A Terrace in Rome

A Terrace in Rome

Pascal Quignard

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Translated by Douglas Penick and Charles Ré, with an introduction by Douglas Penick / April 2016 / 4.5 x 7, 128 pp. / 978-1-939663-16-0

A Terrace in Rome describes the tormented life of Geoffroy Meaume, a seventeenth-century engraver of encrypted shadows and erotic prints. After a passionate affair in his youth concludes with his face being burned by acid thrown by his lover’s jealous fiancé, Meaume undertakes a lifetime of wandering, his psyche forever engraved by the memory of the woman who spurned him. With a face of boiled leather and a mind haunted by a nightmare of desire, he devotes himself to the black and white world of etchings and mezzotints, forsaking the paradise of color to engage in a science of shadows. This fragmented narrative of a man attacked by images is related in forty-seven short chapters which themselves act as engravings: a tale told by an antiquarian, full of fragmented vision and sexual hell. First published in French in 2000, A Terrace in Rome received the Grand Prix du Roman de l'Académie Française that same year, and went on to be translated into nineteen languages. This is its first appearance in English.

Pascal Quignard (b. 1948) is the French author of over sixty books of fiction, essays, and his own particular genre of philosophical reflection: an amalgamation of personal journal, historical narrative, and poetic theory. His books in English include Albucius, All the World’s Mornings, The Sexual Night, Sex and Terror, On Wooden Tablets: Apronenia Avitia, and The Salon in Wurttemberg, as well as the multiple volumes of his ongoing book project The Last Kingdom, which to date includes The Roving Shadows, The Silent Crossing, and Abysses.


“[T]he many-faceted approach, of all these different bits of description and information, makes for a rich, sweeping picture—larger than its not much more than a hundred pages might have initially suggested.”
—M. A. Orthofer, The Complete Review

“The story of Meaume is one of a man that ceases to be in the present flesh, instead becoming a specter of a life he only recalls in memories and observes from the shadows: transferring it to his copper plates, scarring them with the beauty that once belonged to his unmarked face—both are haunted. As Quignard quotes Saint Augustine in The Sexual Night, ‘What is a man? Eyes and ghosts.’”
—Tomoé Hill, The Quarterly Conversation

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