A Parisian man with big hair and a parrot, a famous cult author, did this book La Disparition, a sort of whodunit which was also brought out in Britain in a rough but amusing translation as A Void. In La Disparition you originally found such classic Gallic works as ‘Cats’, ‘Chill Out, My Sorrow’ (or ‘Taking Stock’, if you wish), and ‘Sailor’s Wind’, all by two famous Symbolist bards; and most notably Victor Hugo’s ‘As Boaz was Dozing’; but always with this singular constraint. In A Void, our skilful British translator Mr G Adair, off his own bat, put in works that you’d find in any British anthology — ‘Ozymandias’, ‘Milton on his Glaucoma’ and so on, again rigidly following a lipogrammatic modus laborandi.
I saw how it was, and you might say I took ship straight back to Calais! My own translations match all of La Disparition’s originals, still in lipogrammatic form. This poignant posy is by un grand maudit, initials CB, ‘a son by adoption of Commandant Aupick’.
Published in MPT, vol 8, 1995. For all this group of lipograms (Baudelaire Les Chats, Recueillement, Correspondances; Mallarmé Brise Marine; Rimbaud Voyelles; Hugo Booz Endormi), go to www.brindinpress.com. I am easily found under Translators.