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The Plurality of Worlds of Lewis [Paperback]

Jacques Roubaud

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Book Description

March 1 1995 French Literature Series

This collection of prose and poetry elaborates on themes explored in Roubaud's  Some Thing Black, which the  Times Literary Supplement called "a harrowing book... an elegy for our time." As in the earlier collection, Roubaud grapples with the grief he continues to feel at the untimely death of his young wife.

In parts 1 and 2, he uses the possible existence of many worlds as a means by which to transcend the trauma of this unbearable loss. (David Lewis's book On the Plurality of Worlds provided the inspiration and title for Roubaud's book.) These poems also rage against the limitations of poetry itself, which can only clarify the exactness of his grief, not assuage it. In part 3, Roubaud uses a mathematically precise form to explore the idea of form.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; 1 edition (March 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564780694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564780690
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14 x 0.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,245,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Writing as a poet-philosopher, Roubaud, who teaches mathematics at University of Paris, casts a delicate net of language to apprehend ideas that most compel him. Here, as in Some Thing Black, he struggles with the premature death of his wife. Attempting to relate in some metaphysical equation the dead with the living, Roubaud posits that there are many, simultaneous worlds (the rather awkward title is based on philosopher David Lewis's book, On the Plurality of Worlds). He tries to place his wife's nothingness within his realm of experience, exploring his own intimate, contradictory states of consciousness-pain, memory, daily routine-and the branching realities they suggest. The poems of the first two selections are filled with play of light and shadows, and define loss as if metered by questions, suppositions and impossibilities. The third section is a long prose poem in which he considers the idea of form as it exists in his own body, in the "grey-in-itself" void of all objects, and in the signficance of an empty notebook. Precisely measured and deeply moving, Roubaud's meditations are rendered in Waldrop's translation with force and nuance.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Precisely measured and deeply moving..." -- PW

"Ghostly presences inhabit these spaces that these lyric poems and fluid fictions construct. Rosmarie Waldrop's translation brings to the surface the obsessive, repetitive thought patterns that characterize grief.... Roubaud... asks language to propose equivalencies and transformations." -- Susan Smith Nash, Texture #6

"Writing as a poet-philosopher, Roubaud... casts a delicate net of language to apprehend ideas that most compel him..." --  Publishers Weekly

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shadows of Logic March 22 2006
By Erik Duncan - Published on Amazon.com
Beautifully discursive and masterfully styled, The Plurality Of Worlds Of Lewis takes David Lewis' turgid, and yet very dry, philosphical treatise on possibility and maps it onto a space convoluted by Roubaud's own pungent sorrow. It is as if the widower has looked at a map, recognized the impossibility of finding his beloved in this mountainous region, and yet, he goes to look, because in the shadows the boundary between searching and finding can be perhaps blurred.

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