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Le Vif / L'Express
February 7-13, 2003
N° 2692, pp 40-51, 89

The Simenon Phenomenon
...100 years
Simenon ...a century!
Searcher of souls
The 10 Simenons to read
From the page to the screen
Studies on the man with the pipe
Simenon on stage
Searching for Simenon 
Original French

On the occasion of Simenon's centenary, numerous works have appeared or are resurfacing. This time, it is the writer himself who is the object of the investigations of a Maigret squad

Studies on the Man with the Pipe

With regard to the work itself, we note first the achievement of Presses de la Cité: l'édition complète en 25 volumes (about 25,000 pages), in the collection Omnibus, of all the novels and stories to which Simenon signed his own name. The first fifteen volumes group – Maigret and other novels mixed together – all the works written from 1945 to 1972. The other ten cover the novels and short stories published from 1931 to 1945. A special feature of this edition is that the covers are all photos taken by Simenon himself, and establish a rapport with the works published in each volume.
From the same publisher, a 'roman dur' ('serious' novel), La Chambre bleue, as well as two Maigret short stories illustrated by Loustal.

Other events: the entry of Simenon, next May, into the collection of La Pléiade, with two volumes containing a total of 21 novels (including 5 Maigrets). An edition conceived under the direction of Jacques Dubois, president of the Center for Georges Simenon Studies at the University of Liège. It will be accompanied by a Simenon Album, abundantly illustrated following the traditional formula adopted by Gallimard. The same house publishes in its famous Discovery Gallimard collection, Ecrire l'homme, by Michel Lemoine (144 pp.). As expected considering the source, an excellent interaction of text, photos and interviews.

Three biographical albums on the writer and his work appear, endowed with many documents and illustrations. First, from Textual, by John-Baptiste Baronian and Michel Schepens, the remarkable Passion Simenon. L'homme à romans (192 pp).
This album, the work of two eminent Simenon specialists, accompanies step-by-step and year-by-year, the life of the man and author, with all his contradictions and in the context of his century. It includes more than 500 iconographic documents (including some previously unpublished from the family's archives).

From La Renaissance du Livre, by Danielle Bajomée, Simenon. Une légende du xxe siècle (192 pp). Director of the Center for Georges Simenon Studies, the author explores the writer's work and personality through a succession of themes that progressively surround the reality of the Simenon 'mystery'. Supplemented by numerous illustrations and documents, and with the additional assistance of Dick Tomasovic, for the adaptations of Simenon to the large and small screens. Also from La Renaissance du Livre, Le Roman de Simenon (152 pp) unites a bevy of specialists around the autobiographical novel Pedigree, a key work in the writer's production.

From Editions Complexe, the reedition of Simenon, l'homme, l'univers, la création (236 pp). This work, which served as the catalog for the1993 Simenon exhibition at Liège, is the fruit of a collaboration of 16 specialists of the œuvre who sign the different themes treated. Numerous illustrations and a very complete bibliography of the works, including those written under pseudonyms.

Another recognized specialist, Michel Carly, presents Sur les routes américaines avec Simenon (Carnets Omnibus, 372 pp), a work illuminating Simenon's least known period. The author follows the tracks of the writer, following the menu of Simenon's itinerary, places stayed, intimate life and associations, during his stay in the United States and Canada.

In Liège couleur Simenon (3 volumes, éditions du Céfal, 560 pp), Michel Lemoine, tireless explorer of the rapport between the writer and his native city, visits all the places in Liège cited in his work. With notebooks of illustrations and an important set of notes.

Simenon ou le roman gris (Textual, 144 pp), unites, under the pen of Jean-Baptiste Baronian, nine 'sentimental studies', each illuminating an aspect of the work. An original exploration of the novelist's universe.

In Simenon jeune journaliste (Complexe, 180 pp), Jacques-Charles Lemaire paints the portrait of an 'anarchist' conformist. He analyzes the ideology of the young journalist of the Gazette de Liège, where Simenon, just out of his adolescence, wrote a series of anti-semitic columns, virulent texts replicated at full length in the work.

In the chapter of reeditions, notably, Anne Richter's Simenon malgré lui, (La Renaissance du Livre, 152 pp) goes in search of the true Simenon through a work that sometimes reveals and sometimes hides, Denis Tillinac's Le Mystère Simenon, (La Table ronde, 216 pp), an admiring and lucid classic that also explores the 'complex universe' of the man and his work. We obviously cannot mention the numerous works – on average more of one per year – written during these last fifty years, but include the veteran, Thomas Narcejac's Le Cas Simenon (published in 1950 and reissued in 2000 by Castor Astral). And a precious and revealing document, the album Photographies de Simenon, published in 1999 by the Charleroi Museum of Photography.

Gh.C.


 

Le Vif / L'Express
February 7-13, 2003
N° 2692, pp 40-51, 89

The Simenon Phenomenon
...100 years
  Simenon ...a century!
Searcher of souls
The 10 Simenons to read
From the page to the screen
Studies on the man with the pipe
Simenon on stage
Searching for Simenon 


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