The essayist franco-swiss Frédéric Pajak, 63 years old, received this June 4, the Goncourt prize for biography for the book 7 of his Manifesto uncertain devoted to the poets Emily Dickinson and Marina Tsvetaieva. “The Goncourt prize of biography, Edmonde Charles-Roux 2019 is attributed to Frédéric Pajak for Manifest uncertain 7 (Editions in Black and White). The votes were cast in Honor the fury of Rodolphe Barry (Finitude) and Proust, Goncourt prize , Thierry Laget (Gallimard),” said the academy Goncourt in a press release.

The American introverted Emily Dickinson (1830-1866) and the Russian non-conformist Marina Tsvetaieva (1892-1941) apparently don’t have much in common. The first remained a recluse in her home, in Amherst (north-east of the United States), while the second, born in Moscow, studied at Nervi (Italy), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Paris. Emily Dickinson wrote some 1800 poems but only a dozen were published in his lifetime.

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a Contemporary of the October Revolution, Marina Tsvetaieva is present several times in the Crimea, before going into exile in Berlin in 1922, and then in Czechoslovakia and in the suburbs of paris. In 1939, she returned to the soviet Union, where she committed suicide two years later.

Nine volumes are planned

“through the lives, heroic deeds” of these two women, the book evokes two adventures of the literary that have survived indifference, hostility, or even censorship. In his text, replete with drawings, Pajak express all the admiration that it carries to this “poetry female”. Dickinson and Tsvetaieva, he writes, have been able to do “emotions buried” a “sensitive” war machine”.

Since 2012, Pajak publishes each year a volume of his Manifesto uncertain , which combines biography, autobiography, essay, poetry and drawing. In its previous Manifestos, Pajak has explored in particular the lives of Vincent Van Gogh, Arthur de Gobineau, Walter Benjamin, Ezra Pound, or André Breton. In total, nine volumes are planned.

The prize will be officially awarded at the next edition of the Book on the Square at Nancy, which will take place from 13 to 15 September. Last year, the Goncourt prize for biography was awarded to Denis Demonpion for Salinger intimate: investigation on the author of the Catches-hearts (Robert Laffont).