Mydriasis: Followed by To the Icebergs


Author: J. M. G. Le Clézio
Translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan

9780857426543 | HB | pp. 124 | 2019 | Seagull Books

In Mydriasis the author takes us on a journey, with new departures and poetic adventure, into parallel worlds and whirling visions. To the Icebergs provides an analysis of and deep insight into Michaux’s poem “Iniji”.

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While presenting the Nobel Prize in Literature to J. M. G. Le Clézio in 2008, the Nobel Committee called him the “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.” In Mydriasis, the author proves himself to be precisely that as he takes us on a phantasmagoric journey into parallel worlds and whirling visions. Dwelling on darkness, light, and human vision, Le Clézio’s richly poetic prose composes a mesmerizing song and a dizzying exploration of the universe–a universe not unlike the abysses explored by the highly idiosyncratic Belgian poet Henri Michaux.

Michaux is, in fact, at the heart of To the Icebergs. Fascinated by his writing, Le Clézio includes Michaux’s “poem of the poem,” “Iniji,” thereby allowing the poet’s voice to emerge by itself. What follows is much more than a simple analysis of the poem; rather, it is an act of complete insight and understanding, a personal appropriation and elevation of the work. Written originally in the 1970s and now translated into English for the first time, these two brief, incisive and haunting texts will further strengthen the reputation of one of the world’s greatest and most visionary living writers.

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J. M. G. Le Clézio
Translator: Teresa Lavender Fagan







Year of Publication:



Seagull Books





Country of Origin:


About the Authors

The author, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in Nice in 1940. He is best known for his short-story collection Fever (1965) and his novels The Flood (1966), War (1970) and The Giants (1973). His acclaimed novel Desert (1980) was awarded the Grand Prix Paul Morand by the French Academy.

The translator is a freelancer living in Chicago, who has published over 20 translations, including J. M. G. Le Clézio’s The Mexican Dream (1993) and, for Seagull Books, his Mydriasis followed by To the Icebergs (2019). She has also translated works by Roland Barthes, Tzvetan Todorov, Diane Meur, and Florence Noiville.


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