". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Villon *Poems* New Translation, by David Georgi

DG dropped off his brand new book (Northwestern University Press) yesterday, his own translation of Villon's Poems.

Together el V and I read David's introduction while subwaying on up to Harlem (our Before Christmas weekend date concluded with meeting friends for dinner as originally planned, but not where we'd originally planned -- instead of at a London expat's English pub in the Village, we met at a Senegalese restaurant uptown).  Both of us kept seeing the poet rollicking through New Orleans at any old time in its history, standing in for Villon in Paris in the 15th century.

And, of course -- I quote David G. here:

At the very end of 1457 or early in 1458 he was a guest of the duke of Orléans, an accomplished poet and patron of the arts.  The duke kept a handwritten album of poems collected from the literary men who passed through his court at Blois.  It survives to this day, at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and it includes three poems that can be confidently attributed to Villon.  Scholars believe, in fact, that these three poems are written in Villon's own handwriting -- small, neat, pale letters.

Though the city wasn't founded and named for that duke of Orléan's descendant until a century and a half, more or less, after the poet left this world -- even before the world shattering mass dissemination of that a whole other world existed west across the sea -- Villon understood New Orleans down to his very bones.  If you wonder how I can say this, go to Toulouse Street and read this, posted this very day, December 22, 2012.

Of course, David has seen New Orleans.

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