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Distributed for Seagull Books

The Inventors

And Other Poems

Translated and with an Introduction by Mark Hutchinson
One of the foremost poets of the French Resistance, René Char has been hailed by Donald Revell as “the conscience of modern French poetry.” Translated by Mark Hutchinson, The Inventors is a companion volume to Char’s critically acclaimed Hypnos. It gathers more than forty poems that represent a cross-section of Char’s mature work, spanning from 1936 to 1988. All three genres of Char’s work are represented here: verse poems, prose poems, and the abrupt, lapidary propositions for which he is best known. These maxima sententia combine the terseness of La Rochefoucauld with the probing and sometimes riddling character of the fragments of Heraclitus.

The Inventors includes a brief introduction to Char’s life and work, as well as a series of notes on the backstories of the works, which explain allusions that may not be immediately familiar to the English-speaking reader. These new translations stay true to the originals, while at the same time conveying much of the music and beauty of the French poems.

Praise for René Char
“Char, I believe, is a poet who will tower over twentieth-century French poetry.”—George Steiner

112 pages | 5 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

The French List


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“Char’s The Inventors and Other Poems translated by Hutchinson, makes a fine introduction to this major figure, and Seagull’s publications are beautiful objects in themselves.”


“The book feels complete and welcoming, enrapturing as an English-language text of the poetry of Char. Hutchinson and Seagull have released what English readers of Char have needed: a mixture of the beautiful and the scholarly that will open up all readers of Char’s amazing art to vast levels of new understanding.”

Queen Mobs Teahouse

“With the release of The Inventors, beautifully translated by Hutchinson, Seagull Books does poetry readers a great service by reinvigorating interest in a man once named by Albert Camus as ‘France’s greatest living poet.’ The Inventors is meant to be read alongside Hutchinson’s other translation, Hypnos: Notes from the French Resistance, and for me this is not optional—independently they are each beautiful books, but together they are stunning.”


“An important member of the French Resistance, Char wrote a variety of poetry ranging from verse to prose and the philosophical to the politically engaged, all of which employs experimental, engaging imagery. This collection provides an entrée into the poet’s work over his career with thoughtful English translations that remain faithful to the originals while maintaining their resonant lyricism.”

World Literature Today

Table of Contents


The Schoolgirl’s Companion
From Four Ages
Anguish, Gunfire, Silence
Magdalene at the Night Light
Torn Mountain
The Lords of Maussane
The Inventors
The Secret Lover
Death Mask
The Deadly Sparring-Partner
The Epte Woods
Young Viper
Why the Day Files
Qu’il Vive!
The Library is on Fire
Lay of the Fig Tree
     1. Dead Bird-Man, Dying Bison
     2. Black Stags
     3. The Unnameable Beast
     4. Young Horse with Hazy Mane
On the One Axis
     1. The Just Vision of Georges de la Tour
     2. The Ruin of Albion
Dumb Show
The Mirage of the Clock Hands
The Last March
How Did I Ever Get This Late
Earth’s Precariousness
Galactic Winds
Bell Glass
The Stranded Bucket
The Resourceful Bulrush
The March Hare’s Vindication
At the Prow of the Roof
The Mighty Jumper
To M. H.


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