Thursday, May 05, 2005

"The Departure of the Shadow" by Guillaume Apollinaire

A young woman dies and it's all because she lost her shadow. Oh well, her lover was tired of her, anyway. It's easy to label stories such as this modernist and "surrealist" because after all Apollinaire called his work that himself, but there's something of an old-fashioned folk tale, as well, in this short piece translated by Ron Padgett. Read by Scoot.

No, Guillaume Apollinaire wasn't really French, at least by ancestry and birth. (He was really Wilhelm Albert Vladimir Apollinaris de Kostrowicki, born in Rome, the son of a Polish countess and an Italian-Swiss nobleman.) And no, he didn't steal the Mona Lisa, though the French police once arrested him for that. (It was some other anarchist, wasn't it?) Yes, he did coin the word "surrealism" and had a profound influence as well on the cubist movement. But no, he never publicly admitted he wrote the racy novels that were banned in France until 1970, but, alas, yes, he did die of the flu during the 1918 pandemic, at the age of 38, and so wouldn't have been able to enjoy the profits for long, anyway.

No comments: