Jean Carrière in the spotlight at the departmental archives

The Gard Departmental Council celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Goncourt Prize Maheux’s Sparrowhawk as part of the “Jean Carrière (1928-2005)” exhibition. Wednesday, December 14, an evening dedicated to Jean Carrière was organized. The Gard Departmental Archives keep the novelist’s private archive collection. On the sidelines of this exhibition, many events have been scheduled in the Gard until the summer of 2023.

If Maheux’s Sparrowhawk is unknown to the younger generations of the Gard, it will remain for those who knew and appreciated it in its time, a work of remarkable literary quality, which ranks among the best-selling Goncourts, 2 million. “L’Épervier de Maheux” will have 14 editions between 1972 and 2015 and will be translated into 14 languages.

Autumn 1972: an unknown novelist published by a small publisher, obtains the Prix Goncourt. “L’Epervier de Maheux” recounts the end of the rural civilization of the Cévennes and has met with exceptional success with an audience eager to discover or rediscover landscapes, nature and peasant memory.

It is above all, a metaphysical novel with questions about the existence of men and their relationship with the spiritual: indifference of the sky, ingratitude of the earth, austerity of daily life, human suffering.

“It is a book that allows knowledge of this heritage to be anchored in the thread of the collective history of our territory by also acting to make it accessible to secondary school students, through cultural and educational actions organized for them” declared Francoise Laurent-Perrigot. The County Council wanted to rediscover the work of the author.

Unpublished letters from John Career, recently purchased as part of the policy of acquisition of private archives conducted by the Departmental Council of Gard, are also presented for the first time. As Patrick Malavieille reminded us, “it is an exhibition that is part of the transversality, both at the level of the actors, several directions of the departmental community, the agglomerations, the cities, the media libraries, the residences of artists, the collaborations with Raphaël Lemonnier or Alice Planes. More than 20 works, musical and literary chronicles, Jean Carrière, disciple of Giono, forged his tool and laid the foundations of his work for two long decades. »

And today, what remains of Jean Carrière?

“Novelists’ entry into purgatory is a well-known phenomenon. Some never come out. Others access a form of eternity. Such is the case with Jean Carrière, not for a novel, even if it won the Prix Goncourt, but for all of his work.

Jean Carrière aimed for the absolute, the universal and the timeless, but his roots are there, those of the Gard landscapes, from the mazet of his childhood in Nîmes to the settings of his novels, from Uzès to the Cévennes, passing through the dry scrubland of Piedmont Cévenol and the forests of Camprieu. recalls Patrick Malavieille.

We will learn from this story that consecration and glory can cause misunderstanding. But we will especially remember how, hastily disguised as a picturesque chronicle, a great universal novel is elevated to the rank of a masterpiece of literature.

A round table will take place on Saturday January 28, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the Departmental Archives in Nîmes.

To read on the same topic:

Raphaël Lemonnier & Jean Carrière: when the keyboard meets the pen, it jazzes up!

Exhibition of photographs for the 50th anniversary of Goncourt obtained by Jean Carrière

Jean Carrière in the spotlight at the departmental archives