Les meues universitats

My Universities | L'Avenç, 2012

After the well-received Una educació francesa (L'Avenç, 2009; Lletra d'Or prize), the same publisher brings us Les meues universitats, in which Joan-Daniel Bezsonoff shares once more his memories of youth in the characteristically brilliant style that has won him critical acclaim.

“I haven’t been lucky enough to fight in any wars, I’ve never been tortured by the police, no jealous spouse has murdered me and I haven’t ever suffered a serious accident. I have a flat life, with nothing of interest in it, filled with novels and dictionaries. I have loved a few women, death has robbed me of a few friends, and I’ve studied a dozen languages, as varied as Afrikaans and Provençal, but these sentimental and philological journeys are of no interest to anyone. Throughout the dull, bitter empty life of a keeper of dead languages, I have gone through a great intellectual adventure. La Khâgne. I will try to explain, in an intelligible way and in the Catalan of the tundra that we speak in Roussillon, this very French tale. In those days, students still studied Latin and Greek. We listened to music on vinyl and cassette tapes. AIDS had yet to invent any mad wise man. If you wanted to ring home, you had to go into a phone box with a fistful of coins. We lived with a melancholy joy, a belated romanticism and we liked sunsets, the company of angels, croissants in the morning, newspaper ink staining our hands, Italian liqueurs and the songs of Frank Sinatra. We loved life and life loved us back.”