CONTE Giuseppe


According to Jean-Baptiste Para, Giuseppe Conte’s French translator, his poetry – and that would be one of its visible meridians – integrates mythical figures as though the numinous experience of the Greeks, the Celts, or the Aztecs were fires that the centuries had failed to completely extinguish. As though the pagan gods, in their final place of exile, forced the poet to look into the burning fires of the void.

Giuseppe Conte was born in Liguria on 1945 and lives on the Italian Riviera. He is a poet, storyteller, novelist and essayist and has been awarded numerous prizes such as the Hemingway in 2002. His poetry – as translated into French by Jean-Baptiste Para – has been widely acclaimed. Italo Calvino is one of his admirers. Several of his books have been translated into French. His novel, Il Terzo ufficiale (2002) translated into French as Le Troisième Officier (Éditions Laurence Teper, 2007) has been well received by the critics. The sea is a recurring theme in his oeuvre. It is an old Irish legend about a child who dives to the bottom of the sea to catch the music of the deep that inspired his Océan et l’enfant (for the French translation), a work of poetry. He admits to a fascination with sea ports in his Le Manuscrit de Saint-Nazaire (Arcane 17, 1989), “ (Loosely translated) probably because it is an inextricable knot of symbols – and the soul, I feel, is nothing but our aptitude to collect symbols – also probably because it is a place that is sacred for work, voyages and adventures, all values that I have always loved like the links that bind them.” With this book, the writer, who also translates William Blake, P.B. Shelley and Walt Whitman, follows in the tradition of the great Anglo Saxon sea adventures.

En Français

Bibliography (In French)

  • L’homme qui voulait tuer Shelley (Phébus, 2008)
  • Le Troisième Officier (Éditions Laurence Teper, 2007)
  • Villa hanbury et autres poemes (Escampette, 2002)
  • L’océan et l’enfant (bilingue italien) (Jacques Bremon, 2002)

Synopsis of L’homme qui voulait tuer Shelley (for the French translation)

This book is a real fake historical novel written as an investigation into the death of the great British poet. It is a picaresque story that brings to life a whole roster of celebrities such as Shelley, of course, but also Lord Byron and Mary Shelley.

On July 8, 1882, the poet Shelley’s body is found on a beach on the Tyrrhenian sea. His schooner was shipwrecked in a storm. But one man doubts that it was a simple accident, and that man is captain Angelo Medusei. He is convinced that attempts were made on the life of the man he admired and considered a friend. He decides to travel to Livorno to investigate, accompanied by his annoying and fickle sister. In the stifling universe of the oppressed, partitioned and seditious country that Italy was at the time, the narrator follows dangerous paths, meets colourful characters – both famous and unknown – and will eventually put his life and that of his family at risk before discovering a truth he had never suspected

Le chemin du poème... et hommage à Aimé Césaire

Saint-Malo 2008

Réécrire les mythes

Saint-Malo 2008