Rene Char

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Paris attacks

La France-des-Cavernes

The only photograph that hangs in my attic office is that of René Char, the poet and World War II Resistance fighter. Trying to find an appropriate expression of solidarity with the French people in the wake of the Paris attacks, it seemed right to look to Feuillets d'Hypnos, the wartime diary Char kept during his years of fighting in the Resistance and then edited and published after the war. The diary consists of short poems, aphorisms, epigrams, and brief accounts of Hypnos' (Char's nom-de-guerre) experiences; I've selected a handful that seemed to say something to this moment.

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