Falstaff:Apotheosis by Pierre Senges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falstaff: Apotheosis by Pierre Senges

French Chapbook fiction

Original title –Falstaff : apothéose

Translator – Jacob Siefring

Source – review copy

I was pleased when I was sent this from a new small publisher in the US Sublunary editions that are specializing in shorter text pieces and prose they also have a monthly mailing which is the cornerstone of the project. They have also brought some chapbooks out. That is how I first saw them when Jacob the translator of this chapbook and some I follow on twitter had sent me his translation of a length for the novel by Pierre Senges which I loved. Seneges is an unknown writer to us in English he has a baroque style and is clever in using characters from other works as the cornerstone of his works as  Jacob says in the Afterword his initials are the best guide to his writing a post scriptum. As Jacob says in his afterword Senges belongs among the likes of Calvino and Borges as he uses actual and fictional historical figures as a starting or as Javier Cercas says a blind spot.  Senges here uses a single piece that in scene five when Falstaff falls and appears dead and Percy Hotspur is wounded. Here is what Falstaff said in HenryIV

Didst thou? Lord, Lord, how this world is given to
lying! I grant you I was down and out of breath;
and so was he: but we rose both at an instant and

fought a long hour by Shrewsbury clock. If I may be
believed, so; if not, let them that should reward
valour bear the sin upon their own heads. I’ll take
it upon my death, I gave him this wound in the
thigh: if the man were alive and would deny it,
‘zounds, I would make him eat a piece of my sword.

A quote from Shakespeare’s HenryIV falstaff about his death that wasn’t on the battlefield.

What Senges does is build a short tales that reinvents his loveable rogue cowardly that spends his days hanging around the Boars head drinking with the wrong sort. Here that is changing and his playing dead on the field of battle and reinventing the man as a heroic knight. How avoiding death lead to him choosing to die as he puts in one part to be the master of ones of death. Even the drunken Falstaff in his bed is raised to a heroic form with his sheets from Holland, silk from China and cotton from France. He says about Falstaff on the floor Falstaff dying he will get back up again once the assassin has flown. Falstaff being tranquil to keep silent like the sunflower.

Falstaff’s Apotheosis was to have played dead on the battlefield, to have tricked the assasin without letting tje spectators down, to have gotten back up without a single witness, and to have gone on living a year por two after that first droll sacrifice.Back at the tavern, newlly confronted with his never ending money troubles, his unpaid bills, his promise to old maids, friendships looked on like platters of seafood, Falstaff is a harbinger when the dinner bell rings, for the ressurection of glorious bodies.

Falstaff Apotheosis opening lines.

This is an interesting little chapbook taken from a piece he wrote for a Quebec based magazine Les Ecritsin 2012. There is a dry wit here in the books Jacob says this in his afterword that his editors saw this as well in the book. He also described the Fineline in the translation of the work walking a Fineline between the past and present in the syntax and diction that sounded right. Senges is clever at using historic figures and rewriting them in his own tales he is like Borges in that regard. Borges chose to inherit Shakespeare’s memories as his turning point for a Shakespeare based tale. As in the afterword, the need to invent a character is bypassed especially when one chooses a character as rich as Falstaff to work a new tale around this is something \senges has done in his other books from Captain Ahab the german scientist and aphorist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg and Antonio de Guevera in the Major Refutation which I reviewed here . He is a master of baroque twists of great characters of the past. Have you read Senges?  this new chapbook is a great little intro to an interesting and so far overlooked writer.

 

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