Selected Writings of Jules Supervielle
by Jules Supervielle
Translated by Enid McLeod
This is the first presentation in depth of the work of one of the most influential writers of modern France, Jules Supervielle (1884-1960). Up to now, only an occasional selection has appeared in an anthology, and he is still little known to American readers. Yet Supervielle is one of the unique creators of our time. His fables have the clear-eyed, slightly wry vision of the intelligent child. His poems have a Iucidity of language that throws new light on each word, each thought. In his novel The Man Who Stole Children, complete in this volume, he uses the fantastic premise that a child uncared for by its parents may simply be picked up off the street and adopted, to illuminate man’s problems of human behavior and emotion. Supervielle in his poetry and prose, as in his personal influence on other writers, is quiet, unassuming, matter-of-fact. There is a quietness, too, almost an impersonality about his approach to life and the events of every day. His poems are statements and almost never is there the fireworks of imagery or startling figure of speech that one associates with some twentieth-century schools of writing. Throughout his work may be felt the vast spaces of Uruguay, where he was born, and of the sea, a pervading symbol. This edition contains eight of his stories. translated by Enid McLeod, more than forty of his poems with French text en face translated by James Kirkup, Denise Levertov, and Kenneth Rexroth, and the complete novel, Le Voleur d’enfants, translated by Alan Pryce-Jones.