Éditions Presses Universitaires de France
Frédéric Pajak revisits Guillaume Apollinaire’s love letters and life in Le chagrin d’amour, which is at once a biography of Apollinaire, an autobiography, and a graphic novel.
From the depths of World War I trenches, Guillaume Apollinaire sent more than 400 letters to Lou, an old flame, and Madeleine, his lover at the time. Pajak revives Apollinaire’s kaleidoscopic figure as a forerunner of cubism, surrealism, and cinema. While the author recalls his own love joys and pains, he invites the reader on a journey where reality and fantasy mingle. He blends his memories of an unhappy manhood into a celebration of Apollinaire’s ardent love—which often resulted in disillusionment. The book also embraces the chaotic world of the artistic elite of the time, inhabited by the unforgettable authors of Alcools, including Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Piet Mondrian.
Illustrated literature more than graphic novel, Le chagrin d’amour gathers memories and quotations of the poet’s texts, along with around 300 beautiful black-and-white line drawings.
Le chagrin d’amour won the French Voices stipend to cover $6,000 of the translation cost. Donald Nicholson-Smith is currently working on the English translation.
Frédéric Pajak : As an author and artist, Frédéric Pajak has published seven books with Presses Universitaires de France, including the acclaimed titles L’Immense Solitude (1999) and Mélancolie (2004), which were enthusiastically received by both the press and the public. He is the editor of Les Cahiers dessinés, a twice-yearly series of collections of drawings, and editor-in-chief of L’Imbécile, a magazine that brings together the work of artists, writers, and philosophers. He has recently published a novel, La Guerre sexuelle (Gallimard, 2006).