Fils bâtard d'une aristocrate anglaise et d'un négociant italien, G., le protagoniste de ce roman, est tôt séparé de ses parents. C'est en orphelin qu'il se construit. Plusieurs expériences vont développer en lui une passion pour le corps singulier des femmes, et celui, collectif, des masses en lutte dans l'histoire. Rien en lui d'un séducteur, pourtant ; G. est plutôt laid, et s'il fascine, c'est par la force dérangeante de son regard.
Épique, G. est traversé par le grondement des révoltes, le souffle des guerres, mais aussi le sillage des premiers héros de l'aviation.
Intimiste, il reconstruit le monde perdu de l'enfance, explore celui du désir et du sentiment amoureux.
Matérialiste, il doit beaucoup à Marx, mais surtout à Diderot – le Diderot du Neveu de Rameau – et aux écrivains érotiques du XVIIIe, dont il retourne le propos : avec G., Don Juan ne vient plus asservir les femmes à son désir, mais les libérer.
" Cela fait à peu près quatre-vingts ans que j'écris. Au début, j'ai écrit des lettres, puis des poèmes et des discours. Plus tard, des récits, des Articles, des livres. A présent, j'écris des notes. L'écriture a toujours été pour moi une activité vitale ; elle m'aide à donner un sens aux choses, et à poursuivre ma route. Pourtant, elle dérive d'une réalité plus profonde et plus générale – notre relation avec le langage en tant que tel. Le sujet de ces quelques notes est le langage. "
Dans Palabres, John Berger réfléchit sur le langage et ses liens avec la pensée, l'art, la chanson, la narration et le discours politique de nos jours. Composé de dessins, de notes, de souvenirs et de digressions, c'est un ouvrage qui nous parle aussi bien d'Albert Camus que la mondialisation, du statut d'orphelin, de Charlie Chaplin, de Rosa Luxemburg et du flamenco.
C'est le livre-testament d'un esprit qui voulait penser ce qu'il y a de " plus vrai, de plus urgent et de plus essentiel ".
Traduit de l'anglais par Katya Berger Andreadakis
Xavier est incarcéré dans la cellule n° 73 de la prison de Suse, où il purge une peine de détention à vie pour terrorisme. Aida est l'amante de Xavier. Elle est libre. Elle lui écrit. De A à X est l'ensemble de ces lettres, "miraculeusement " retrouvées par John Berger. Un roman par lettres, donc. Quel genre de roman ? L'amour y est présent à chaque phrase, mais on ne peut dire qu'il en soit le sujet. On pense à un manuel de résistance ou à un traité de guérilla urbaine. Ou à un recueil d'exercices spirituels.
Avec ce livre, John Berger donne la réplique à son époque. Il le fait à sa manière : précise et elliptique. Précise, parce qu'écrire est un travail qui s'apparente à la soudure, à la réparation d'objets cassés ou au fait de recoudre une plaie par balle. Elliptique, parce que comprenne qui voudra.
Dès lors, peu importe que cette histoire se déroule à Mexico, à Ramallah, à Kaboul ou ailleurs. Partout où des hommes, des femmes – et même des enfants – résistent à l'oppression, la voix fraternelle de John Berger les accompagne, comme une chanson de marche pour traverser la nuit.
À la mort de Baruch " Bento " Spinoza, en 1677, sont exhumés des manuscrits, des lettres, des notes. Aucun dessin. Pourtant, des témoignages attestent que Spinoza ne sortait jamais sans son carnet de croquis. " Pendant des années, j'ai imaginé qu'un tel carnet soit découvert. Sans trop savoir ce que je pouvais espérer y trouver. Des dessins sur quoi ? Esquisser de quelle manière ? " dit John Berger au début du Bento's Sketchbook (TP). Reconstituant une version rêvée de cet objet perdu, l'auteur de G entame un dialogue avec l'œuvre de Spinoza. Dialogue philosophique bien sûr – les croquis de Berger répondant à L'Éthique –, mais aussi dialogue esthétique et politique. Dessiner, écrire, c'est poser son regard sur le monde, obéir à une impulsion primitive que le geste métamorphose en art. C'est aussi choisir parmi les propositions infinies de la réalité : retrancher, ajouter ; pour transformer. Ce Carnet de Bento, livre d'art et manifeste poétique, illustre l'humanisme de Berger, l'engagement total que constitue une œuvre en forme de combat.
John Berger, figure intellectuelle de l'altermondialisme, défend dans ce court essai que le monde capitaliste dans lequel nous évoluons est une prison.
Traduit ici pour la première fois en français, le troisième roman de John Berger est le récit d'une journée cruciale dont le cours va changer la vie des protagonistes : celle de William Tracey Corker, 63 ans, directeur d'une agence de placement du sud de Londres, mais aussi celle de sa soeur Irène, d'Alec son jeune employé et de Jackie, la petite amie de ce dernier. Intrigue, rebondissements, satire... ce drame en quatre actes comporte tous les ingrédients du roman classique. Dans ce texte toutefois résolument moderne, l'auteur choisit d'évoquer le mystère de ses personnages en relatant leurs faits et gestes, mais surtout en faisant résonner tout haut leur pensée. Il en ressort un récit à plusieurs voix, humbles ou fortes, haletantes, inquiètes. Toutes donnent à imaginer l'insaisissable existence des êtres, dont le fragile dialogue n'offre qu'un aperçu. Que l'on décide de voir en Corker un « vieux malin » ou un « putain d'idéaliste », ce livre est à lire comme un conte philosophique ironique et incisif sur la liberté.
As a novelist, art critic, and cultural historian, Booker Prize-winning author John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to his authority and potency posed by clay and flesh? And how does solitude inform the art of Giacometti? In asking these and other questions, Berger quietly -- but fundamentally -- alters the vision of anyone who reads his work.
In this quietly revolutionary work of social observation and medical philosophy, Booker Prize-winning writer John Berger and the photographer Jean Mohr train their gaze on an English country doctor and find a universal man--one who has taken it upon himself to recognize his patient's humanity when illness and the fear of death have made them unrecognizable to themselves. In the impoverished rural community in which he works, John Sassall tend the maimed, the dying, and the lonely. He is not only the dispenser of cures but the repository of memories. And as Berger and Mohr follow Sassall about his rounds, they produce a book whose careful detail broadens into a meditation on the value we assign a human life. First published thirty years ago, A Fortunate Man remains moving and deeply relevant--no other book has offered such a close and passionate investigation of the roles doctors play in their society.
"In contemporary letters John Berger seems to me peerless; not since Lawrence has there been a writer who offers such attentiveness to the sensual world with responsiveness to the imperatives of conscience." --Susan Sontag
Booker Prize-winning author John Berger gives a novel both tragic and joyous, intelligent and erotic. In To the Wedding, a blind Greek peddler tells the story of the wedding between a fellow peddler and his bride in a remarkable series of vivid and telling vignettes. As the book cinematically moves from one character's perspective to another, events and characters move toward the convergence of the wedding--and a haunting dance of love and death.
With this provocative and infinitely moving collection of essays, a preeminent critic of our time responds to the profound questions posed by the visual world. For when John Berger writes about Cubism, he writes not only of Braque, Léger, Picasso, and Gris, but of that incredible moment early in this century when the world converged around a marvelouis sense of promise. When he looks at the Modigiliani, he sees a man's infinite love revealed in the elongated lines of the painted figure.
Ranging from the Renaissance to the conflagration of Hiroshima; from the Bosphorus to Manhattan; from the woodcarvers of a French village to Goya, Dürer, and Van Gogh; and from private experiences of love and of loss to the major political upheavals of our time, The Sense of Sight encourages us to see with the same breadth, courage, and moral engagement that its author does.
With this haunting first volume of his Into Their Labours trilogy, John Berger begins his chronicle of the eclipse of peasant cultures in the twentieth century. Set in a small village in the French Alps, Pig Earth relates the stories of skeptical, hard-working men and fiercely independent women; of calves born and pigs slaughtered; of summer haymaking and long dark winters f rest; of a message of forgiveness from a dead father to his prodigal son; and of the marvelous Lucie Cabrol, exiled to a hut high in the mountains, but an inexorable part of the lives of men who have known her. Above all, this masterpiece of sensuous description and profound moral resonance is an act of reckoning that conveys the precise wealth and weight of a world we are losing.
In this luminous novel -- winner of Britain's prestigious Booker Prize -- John Berger relates the story of "G.," a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of this century. With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of the Don Juan's success: his essential loneliness, the quiet cumulation in each of his sexual experiences of all of those that precede it, the tenderness that infuses even the briefest of his encounters, and the way women experience their own extraordinariness through their moments with him. All of this Berger sets against the turbulent backdrop of Garibaldi and the failed revolution of Milanese workers in 1898, the Boer War, and the first flight across the Alps, making G. a brilliant novel about the search for intimacy in history's private moments.
How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. "Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.""But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled." John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the (London) Sunday Times critic commented: "This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures." By now he has.
A luminous collection of interwoven stories, Once in Europa is a portrait of two worlds−a small Alpine village bound to the earth and by tradition, and the restless, future-driven culture that will invade it−at their moment of collision. The instrument of entrapment is love: the passion of a willful shepherd for a shrewd bourgeois housewife; of a vital young woman for a dashing Russian who has come to work in the local factory; of a steadfast son for his aged mother. Lives are lost and hearts are broken, and, always, love is a transcending form of grace. In Once in Europa, it speaks as plainly and as movingly as a remembered language, creating a work of astonishing tenderness.
From John Berger, the Booker Prize-winning author of G., A Painter of Our Time is at once a gripping intellectual and moral detective story and a book whose aesthetic insights make it a companion piece to Berger's great works of art criticism. The year is 1956. Soviet tanks are rolling into Budapest. In London, an expatriate Hungarian painter named Janos Lavin has disappeared following a triumphant one-man show at a fashionable gallery. Where has he gone? Why has he gone? The only clues may lie in the diary, written in Hungarian, that Lavin has left behind in his studio. With uncanny understanding, John Berger has written oneo f hte most convincing portraits of a painter in modern literature, a revelation of art and exile.
When he stands before Giorgione's La Tempesta, Booker Prize-winning author John Berger sees not only the painting but our whole notion of time, sweeping us away from a lost Eden. A photograph of a gravely joyful crowd gathered on a Prague street in November 1989 provokes reflection on the meaning of democracy and the reunion of a people with long-banished hopes and dreams.
With the luminous essays in Keeping a Rendezvous, we are given to see the world as Berger sees it -- to explore themes suggested by the work of Jackson Pollock or J. M. W. Turner, to contemplate the wonder of Paris. Rendezvous are manifold: between critic and art, artist and subject, subject and the unknown. But most significant are the rendezvous between author and reader, as we discover our perceptions informed by Berger's eloquence and courageous moral imagination.
In this prescient and beautifully written book, Booker Prize-winning author John Berger examines the life and work of Ernst Neizvestny, a Russian sculptor whose exclusion from the ranks of officially approved Soviet artists left him laboring in enforced obscurity to realize his monumental and very public vision of art. But Berger's impassioned account goes well beyond the specific dilemma of the pre-glasnot Russian artist to illuminate the very meaning of revolutionary art. In his struggle against official orthodoxy--which involved a face-to-face confrontation with Khruschev himself--Neizvestny was fighting not for a merely personal or aesthetic vision, but for a recognition of the true social role of art. His sculptures earn a place in the world by reflecting the courage of a whole people, by commemorating, in an age of mass suffering, the resistance and endurance of millions.
"Berger is probably our most perceptive commentator on art.... A civilized and stimulating companion no matter what subject happens to cross his mind."--Philadelphia Inquirer
First published thirty years ago, John Berger's tender and bittersweet novel is a book of dreams: dreams of freedom and romance, dreams that intoxicate and redeem, dreams that have the power to exalt their dreamers or dash them against hard truth.
It is the unforgettable, often comical portrait of a dreamer, one William Corker, the genteel proprietor of a London employment agency, who, in his sixty-third year, has just moved out of the house he shared with his overbearing sister. As Corker takes his first steps into a life of passions, Berger creates a character of astonishing depth and liveliness--a man whose fantasies and ambitions are at once splendid and tragic.
Booker Prize-winning author John Berger presents a collection of moments, each supremely vivid, that together make up a frieze of human history at the end of the millennium as well as a subtle and affecting self-portrait of their author. Using careful, intensely visual prose snapping frozen vignettes of life, these twenty-nine "photocopies" teach us about lying and self-invention, dignity and tenderness, charity and courage. Overflowing with the sights, sounds, and smells of life, Photocopies is a masterpiece from one of the most important chroniclers of our time.
Bento's Sketchbook is an exploration of the practice of drawing, as well as a meditation on how we perceive and seek to explore our ever-changing relationship with the world around us.
From the Hardcover edition.
Booker Prize-winning author John Berger, one of the most widely admired writers of our time, returns us to the captivating play and narrative allure of his previous novels–G. and Pig Earth among them–with a shimmering fiction drawn from chapters of his own life. One hot afternoon in Lisbon, the narrator finds his long-dead mother seated on a park bench. “The dead don’t stay where they are buried,” she tells him. And so begins a remarkable odyssey, told in simple yet gorgeous prose, that carries us from the London Blitz in 1943, to a Polish market, to a Paleolithic cave, to the Ritz Hotel in Madrid. Here Is Where We Meet is a unique literary journey that moves freely through time and space but never loses its foothold in the sensuous present.
From a Booker Prize-winning author and one of the most impassioned of writers of our time, this powerful collection of essays offers a stark portrait of post-9/11 realities. John Berger occupies a unique position in the international cultural landscape: artist, filmmaker, poet, philosopher, novelist, and essayist, he is also a deeply thoughtful political activist. In Hold Everything Dear, his artistry and activism meld in an attempt to make sense of the current state of our world. Berger analyzes the nature of terrorism and the profound despair that gives rise to it. He writes about the homelessness of millions who have been forced by poverty and war to live as refugees. He discusses Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Serbia, Bosnia, China, Indonesia-anyplace where people are deprived of the most basic of freedoms. Berger powerfully acknowledges the depth of suffering around the world and suggests actions that might finally help bring it to an end.
As Dickens and Balzac did for their time, so John Berger does for ours, rendering the movement of a people and the passing of a way of life in his masterwork, the Into Their Labours trilogy. With Lilac and Flag, the Alpine village of the two earlier volumes has been forsaken for the mythic city of Troy. Here, amidst the shantytowns, factories, and opulent hotels, fading heritages and steadfast dreams, the children and grandchildren of rural peasants pursue meager livings as best they can. And here, two young lovers embark upon a passionate, desperate journey of love and survival and find transcending hope both for themselves and for us as their witnesses.
In this book you will be led to a place you haven't been, from where few stories come. You will be led by King, a dog--or is he a dog?--to a wasteland beside the highway called Saint Valéry. Here, at the end of the twentieth century, among smashed trucks, old boilers, and broken washing machines, live Liberto, Malak, Jack, Corinna, Danny, Anna, Joachim, Saul, Alfonso, and Vico and Vica.
Listen to King's voice as he tells a different kind of story: twenty-four hours pass and lives are lived. It is good to have survived another winter, for now it is spring, when the nights, though cold, are no longer harsh enough to kill. The wet season is over, and with it the hopelessness of damp. Today the sun will shine: of what else will the day be made?
King is at once a furious homage to the homeless and a lyrical meditation on language and experience. The bitter yet celebratory prose speaks to us all.
From the Hardcover edition.