An Approach by Roger Lewinter

Lewinter 1

Agonizing obsession, mystical possession, transformative meditative practice: the work on the sentence that was to become qui —dans l’ordre —au rouge du soir— des mots— (1998), and ultimately , vers (2001), occupied twelve years of Roger Lewinter’s life. An Approach (1995) presents four versions of that sentence’s first four and a half pages, recorded from 1991 to 1994 at the end of successive “seasons” of work.

The original project was to write a story in a single sentence without a period. The first draft was completed in ten days in 1989, but finding this first version “too simplistic, discursive, linear,” Lewinter sought to break out of what he saw as the constraining matrices of language in order “to have access to a state situated in another space-time, where everything can appear simultaneously.” Formally, this entailed a “disarticulation” of the sentence by means of interpolated clauses set off with dashes. In qui —dans l’ordre —au rouge du soir— des mots— and , vers, Lewinter’s functional innovation—the asymmetrically spaced dash—“allows the horizontal prose ‘sentence’ to be excavated vertically,” and ultimately diagonally, restoring to language its “other dimensions: even the space of the word.”

In An Approach, the sentence gradually evolves: word choices change subtly; phrases are introduced, transposed, or deleted; punctuation shifts and changes form. Through these shifts and disruptions, the text begins to accede to a nonlinear logic, through which we can glimpse “the unspoken, which is its subject, between the words, through the words.”

— Rachel Careau

An Approach

Translated by Rachel Careau

4 On Friday, November 4, 1983, the translation of the Duino Elegies,
3 On Friday, November 4, 1983, the translation of the Duino Elegies,
2 On Friday, November 4, 1983, the translation of the Duino Elegies,
1 On Friday, November 4, 1983, the translation of the Duino Elegies,

4 by Rilke, completed the previous evening—when I had finally
3 by Rilke, completed the previous evening—when I had finally
2 by Rilke, completed the previous evening—when I had finally
1 by Rilke, completed the previous evening—when I had

4 decided to read them, in July 1982, struck by the first
3 decided to read them, in July 1982, struck by the first
2 decided to read them, in July 1982, struck by the first
1 discovered them, in July 1982, struck by the first

4 two lines—immediately, it had appeared to me possible to render
3 two lines—immediately, it appeared to me possible to render,
2 two lines—immediately, it appeared to me possible to render,
1 two lines—of which, immediately, it seemed to me possible to render

4 in its inflection opening to an extremity of emotion that I couldn’t
3 in its inflection opening to an extremity of emotion that I couldn’t
2 in its inflection opening to an extremity of emotion that I couldn’t
1 in its inflection opening to an extremity of emotion that I couldn’t

4 explain to myself, their phrasing—, at the time, I had made
3 explain to myself, their phrasing—, at the time, I had made
2 explain to myself, their phrasing—, at the time, I had made
1 explain to myself, the phrasing—, under its effect, I had made

4 a word-for-word translation—while I exhausted myself translating, an
3 a word-for-word translation—while I worked myself to exhaustion
2 a word-for-word translation—while I worked myself to exhaustion
1 a word-for-word translation whose, the entire time I was working

4 overdue request, The Conscience of Words, by Canetti—, incantatory
3 to finish translating, an overdue request, The Conscience of Words,
2 to finish translating, an overdue request, The Conscience of Words,
1 myself to exhaustion on The Conscience of Words, by Canetti, which

4 at its beginning, when, upon my father’s death, on March 23, 1983,
3 by Canetti—, incantatory at its beginning, when I realized upon my
2 by Canetti, incantatory at its beginning—, when, on March 23, 1983,
1 someone had asked me to do, beginning, incantatory, haunted me;

4 I realized that in its abruptness had appeared the memorial I wished
3 father’s death, on March 23, 1983, that in its abruptness had appeared
2 upon my father’s death, I realized that in its abruptness had appeared
1 upon my father’s death, on March 23, 1983, realizing that in their

4 to write; on September 3, 1983, the Canetti mailed out early
3 the memorial I wished to write; on September 3 finally,
2 the memorial I wished to write; thus devoting myself to it,
1 abruptness had suddenly appeared to me the memorial that I would

4 in the afternoon, with a sense of urgency thus devoting myself to it
3 the Canetti mailed out early in the afternoon, with a sense of urgency
2 the Canetti mailed out on September 3 early in the afternoon,
1 write for him; so that, the Canetti finally sent out on September 3

4 until the end, enjoining itself upon me the further I advanced—, after
3 devoting myself to it within the allotted time, enjoining itself
2 that very evening, in order to finish within the time
1 early in the afternoon, that very evening I threw myself into it,

4 going, in the morning—it was his birthday that day—, to Veyrier
3 upon me the further I advanced—, after, in the morning, going
2 thenceforth granted—, after, in the morning, going to Veyrier
1 in order to finish within the time thenceforth granted—, after having,

4 to recite the prayer over my father’s grave, at one o’clock,
3 to Veyrier to recite the prayer over my father’s grave—it was
2 to recite the prayer over my father’s grave—it was his birthday—,
1 in the morning, since it was his birthday that day, gone to Veyrier

4 on the impulse of the fulfilled wish having wanted
3 his birthday—, at one o’clock, on the impulse of the fulfilled wish
2 at one o’clock, on the impulse of the fulfilled wish wanting
1 to recite the prayer over my father’s grave, on the impulse

4 to photocopy the manuscript without delay at the CopyQuick
3 wanting to photocopy the manuscript that day at the CopyQuick
2 to photocopy the manuscript that day at the CopyQuick
1 of the fulfilled wish, at one o’clock, having decided to photocopy

4 on the rue de Carouge—the one in La Servette, near my home,
3 on the rue de Carouge—the one in La Servette, near my home,
2 on the rue de Carouge—the one in La Servette, near my home,
1 the manuscript at the CopyQuick on the rue de Carouge—the one in

4 for some weeks, had been closed—, so as not to run the risk
3 for some weeks, had been closed—, so as not to run the risk
2 for some weeks, had been closed—, so as not to run the risk
1 La Servette, near my home, for two months, had been closed—, so as

4 of meeting him by chance—the store being located
3 of meeting him by chance, the store being located
2 of meeting him by chance, the store being located
1 not to run the risk of a chance meeting—the store being located

4 at the bottom of his building—, I had decided to take, at the Molard,
3 at the bottom of his building, I had decided to take, at the Molard,
2 at the foot of his building, I had decided to take, at the Molard,
1 at the foot of his building—, I had wanted to take, at the Molard,

4 the line 12 tram, which would have left me at the door, exactly,
3 the line 12 tram, which would have left me at the door
2 the line 12 tram, which would have left me at the door
1 the line 12 tram, which would have left me at the door,

4 of the store, but didn’t arrive—an accident must have
3 of the store, but didn’t arrive—an accident must have
2 of the store, but didn’t arrive—an accident must have
1 but didn’t arrive—an accident must have

4 occurred on the line—, so after three-quarters of an hour, rather
3 occurred on the line—; so after three-quarters of an hour, rather
2 occurred on the line—; so after three-quarters of an hour, rather
1 occurred on the line—; so after a half hour, rather

4 than defer it, I made up my mind to go on foot, then take
3 than defer it, I chose to go on foot, then take
2 than defer it, I chose to go on foot, then take
1 than put it off, I decided to walk, then take,

4 the tram on the way, but none passed; at 3:10, the manuscript
3 the tram on the way, but none passed; at 3:10, the manuscript
2 the tram on the way, but none passed; at 3:10, the manuscript
1 en route, the tram, but none passed; at 3:00, having made

4 photocopied, and traffic still not flowing, so as not to
3 photocopied, and traffic still not flowing, so as not to
2 photocopied, and traffic still not flowing, so as not to
1 the photocopies, and traffic still not flowing, so as not to

4 wait beneath his windows, setting off again on foot, my heart
3 wait beneath his windows, setting off again on foot, my heart
2 wait beneath his windows, setting off again on foot, my heart
1 wait beneath his windows, setting off again on foot, my heart

4 pounding, relieved as I moved away, thinking, in order to wait,
3 pounding, relieved as I moved away, thinking, in order to wait,
2 pounding, relieved the more I moved away, thinking, in order to wait,
1 pounding, relieved the more I moved away, thinking, in order to wait,

4 of stopping at the Plainpalais roundabout, when, on the square
3 of stopping at the Plainpalais Roundabout, when, on the square
2 of stopping at the Plainpalais roundabout, when, on the square
1 of stopping at the Plainpalais Roundabout, when, lifting

4 already—I wanted to see whether a tram—one of them had already
3 already, to look behind me to see whether a tram wasn’t
2 already, to look behind me to see whether a tram wasn’t
1 my eyes to look backward to see whether a tram wasn’t

4 passed, going the other way—wasn’t coming in my direction—,
3 coming—one of them had just passed, going the other way—,
2 coming at last—one of them had just passed, going
1 coming in my direction—one of them had passed,

4 having lifted my eyes, in front of me—he himself, his eyes turned
3 lifting my eyes, in front of me I saw him, he himself
2 the other way—, lifting my eyes, I saw him, he himself
1 meanwhile, going the other way—, I caught sight of him,

4 as if inwardly, apparently not seeing me—, I saw him, cutting across
3 having apparently not seen me, cutting obliquely
2 having apparently not seen me, in front of me, crossing
1 crossing the Roundabout diagonally without seeing me,

4 the roundabout obliquely, nearby—he would, absentminded, pass
3 across the Roundabout, approach, absentminded
2 the Roundabout diagonally, approach, absentminded
1 there now, in front of me. I hadn’t seen him again

4 right by me—, approach now—except for one morning in July 1983,
3 —except for one morning in July, from a car,
2 —except for one morning in July, from a car,
1 —one morning in July only, from a car, seeing him,

4 boulevard Georges Favon—someone was driving me home—, at
3 boulevard Georges Favon, at the edge of the sidewalk,
2 boulevard Georges Favon, at the edge of the sidewalk,
1 boulevard Georges Favon,

4 the edge of the sidewalk, impatient to cross—dressed in a purple velour
3 impatient to cross—dressed in a purple velour sweatshirt, with
2 impatient to cross—dressed in a purple velour sweatshirt, with
1 waiting to cross;

4 sweatshirt, with emerald-green shoulders, his pack of Marlboros in the
3 emerald-green shoulders, his pack of Marlboros in the hand
2 emerald-green shoulders, his pack of Marlboros in the hand
1 and on August 1

4 hand propping the elbow of his other arm, slightly folded; the stream
3 propping the elbow of his other arm, slightly folded; the stream
2 that supported the elbow of his other arm, slightly folded; the stream
1 early in the afternoon,

4 of his torn face pinning me—, and on August 1 again, early
3 of his torn face pinning me—, and on August 1 early
2 of his torn face pinning me—, and on August 1 early
1 while I was on the tram,

4 in the afternoon—I had taken the line 12 tram—, at a table
3 in the afternoon, from the line 12 tram, at a table
2 in the afternoon, from the line 12 tram, at a table
1 at a table outside La Sportive

4 outside La Sportive—seated in company, visibly
3 outside La Sportive—seated in company, visibly
2 outside La Sportive—seated in company, obviously
1 seated in company, appearing to

4 becoming bored—, after my refusal, in November 1982
3 becoming bored—, where I had caught sight of him, after my refusal,
2 becoming bored—, where I had caught sight of him, after my refusal
1 become bored—since one evening in November 1982,

4 —one evening around ten o’clock, he had turned up,
3 in November 1982—one evening around ten o’clock, he had turned up,
2 in November 1982—one evening around ten o’clock, he had turned up,
1 dead drunk, he had dropped by

4 dead drunk, to ask me to pay for his vacation: he couldn’t
3 dead drunk, to ask me to pay for his vacation: he couldn’t
2 dead drunk, to ask me to pay for his vacation: he couldn’t
1 to ask me to pay for his vacation—he couldn’t

4 take it anymore in Geneva, he needed a change of air—; ten days
3 take it anymore in Geneva, he needed a change of air; ten days
2 take it anymore in Geneva, he needed a change of air; ten days
1 take it anymore in Geneva, he needed a change of air—: ten days

4 later—my father was, once again, hospitalized—, renewing
3 later—my father was, once again, hospitalized—, renewing
2 later—my father was, once again, hospitalized—, renewing
1 later, when my father was, once again, hospitalized, renewing

4 the attack: we should leave together—to leave alone was
3 the attack: we should leave together—to leave alone was
2 the attack: we should leave together—to leave alone was
1 the attack: we should leave together—to leave alone was

4 selfish, in fact—, at once, for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, or somewhere
3 selfish, in fact—, at once, for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, or somewhere
2 selfish, in fact—, at once, for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, or somewhere
1 selfish—, at once, for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, or somewhere

4 else, as long as there was white sand: “…not right away” “now
3 else, as long as there was white sand: “…not right away” “now
2 else, as long as there was white sand: “…not right away” “now
1 else, as long as there was white sand—…not right away—now

4 or never”—, I hadn’t seen him again, troubled by the certainty
3 or never”—, the certainty troubling me all the more since, however
2 or never”—, the certainty troubling me all the more since, however
1 or never—, without this absence of a sign

4 all the more since, however justified it might even be from his point
3 justified it might even be from his point of view, the break,
2 justified it might even be from his point of view, the break
1 on his part, which I interpreted as an end

4 of view, the break was revocable—inasmuch as—ever since he had,
3 at that moment, was revocable—inasmuch as—ever since he had,
2 was, at that moment, revocable—inasmuch as—ever since he had,
1 to the relationship, surprising me, inasmuch as, ever since,

4 on December 18, 1980, at two o’clock in the morning,
3 on December 18, 1980, at two o’clock in the morning,
2 on December 18, 1980, at two o’clock in the morning,
1 on December 18, 1980, at two o’clock in the morning,

4 in the public toilets in Saint-Gervais, where I cruised,
3 in the public toilets in Saint-Gervais, where I cruised,
2 in the public toilets in Saint-Gervais, where I cruised,
1 in the public toilets in Saint-Gervais, I had met him,

4 reeling, fallen to his knees at my feet—, with the reliability of
3 reeling, fallen to his knees at my feet—, with the reliability of
2 reeling, fallen to his knees at my feet—, with the reliability of
1 with the reliability of a hallucinated genie he would

4 a hallucinated genie, at a call—coming from me, I thought, not
3 a hallucinated genie, at a call—coming from me, I thought, not
2 a hallucinated genie, at a call—coming from me, I thought, not
1 loom up at a call—coming from me, I thought, not

4 thinking that it possibly issued from him—, a sporadic
3 thinking that it possibly issued from him—, a sporadic
2 thinking that it possibly issued from him—, a sporadic
1 conceiving that it could issue from him—which I didn’t

4 absolute giving itself without laying itself bare, which I was
3 absolute giving itself without laying itself bare, which I was
2 absolute giving itself without laying itself bare, which I was
1 master, a sporadic absolute giving itself

4 not free to leave, he would loom up, I knew it—, that instant—,
3 not free to leave, I knew it, he would loom up—, he hadn’t
2 not free to leave, I knew it, he would loom up—, he hadn’t
1 without laying itself bare; so that, in his encounter now

4 so that—at the café in Plainpalais, where we used to go,
3 appeared anymore—, so that, in his encounter—at the café in
2 appeared anymore—, so that, in his encounter—at the café in
1 —at the café in Plainpalais, where we used to go,

4 distracted, to stare at him—, in his encounter reading
3 Plainpalais, where we used to go, distracted, to stare at him—reading
2 Plainpalais, where we used to go, distracted, to stare at him—, thinking
1 distractedly staring at him—noticing the fulfillment

4 the fulfillment of the greatest test, Wednesday, November 9—he had
3 the fulfillment of the greatest test, Wednesday, November 9—he had,
2 obviously to read the fulfillment of the greatest test, Wednesday,
1 of the greatest test, Wednesday, November 9—he had,

4 again telephoned, offering to drop by late in the afternoon—, in
3 again, telephoned, offering to drop by late in the afternoon—, in
2 November 9—he had, again, telephoned, offering to come by late in
1 again, telephoned, offering to drop by late in the afternoon—,

4 the kitchen, over a glass of red wine, when he had said that he
3 the kitchen, over a glass of red wine, when he said that he
2 the afternoon—, in the kitchen, over a glass of red wine, when he said
1 when, in the kitchen, over a glass of red wine, he said that he

4 would like, seriously this time, to try to stop, but that he would,
3 would like, seriously this time, to try to stop, but that he would,
2 that he would like, seriously this time, to try to stop, but that he would,
1 would like, seriously this time, to try to stop, but that he would,

4 for that, need to be supported—in July 1981, determined to return
3 for that, need to be supported, at the idea that there could be, now,
2 for that, need to be supported, at the idea that there could be, now,
1 for that, need someone to support him, at the idea that there could

4 to work—at the bistro where he was a waiter, he was supposed
3 reciprocity, in my emptiness—on December 30, 1980, in the evening,
2 reciprocity, in my emptiness—on December 30, 1980, in the evening,
1 suddenly be reciprocity, in the emptiness in which I existed—on

4 to finish three days after our meeting, and hadn’t really
3 the desire that, for twelve days, had consumed him, vanished, when
2 the desire that, for twelve days, had consumed him, vanished, when
1 December 30, 1980, in the evening, the desire that for ten days

4 gone back since—, he had subjected himself to withdrawal, only, upon
3 he had, in a tone of obviousness, shot at me, “between you and me,
2 he had, in a tone of obviousness, shot at me, “between you and me,
1 consumed him having, instantly, vanished, when he had, with the

4 his leaving Bel-Air, drunk, to turn up at noon: I should pay, so that he
3 it’ll never work,” only, uncompromising, to then reject, as if it had
2 it’ll never work,” only, uncompromising, to then reject, as if it had
1 finality of obviousness, shot at me, “between you and me, it will

4 could recover now—I would support him, I had promised—, for his
3 been this, the inconceivable thing that through him I had glimpsed, an
2 been this, the inconceivable thing that through him I had glimpsed, an
1 never work,” only, uncompromising, to then reject, as if it were

4 stay in Zurich, at the home of one of his aunts who, from what
3 exultation that could have been pain just as easily in its searing
2 exultation that could have been pain just as easily in its searing
1 now the inconceivable thing that in his abandon I had glimpsed, with

4 he said, was a real boozer; at my refusal, infuriated, slamming
3 intensity, had shattered me—, of his warmth a wave bursting
2 intensity, had shattered me—, of his living warmth a wave bursting
1 a savagery that could have been just as easily pain, an exultation

4 the door—, at the idea that there could be, now, reciprocity—on
3 into me, I begged him—the twelve days during which he had, in one
2 into me, simply that he would allow me, overcome with happiness, I
1 had shattered me—, of his living warmth a wave bursting into me, I

4 December 30, 1980, in the evening, the desire that, for twelve days,
3 somnambulistic breath sifting out what I wanted
2 begged him—the twelve days during which he had, in one
1 implored him—while the ten days when he had tormented me,

4 had consumed him, vanished, when he had, in a tone of obviousness,
3 to hear exactly, tormented, “I love you and I adore you and I am
2 somnambulistic breath sifting out what I wanted to hear exactly,
1 “I love you and I adore you and I am very jealous and if you betray me

4 shot at me, “between you and me, it’ll never work,” only,
3 very jealous and if you betray me I will kill you, what d’you say,”
2 tormented, “I love you and I adore you and I am very jealous and if you
1 I will kill you, what d’you say?” even though his words had been just

4 uncompromising, to then reject, as if it had been this, the inconceivable
3 disconcerted that I had, in answering, taken advantage of
2 betray me I will kill you, what d’you say,” disconcerted that I had,
1 as I dreamed, disconcerted that while he was saying them to me, I

4 thing that, through him, I had glimpsed, an exultation that could have
3 his words—in their repeated tireless outburst was invoked,
2 in answering, taken advantage of his words—in their repeated tireless
1 had falsified them, since in their repeated tireless

4 been pain just as easily in its searing intensity had shattered me—, of
3 it seemed to me, this Italian whom he had, one
2 outburst was invoked, it seemed to me, this Italian whom he had, one
1 outburst was invoked the Italian whom one year earlier he had

4 his warmth a wave into my emptiness bursting, having begged him to
3 year earlier, met—personal secretary to an absent princess, who, to the
2 year earlier, met—personal secretary to an absent princess, who, to the
1 met—who had taken him to the villa of an absent princess whose

4 —the twelve days, during which he had, in one somnambulistic breath
3 empty villa, had taken him, only, after three months of living together,
2 empty villa, had taken him, only, after three months of living together,
1 personal secretary he was, only, after three months of living together,

4 sifting out what I wanted to hear exactly, tormented, “I love you
3 confessing to being married and the father of two children, returning
2 confessing to being married, father of two children, returning home,
1 confessing to being married and the father of two children, returning

4 and I adore you and I am very jealous and if you betray me I will
3 home, to leave him, fixed in his intensity—: at night, often it
2 to leave him, fixed in his intensity—: at night, he said to me, often it
1 to Rome, to leave him with fixed intensity—,

4 kill you, what d’you say,” disconcerted that I had, in answering, taken
3 was stronger than he was, crying, he said to me, he would telephone
2 was stronger than he was, he would telephone, crying, Italy—on
1 whom he spoke to me about so much that, on December 27,

4 advantage of his words—in their repeated tireless outburst invoking,
3 Italy—on the twenty-seventh of December, 1980, at the end of the
2 the twenty-seventh of December, 1980, at the end of the evening, at
1 at the Café du Marché, where, at the end of the evening, I had

4 it appeared to me, this Italian whom he had, one year earlier, met
3 evening, at the Café du Marché, where I had joined him, I had offered
2 the Café du Marché, where I had joined him, I had offered to pay,
1 joined him, I had offered him, if he wished, the trip

4 —personal secretary to a princess who was perpetually traveling, who,
3 to pay, if he wished, for his trip to Rome: “why do that?” “you jump
2 if he wished, for his trip to Rome: “why do that?” “you jump
1 to Rome—why do that?—you jump on top of him…

4 to the unoccupied villa, had taken him, only, after three months
3 on top of him”—he had, the night before, displayed to me, without its
2 on top of him”—he had, the night before, shown me, without its
1 —and then what?—, although he had been thrown

4 of living together, confessing to being married, father of two children,
3 interesting me, a series of photos that he saved of him, in his
2 interesting me, a series of photos that he saved of him, in his
1 off balance by it—you don’t

4 returning home, to leave him, fixed in his intensity—: at night, it
3 underwear—“and then what”—, however thrown off balance he
2 underwear—“and then what”—, however thrown off balance he
1 love me—why?—you’re not jealous

4 was stronger than he was, often, he said to me, in tears, he would
3 had been by it—“you don’t love me” “why?” “you’re not jealous”
2 had been by it—“you don’t love me” “why?” “you’re not jealous”
1 —I have no reason to be jealous

4 telephone Italy—on the twenty-seventh of December, 1980, at the end
3 “I have no reason to be jealous” “when you love, you’re jealous
2 “I have no reason to be jealous” “when you love, you’re jealous
1 —when you love, you’re jealous without reason—,

4 of the evening, at the Café du Marché, where I had joined him, I had
3 without reason”—, I had remained in a withdrawn silence
2 without reason”—, I had remained in a withdrawn silence
1 I had remained in a withdrawn silence

4 offered to pay, if he wished, for his trip to Rome: “why do that”
3 from which—even though, through his body entirely surrendered,
2 from which—even though, through his body entirely surrendered,
1 from which—even though, through his body entirely surrendered,

4 “you jump on top of him”—he had, the night before, displayed,
3 he had taught me shame—he inferred—unsettling my subtlety
2 he had taught me shame—he inferred—unsettling my subtlety
1 he had taught me shame—he concluded that I took him for

4 without its interesting me, a series of photos that he saved of him, in
3 of understanding, inclining me to believe, however reluctantly,
2 of understanding, persuading me, however reluctantly, which
1 a prostitute—: “I love you, let me help you,” not forgetting

4 his underwear—“and then what”—, however thrown off balance
3 which moved me deeply in its simplicity, his experience—that I
2 moved me deeply, in its simplicity, of his experience—that I
1 that in April 1981, I hadn’t been equal to the task—forced

4 he had been by it—“you don’t love me” “why?” “you’re not jealous”
3 took him for a prostitute—: “I love you, let me help you”—in
2 took him for a prostitute—: “I love you, let me help you,” at
1 as he was to return to work—he had stopped,

4 “I have no reason to be jealous” “when you love, you’re jealous
3 July 1981, determined to work again—at the bistro
2 the memory of my inability—in July 1981, when, determined
1 at the bistro where he was a waiter, three days

4 without reason”—, I had remained in a withdrawn silence
3 where he was a waiter, three days after our meeting he stopped, and
2 to seek new work—at the bistro where he was a waiter, three
1 after our meeting, without going back—, he

4 from which—even though, through his body entirely
3 hadn’t really gone back—, he had subjected himself to withdrawal,
2 days after our meeting he stopped, and hadn’t gone back—, he had
1 had subjected himself to withdrawal; upon his

4 surrendered, he had taught me shame—he inferred—unsettling
3 only, upon his leaving Bel-Air, drunk, to turn up: I should pay,
2 subjected himself to withdrawal, only, upon his leaving Bel-Air—he
1 leaving Bel-Air, drunk, turning up: I should pay,

4 my subtlety of understanding, leading me to believe, however
3 so that he could recover now—I would support him, I had
2 could count on me, I had promised—, drunk, to turn up: I should pay,
1 so that he could recover now, for his stay

4 reluctantly, which moved me deeply in its simplicity, his
3 promised—, for his stay in Zurich, at the home of one of his
2 so that he could recover now, for his stay in Zurich, at the home
1 in Zurich, at the home of one of his aunts who, from what

4 experience—that I took him for a prostitute—: “I love you,
3 aunts who, from what he said, was a real boozer; at my refusal,
2 of one of his aunts who, from what he said, was a real boozer; at my
1 he said, was a real boozer; at my refusal, infuriated,

4 let me help you”—at the moment he left—having taken it in,
3 infuriated, slamming the door—, even though he had taken it in,
2 refusal, infuriated, slamming the door—, completely happy that he
1 slamming the door—, even though he appeared to agree,

Roger Lewinter was born in Montauban, France, in 1941, to Austrian Jewish parents. He is the author of some dozen books, among them L’apparat de l’âmed’inflexion, pénétrant; and, most recently, façon d’être—une articulation—. His strikingly original new translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus (First Part), along with his groundbreaking commentary on the Sonnets, will be published in France in 2018. Story of Love in Solitude and The Attraction of Things (New Directions, 2016) are the first of his books to appear in English translation. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland.

Rachel Careau’s translations of Roger Lewinter’s Story of Love in Solitude and The Attraction of Things were published by New Directions in 2016. Her stories have appeared recently in Lemon Hound and Plume, and her translations have been featured in Harper’sLiterary Hub, and Two Lines, where her essay on translating Lewinter’s work, “The Trivial and the Sublime: Roger Lewinter’s ‘Passion,’” also appeared. She lives in Hudson, New York.

Roger Lewinter's Story of Love in Solitude and The Attraction of Things by K. Thomas Kahn
229831657 01122017 Roger Lewinter Bomb 01
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