91-107)

Godard, Roger: ‘Lydie Salvayre: Passage à l’ennemie’ in Itinéraires du roman contemporain by Roger Godard (Paris: Armand Colin, 2006, pp. 215-226)

Gris, Fabien: ‘“D’autres métiers que le mien”: l’écrivain face au travail de l’autre (Salvayre, Reinhardt, Carrère)’ (La Licorne 103 [Special issue: 'Dire le travail: Fiction et témoignage depuis 1980'], 2012, pp. 101-114)

Hanania, Cécile: ‘La Puissance des mouches: littérature et pouvoir ou le double bind de Lydie Salvayre’ (The French Review 84.4, March 2011, pp. 716-729)

Huglo, Marie-Pascale: ‘La Pythie de Créteil: voix et spectacle dans La Compagnie des spectres de Lydie Salvayre’ (Études Françaises 39.1, 2003, pp. 39-55)

—: ‘Introduction: The Art of War according to Lydie Salvayre’ (SubStance 104 [Special section] 33.2, 2004, pp. 3-9)

—: ‘The Salvayre Method’ (SubStance 111 [Special issue: 'The French Novel Now'] 35.3, 2006, pp. 35-50)

—: ‘Le théâtre du roman: La Compagnie des spectres de Lydie Salvayre’ in Le sens du récit  by Marie-Pascale Huglo (Villeneuve d’Ascq: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2007, pp. 115-128)

Lasserre, Audrey: ‘Le roman français contemporain aux prises avec l’Histoire: Dora Bruder de Patrick Modiano et La Compagnie des spectres de Lydie Salvayre’ (Sites 6.2, 2002, pp. 327-336)

Lazennec, Jean-Yves: ‘Droll Lectures’ [Translated by Roxanne Lapidus] (SubStance 104 [Special section] 33.2, 2004, pp. 30-33)

Ledoux-Beaugrand, Evelyne: ‘“Dit ta grand-mère, dit ma mere”: spectralité et filiation dans La Compagnie des spectres de Lydie Salvayre’ in Un certain genre, malgré tout: pour une réflexion sur la différence sexuelle à l'oeuvre dans l'écriture ed. by Patrick Poirier and Catherine Mavrikakis (Montreal: Éditions Nota Bene, 2007, pp. 143-156)

Louichon, Brigitte: ‘Lydie Salvayre: “Parler au nom d’Olympe”’ in Nouvelles Ecrivaines: nouvelles voix? ed. by Nathalie Morello and Catherine Rodgers (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002, pp. 309-325)

Mairesse, Anne: ‘La traversée du genre: le héros-narrateur chez les romancières contemporaines’ in Nomadismes des romancières contemporaines de langue française ed. by Audrey Lasserre and Anne Simon (Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2008, pp. 93-102)

Malinovská, Zuzana: ‘Incertitudes de la condition humaine’ in Puissances du romanesque: regard extérieur sur quelques romans contemporains d'expression française by Zuzana Malinovská (Clermont-Ferrand: Presses universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2010, pp. 133-146)

Mauger, Gérard: ‘Deux figures de l’ascension sociale’ (Savoir/Agir 15, 2011, pp. 125-132)

Méchoulan, Eric: ‘Report on Lydie Salvayre’s Subversive Classicism’ (SubStance 104 [Special section] 33.2, 2004, pp. 46-58)

Merlin, Cindy: ‘Vu d’ici et là-bas: Le roman contemporain français publié en traduction aux États-Unis’ (FLS Translation in French and Francophone Literature and Film 34, 2009, pp. 191-208)

Motte, Warren: ‘Lydie Salvayre and the Uses of Literature’ (The French Review 79.5, April 2006, pp. 1010-1023)

—: ‘Lydie Salvayre’s Lecture’ in Fables of the Novel: French Fiction since 1990 by Warren Motte (Chicago: Dalkey Archive Press, 2003, pp. 195-219)

—: ‘Lydie Salvayre’s Literature’ in Fiction Now: The French Novel in the Twenty-First Century by Warren Motte (Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2008, pp. 91-110)

–: ‘Voices in Her Head’ (SubStance 104 [Special section] 33.2, 2004, pp. 13-29)

Pănculescu, Dorina: ‘Lydie Salvayre ou la modernité narrative’ (Annales de l’Université de Craïova 18.1, 2014, pp. 42-53)

Pattieu, Sylvain: ‘Quand “la littérature incarne et raconte, elle ventriloque le passé”’ (Écrire l’histoire 15, 2015, pp. 247-252)

Plazenet, Laurence: ‘Port-royal au prisme du roman (1657-2004)’ (Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France 106, 2006, pp. 927-958)

Reggiani, Christelle: ‘Traces, Rémanences’ in Éloquence du roman: Rhétorique, littérature et politique aux XIXe et XXe siècles by Christelle Reggiani (Geneva: Librarie Droz, 2008, pp. 42-43)

Riendeau, Pascal: ‘Théâtralisations du romanesque chez Duteurtre, Salvayre et Chevillard’ (L'Annuaire théâtral: revue québécoise d’études théâtrales 33, 2003, pp. 61-77)

Rye, Gill: ‘In Defense of Books: Literature, Publishing and Reading in Contemporary Women’s Writing in French’  (Women in French Studies [Special issue: 'Les Femmes et la lecture' ed. by Catherine R. Montfort], 2012, pp. 298-314)

Vaillancourt, Noémie: ‘La mise en éclats de l’héritage chez Lydie Salvayre’ (Master’s Thesis, Université de Montréal, 2011) available online at https://papyrus.bib.umontreal.ca/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1866/6918/vaillancourt_noemie_2011_memoire.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

Vallet, Noémie: ‘L’occupation de la mémoire: le souvenir délirant de la France occupée dans La Place de l’étoile de Patrick Modiano et La Compagnie des spectres de Lydie Salvayre (Master’s Thesis, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2009) available online at http://www.archipel.uqam.ca/2248/1/M10865.pdf

Van Tooren, Marjolein: ‘“Ecrire la fable du réel”: Les Belles Âmes de Lydie Salvayre comme poétique d’un nouveau réalisme’ in The Return of the Narrative: The Call for the Novel/Le Retour à la narration: le désir du roman ed. by Sabine van Wesemael and Suze van der Poll (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2015, pp. 199-212)


Compiled by Sonja Stojanovic (Brown)

 

Interviews

Bloch-Lainé, Virginie and Anne-Pascale Desvignes: ‘Les femmes de Lydie Salvayre, 5 parts’ (France Culture, 17-21 August 2015) available online at http://www.franceculture.fr/emission-un-ete-d-ecrivains-lydie-salvayre-15-2015-08-17

Blondeau, Nicolas: ‘Lydie Salvayre: “Mon roman est écrit en ‘fragnol’”’ (Le Progrès, 3 November 2014) available online at http://www.leprogres.fr/sortir/2014/11/03/lydie-salvayre-mon-roman-est-ecrit-en-fragnol

Busnel, François: ‘Le Grand Entretien: Lydie Salvayre’ (France Inter, 14 May 2013) available online at http://www.franceinter.fr/emission-le-grand-entretien-lydie-salvayre-0 

Cimatti, Grégory: ‘Lydie Salvayre : “Les esprits libres m’enchantent”’ (Le Quotidien, 26 April 2016) available online at http://www.lequotidien.lu/culture/litterature-lydie-salvayre-les-esprits-libres-menchantent/

Fogiel, Marc-Olivier: ‘Lydie Salvayre a vu le drame de Charlie monter depuis des années’ (RTL, 10 November 2015) available online at http://www.rtl.fr/actu/societe-faits-divers/lydie-salvayre-a-vu-le-drame-de-charlie-monter-depuis-des-annees-7780456492

Gattégno, Jean-Pierre: ‘C’est Darnand qui t’envoie? Entretien avec Lydie Salvayre’ (Mauvais temps 2, September 1998) available online at http://www.anti-rev.org/textes/Gattegno98a/

Guichard, Thierry: ‘Toute la chair des livres: Dossier Lydie Salvayre’ (Le Matricule des Anges 106, 2009, pp. 18-22)

Godard, Roger: ‘Lydie Salvayre: Passage à l’ennemie’ in Itinéraires du roman contemporain by Roger Godard (Paris: Armand Colin, 2006, pp. 226-229)

Lapierre, Maïté: ‘Rencontre avec Lydie Salvayre’ (HorsPress, 2002) available online at http://erato.pagesperso-orange.fr/horspress/salvayre.htm

Makhlouf, Georgia: ‘Lydie Salvayre : écrire en terrain étranger’ (L’Orient Littéraire 67, January 2012) available online at http://www.lorientlitteraire.com/article_details.php?cid=6&nid=3676

Masson, Morgane: ‘Prix Goncourt 2014, Lydie Salvayre: “La naissance d’un roman est sauvage”’ (Midi Libre, 26 August 2015) available online at http://www.midilibre.fr/2015/08/26/prix-goncourt-2014-lydie-salvayre-la-naissance-d-un-roman-est-sauvage,1206021.php

Nicolas, Alain: ‘Lydie Salvayre: “La question est: que transmet-on de notre fardeau?”’ (L’Humanité, 9 January 1998) available online at http://www.humanite.fr/node/174410

Tanette, Sylvie: ‘“J’ai offert un au-delà à ma mere”’ (On l’a lu, 2014) available online at http://www.onlalu.com/site/rencontre-avec-lydie-salvayre/

Trapenard, Augustin: ‘Boomerang – Lydie Salvayre’ (France Inter, 20 October 2016) available online at https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/boomerang/boomerang-20-octobre-2016

Venturini, Gianluca: ‘Entretien avec Lydie Salvayre, lauréate du Prix Goncourt 2014’ (Le Petit Journal, 16 June 2015) available online at http://www.lepetitjournal.com/rome/a-voir-a-faire/escapades/218373-litterature-entretien-lydie-salvayre-laureate-prix-goncourt-2014

Compiled by Sonja Stojanovic (Brown)