The award-winning writer Pascal Quignard (1948–) has published many texts and has collaborated with painters, musicians and filmmakers. Yet despite the popularity and critical recognition of his work, Quignard remains a discreet and fleeting presence in the current cultural landscape, sharing with other contemporary French writers the belief that literature is a form of self-effacement.
In this first critical study in English, Léa Vuong offers a comprehensive survey of Quignard’s still growing œuvre by examining his specific attempts to produce disappearance through — and for — writing. His texts and collaborations appear as vanishing acts where the writer, like the figure on the Tomb of the Diver found in Paestum, remains suspended between presence and absence.
‘Léa Vuong’s succinct and insightful book addresses the work of French writer Pascal Quignard through the lenses of absence and disappearance. As Vuong argues, the reception of Quignard in the Anglo-Saxon world remains somewhat limited, while his work within the Hexagon has been the subject of extensive discussions and wide critical recognition. This first thorough study of Quignard’s work in the English language fills a gap while offering a perspective that connects Quignard to a constellation of structuralist and poststructuralist thinkers, in particular with the work of Jacques Lacan and Maurice Blanchot.’ — Étienne Lussier, Modern and Contemporary France 4 Oct 2017 (full text online)
‘A well-written, well-documented analysis that manages to give a good glimpse into a voluminous literary production (Quignard’s publications are now nearing eighty books), while reporting on several important, and less studied, aspects of Quignard’s oeuvre.’ — Jean-Louis Pautrot, H-France17, December 2017, no. 236
‘Both specialists and those not very familiar with Quignard will find something of value here... the range of texts considered, which help the author trace broad points of commonality across an immense and still growing body of work, and the generally compelling characterization and descriptions of the text, will be helpful to those seeking an introduction to Quignard.’ — Joseph Acquito, Modern Language Review 113.3, July 2018, 664-66 (full text online)
‘Di questo dibattito, l’autrice traccia nella «Conclusio- ne» un lucido bilancio, tra accuse di parisianisme e riconoscimento in patria, moltiplicarsi delle traduzioni e interesse ancora limitato da parte della critica in altre lingue, sottolineando la sotterranea portata sovversiva di una scrittura che ostenta la propria inattualità, che ritorce il fascino esercitato dal linguaggio contro il potere euristico della parola, che ingloba il meta-discorso che suscita, condannando talora il commentatore alla parafrasi o all’imitazione.’ — Stefano Genetti, Studi francesi 185, 2018, 367-68