The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Éric Suchère’s “Mystérieuse” (Translated by Sandra Doller)

MysterieusePDF (1)


                          Empty corridor with black windows and paneled ceiling, reflected
                          strokes on gleaming floor: the figures approach the staircase
                          slowly—ominous calm and silence.

                                                                                    Steps and banister shaped like a planet,
                                                                                    reflected strokes on gleaming floor: the
                                                                                    figures stop, drops of sweat splash, and
                                                                                    another figure all dressed in black comes
                                                                                    down, leaning on a wavy wooden cane—
                                                                                    surprise and a reprimand.

                                                     Steps and banister, reflected strokes on gleaming floor:
                                                     the figure outlines a question, drops of sweat splash,
                                                     while the other figure walks past, a paper in his pocket,
                                                     his right arm raised, spiral of movement—a request and
                                                     a prediction.

Corridor: the figure all dressed in black walks out and the other figures watch him, drops of
                                                                  sweat splash—questioning.

Staircase and banister, at the
top a door with a do-not-enter
sign: the figure climbs slowly,
drops of sweat splash, while
the animal figure watches him
climb—waiting for an event, a
careful advance.

This selection comes from Éric Suchère’s chapbook Mysterieuse, available from Anomalous Press. Purchase your copy here!

Éric Suchère is a poet, writer, art critic, and art historian. Based in Paris, he is the author of many books of conceptual prose and poetry and a major player in contemporary French letters. His works have been translated into English by Lisa Robertson and Carrie Noland.

Sandra Doller’s books are Oriflamme (Ah- sahta, 2005), Chora (Ahsahta, 2010), and Man Years (Subito, 2011). Newer proj- ects include a forthcoming prose chap- book from CutBank called Memory of the Prose Machine (2013), part of a longer book-length and performance piece. The founder & editrice of 1913, Doller lives in San Diego with man & dogs.

Emily Capettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her fiction has appeared in places like Noctua Review and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her critical work can be found in Feminisms in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012) and is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century(McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015). She currently lives in Maryland.


A sort of theoretical ekphrasis, Éric Suchère’s Mystérieuse is an image-to- word “translation” of collaged pages from Hergé’s Tintin comic books, ren- dered in painstakingly conceptual de- tail: each frame of each comic—and even each stroke of each drawing inside each frame—are accounted for linguisti- cally, from Tintin’s unforgettable drops of sweat, to Snowy’s emoticon-esque reactions, to the broad stroke back- grounds of the comic squares. Following a trajectory of Hergé admirers from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein to Steven Spielberg, Suchère’s text is an important contribution to the pop-art potential of representational language, contempo- rary conceptual writing, and word-image investigations.

This short selection is a brief extract from the longer 100+ page project; these pages draw their impetus one particular Tintin book, L’Étoile Mys- térieuse.

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