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Reading nights: the thousand and one languages ​​of the Academies

This is a first this year.

- 3 reads.

Reading nights: the thousand and one languages ​​of the Academies

This is a first this year. The Institut de France and the five Academies (French, fine arts, inscriptions and belles-lettres, sciences and moral and political sciences) join the Nights of Reading. Under the aegis of Xavier Darcos, re-elected on December 5, the institution continues its desire to be open to the public. “Reading Nights is in itself a subject that is suitable for the academic world since whatever the Academies, we are the great defenders of reading and the text,” underlines the Chancellor. “It is also part of the general context of the Institute's cultural policy of openness to the outside world initiated for five years.”

Around fifteen academicians will offer readings from a series of texts on the theme of the body on Saturday January 20. These readings will alternate between the original text - Armenian, Japanese, Spanish or Latin - and their translation into modern French. This approach will allow us to explore the relationship between languages ​​as well as the reader's experience of the texts.

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Xavier Darcos, for his part, immediately found his work: Ovid's Metamorphoses. “If there is a text that celebrates the body it is truly this work,” he recalls. “The first two verses evoke it from the outset. In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas Corpora/My spirit leads me to sing the forms of the body in all its metamorphoses. I chose the story of Daphne pursued by Apollo who turns into a laurel tree just as the god is about to catch up with her. I will read around twenty verses in Latin and give the translation of a slightly longer passage. Enough to revive memories of the version and make young people want to learn this language.

The evening will take place in two stages. The first part will start at 7:30 p.m. Under the Dome we will find personalities from the different academies: Blanca Li (Academy of Fine Arts), Michel Zink (French Academy, Honorary Perpetual Secretary of the Académie des Belles-Lettres), Dany Laferrière (French Academy). The latter will perfectly combine French and Creole with extracts from poems by Li Po and Bashô illustrated in four of his books. “These are poets who have accompanied me throughout my writing life,” confides the academician. “I will also read the first poem ever written in the Creole language Lisette left the plain of Duvivier de la Mahautière and I will add this poem by Émile Roumer Marabout de mon coeur which has become a classic of Haitian literature. The poet here confuses desire, food and the female body, written in Creole marinated in French, and often set to music.

There will be a projection of drawings from his works. An explosion of colors that reflects this mixed universe. “I am having a poetry evening for my simple pleasure, hoping that my sensitivity will match that of the people present. In my eyes, poetry does not tolerate comments. It is self-sufficient by creating this state of grace” concludes the writer.

In the second part Erik Orsenna will recite a Fable of La Fontaine The Grenouille who wants to be as big as the ox as an extension of the workshop program initiated by Étienne Ghys and Pierre Léna. Every week activities are offered to children arriving from Ukraine. The text will be read in French and Ukrainian.

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At the same time, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Mazarine library is organizing a reading marathon by volunteers, texts of their choice or selected by librarians related to the theme of the body. Theatrical, choreographic and musical interludes by Conservatory students will punctuate the evening. Opening up to the outside world and opening up to the world, this invitation to travel through languages ​​in space and time will reveal the perception of the body in ancient or contemporary cultures.

Reading night. The thousand and one languages. 23, quai de Conti, Paris 6th. From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Free registration

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