The Major Refutation, discussed in Paris

This Thursday, November 2, 7:00 pm, Pierre Senges will be at Shakespeare and Company (the famous Paris English-language bookshop) discussing and reading from The Major Refutation, English version of Refutatio major, attributed to Antonio de Guevara, 1480-1545. 

Full details here. I believe the book’s publisher, Rainer Hanshe of Contra Mundum Press, will be attending & in conversation with Senges. Should be interesting. I, the book’s translator, would most certainly be going if not for the wee duck pond separating the New World from the Old.

A description of the book here, taken from the Shakespeare and Company website:

Written in the form of a long letter addressed to Antonio de Guevara on behalf of Charles V, under cover of anonymity, The Major Refutation refutes the existence of a new continent with arguments ranging from the most serious to the most extravagant. In a postface, the narrator raises doubts about the author of The Major Refutation. Is the letter from Amerigo Vespucci, Jeanne la Folle, or others? The text closes with a coda where various theses are evoked: for example, doubts about the sex of Homer, or about the true identity of the author of the plays signed Moliere. Infused with wit and irony, The Major Refutation reminds us of the passion of men for ignorance and the eternal opposition between dupes and non-dupes, or those who believe themselves such.

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  • I am completely devasted to find out about this only now: I live in Paris and am a fan of Senges’ work! I must congratulate you on your efforts to bring Pierre Senges to a wider English-speaking audience.
    I was wondering: it’s not easy to get hold of the various articles he writes in journals. How do manage this? And how do you find out about all his publications?
    One last question: I’m a big fan of his works for radio, but I only managed to listen to the ones that were open for streaming on France Culture, and a few others by dodgy downloads, but there are loads that I simply can’t find a trace of. Do you have any idea where they can be found?


    • Hi Alexei,
      For a few of the articles Senges had published in journals some years back, I purchased a few back issues, les écrits, for example, and the NRF. But since then I am regularly in touch with him & he is kind enough to send them to me if I ask. That’s how I find out about many of his more recent publications. I also created a simple Google alert for his name so that if something is published it’s brought to my attention that way.
      As for the radio works, it’s true that most of them are unavailable on the Internet, as Radio France & France Inter only make the productions available for a year, or probably max. 2 years, before they take it offline. That is pretty frustrating &, from a completist’s perspective, quite maddening even. I’ve only really heard a handful of them, but there’s always that inexorable hilarious logic behind it. The most recent is “La Maison de Winchester,” which was posted only 2 weeks ago I think. You should probably also be able to hear “Les évasions de Boris Anacrouse” if you search for it and probably also the musical play “Rhapsodie monstre.” I’m not sure what else is available at this time. I really liked “Un roman détective privé de sa dernière page,” if I’m remembering the title right.
      I’m sorry you missed the event at Shakespeare & Co.! Thanks for getting in touch.
      Best wishes,
      Jacob S.

  • I have a Google Alert too but nothing ever shows up so I must programmed it wrong or something.
    I have heard all the radio plays you mention! I highly recommend “Rumeurs autour d’une encyclopédie du silence” if you haven’t listened, 1st episode available here:
    There are quite a few available on France Culture, but since he has written dozens that still leaves a lot. (I suppose even he doesn’t have access to an mp3 file he might be able to send?)


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