11/5: Deconstructing Edouard Levé [EVENT]

leveJoin us for a night of experimentation and conversation as we celebrate the work of French writer and artist Edouard Levé.

Written with a “strange combination of formal distance and emotional immediacy” (Slate), and filled with whimsy, dark humor, relentless experimentation, and crystalline prose, Levé’s books have become celebrated for their elegance, poetic beauty, and inventive ideas. Himself inspired by great writers from the experimental French literary collective the Oulipo, Levé has gone on to energize a new generation of writers and artists around the world. His writing has been fêted in publications ranging from The Paris Review to the Los Angeles Times, and he has quickly become a fixture of innovative writing programs and underground literary scenes across the United States.

To delve into this remarkably original, diverse body of writing, we bring together two men with an intimate knowledge of Levé’s books—his two English-language translators, Jan Steyn and Lorin Stein. They’ll be in conversation with Two Lines Press’s Scott Esposito, a certified Levé-ian and co-author of The End of Oulipo?

works-leveLevé’s book Autoportrait consists of a single, 100-page paragraph of observations about himself. In the words of Slate columnist Mark O’Connell “you kind of want him to stop just saying things about himself, but you also can’t stop reading these things that he just keeps saying.”

His Works consists of 533 numbered ideas for artworks imagined by the author but never realized. The Guardian called it “a delight to read, so full of surprises, so many unexpected moments of laughter, reverie and delight.”

And his final book, Suicide—handed into his publisher just 8 days before Levé took his own life—is a look at the titular phenomenon unlike any other.

In this interactive and wide-ranging evening of all things Levé we will immerse ourselves in the artistry and ideas behind his books—and we will also invite the audience to participate in creating some Levé-ian artworks and texts of our own. No prior knowledge of Levé of experimental prose necessary!

It all takes place at The Lab, one of the Bay Area’s top venues for innovative literary events. Have a drink, dive in to Levé’s remarkably addictive prose, and interact with some of the most ardent and knowledgeable Levé-ians in the United States!

  • The Lab
  • 2948 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
  • 7:00 pm
  • FREE
  • Cash bar, and copies of Levé’s books available for sale

Jan Steyn is a South African translator from French and Afrikaans to English. He is currently studying Comparative Literature at Emory University. His translations include Suicide and Works by Edouard Levé, and Alix’s Journal by Alix Cleo Roubaud.

Lorin Stein is the editor of The Paris Review. Before taking the helm at the magazine, Stein worked as an editor at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, where he edited Natasha Wimmer’s translations of Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives and 2666. He is also the translator of Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait.

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