From the Contemporary Poetry Series #2
The Real Life of Shadows presents Jean Frémon’s personal pantheon of artists in nineteen essays that explore the lives and lasting influence of these painters and writers throughout history. In this highly original work, Frémon visits each artist at a crucial moment in life, in order to distill an essential spiritual biography and portrait of the artist. The elegance and inventiveness of his writing make us privileged witnesses of these poetic investigations.
Praise for The Real Life of Shadows
Jean Frémon’s Real Life of Shadows delivers its dazzling récits with delicately calibrated irony. Frémon writes in “the words of others” tales of stunning quiet mystery. His painterly journey, ably translated by Cole Swensen, portrays a parallel present of chance and circumstance, where fragmented narrative, or narrative fragments, fall into the gaps as well as the text, intervals fulfilling inscription.
— Norma Cole
The stylistic elegance and intellectual brilliance of Jean Frémon’s writing about artists is unrivaled in both his essays and fictions. I cannot think of another writer who lives so fully in these very different worlds. He regularly publishes essays in which he wears his vast knowledge lightly, deals directly and deftly with complex issues, and always helps the reader to see more, and to think in another way. And as if this were not enough, in The Real Life of Shadows we are the lucky recipients of fictions full of love, tenderness, and sympathy. As with his essays, there is not a drop of sentimentality or dogma here, but there is a lot of necessary nourishment and original insight.
— John Yau
Jean Frémon is a poet, novelist and art critic who has written extensively about artists as well as for exhibition catalogues and art journals. This collection of nineteen of his essays focuses upon artists who have influenced his life; each entry is a mini-biography and aesthetic exploration of creativity.
— Translation Review