It is a young literary award which is celebrating its third edition but whose prize list would make many envious. The Guy-Bedouelle literary prize aims to distinguish a text which makes the link between arts and the sacred. It can be a novel, a story or even a collection of poetry. Religion can play a role, but it is not obligatory. The first two winners are J.M.G Le Clézio, crowned in 2021 for And the flow of poetry will continue to flow (Philippe Rey), and Metin Arditi, last year, The man who painted souls (Grasset). If the 2023 winner, who has just been proclaimed, is less known than her predecessors, her novel is no less strong. It is a great text that the jury has designated: The First Dream of the World published by Gallimard, in the “Haute Enfance” collection, signed by Anne Sibran, ethnologist and philosopher, also novelist, author of books for young people and radio plays.
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The composition of the jury is unique compared to more traditional juries, it brings together staff and students from the Catholic University of the West, in Angers, as well as personalities from the literary and artistic world, under the honorary presidency. by JMG Le Clézio, first winner of the Guy-Bedouelle prize.
In The First Dream of the World Anne Sibran features Paul Cézanne, who travels the countryside around Aix-en-Provence in search of a new perspective to nourish his art, Barthélemy Racine, a genius ophthalmologist exiled to the Americas for having treated the wounded of the Commune, returned to France with Kitsidano, a young blind Native American woman whom he had married. Having come to consult Barthélemy's Parisian office, the painter met them.
The writer, who is divided between France and Ecuador, evokes Cézanne the intransigent, at the foot of the Sainte-Victoire mountain: the painter's eyesight deteriorates seriously and forces him to leave for Paris to consult Barthélémy Racine, the specialist in cataract surgery. This meeting between art and science leads to a third dimension: the American Indians among whom the tireless researcher will discover other wisdoms and knowledge; he returns with a blind native companion who transfigures Paris.
This world-book invites us to take a fresh look at all things, to “put our eyes in patience.” The amazed reader, carried by incandescent writing, slides from one universe to another in the beauty, the goodness of the universe, against all odds.
Moreover, Anne Sibran highlights a quote from François Cheng in Five Meditations on Beauty which gives an indication of the spirit of her book: “In these times of omnipresent misery, blind violence, natural or ecological disasters, talking about beauty may seem incongruous, inappropriate, or even provocative. Almost a scandal. But because of this, we see that, in contrast to evil, beauty is located at the other end of a reality that we have to face. I am convinced that we have the urgent and permanent task of staring at these two mysteries which constitute the ends of the living universe: on the one hand, evil; on the other, beauty. Anne Sibran also highlights Paul Cézanne, of course, who wrote: “I would like to rediscover these sensations that we have when we are born. »