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The Silent Crossing

A prolific essayist, novelist, translator, philosopher, and a critic of rare elegance, Pascal Quignard returns anew to the major questions of existence in The Silent Crossing, a haunting homage to life and liberty, to society and solitude, and to the binding and unbinding that constitute the weft of our lives.
Drawing on materials from across many cultures, Quignard makes an effort to establish shared human values as the breeding ground for a modern Enlightenment. Considering atheism as a spiritual liberation, suicide as a free act, and the rejection of society as a free choice, the author explores philosophical themes that have run through human civilizations—most often as heresies—from our earliest days. In his search for freedom, Quignard questions the binding dependency of religion, querying how, in a world where all forms of society presuppose that someone (or some collective) is looking over our shoulders, we can be free. These reflections, he implies, are the essential spiritual exercise for our times.
Few voices in contemporary French literature are more distinct than that of Quignard. By reading this fragmentary, episodic assemblage of intimate experiences and borrowed tales, we open up a space of liberty, creating for the reader space for meditation and, perhaps, liberation.
Pascal Quignard is undoubtedly the most iconoclastic of contemporary French authors.”—Catherine Argand, Lire
“Quignard has redefined historical fiction as both hoax and enigma.”—Burning Deck on Wooden Tablets: Apronenia Avitia

296 pages | 5 x 8 | © 2013

The French List

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages

Philosophy: General Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Translator’s Acknowledgement

1. (The Infant’s Boat)
2. Louise Brulé
3. Quai de la fausse rivière
4. (Étienne Mallarmé)
5. Laodamia
6. Salomon of London
7. The City from the Other World
8. The Dust Devil
9. (Exile)
10. (Hell)
11. (Cardinal Mazarin)
12. (Nekyia)
13. (Madame de La Fayette)
14. The Last Tourney
15. (La Valliote)
16. (Anne’s Skull)
17. Eternal Damnation
18. (Bellerophon)
19. The Last Abbot
20. (Do not become Yourself)
21. Ipsimus
22. Separate, Sacred Communication
23. (Countess of Hornoc)
24. Whitcomb Judson
25. Ecstasy and Enstasy
26. Impetuous Death
27. De Suicidio
28. (Arria)
29. (Origo atheismi)
30.  Jesus the Suicide
31. Liberty
32. The Definition of ‘The Open’
33. Autarkès
34. Menephron
35. (Dogs and Cats)
36. (The Sadness of Liberty)
37. (Insulae)
38. Marvellous Hatred
39. (Jaw)
40. (The Prague City Clock)
41. Bossuet’s Mouth
42. (January)
43. (Candelmas)
44.(Caesar’s Penultimate Words)
45. (On the Supposed Functions of Death)
46. (The Caterpillar Knows Nothing . . .)
47. The Singing Festivals of the Marais
48. Kingdom of the Shadows
49. (Il Morto)
50. (Vis)
51. The Boat with the Black Flames
52. On the Power Inherent in the Colour Black
53. Pompey
54. (On those Banned from Hell)
55. (Franz Süssmayr)
56. (Philodemus of Herculaneum)
57. Experiri
58. (De reliquo)
59. (On the Chrysanthemum’s Entry into the History of France)
60. (The Umbilical)
61. (The Emperor Alexander)
62. (Rites of the Dead)
63. (Thamus)
64. (The 1878 Epigraph)
65. De atheismo
66. (Atheists and Men of Letters)
67. (Gott ist tot)
68. The Four Theses
69. Superstitiosi, Religiosi, People in Mourning
70. Immortalia ne speres
71. (Death of Henrietta Anne of England)
72. (De natura decorum)
73. The Castle of Grief
74. Post-mortem Assaults on Reputation
75. The Cat
76. (Armida)
77. Porte Saint-Ouen
78. Old Thunderstorm
79. Quomodo dicis quod amas me
80. (Oxford)
81. (Cäcilia Mūller)
82. (François Pontrain)
83. Lille
84. The Bay of Naples in 1552
85. (The Seven Fishermen)
86. Charon’s Bark

Translator’s Notes

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