The Marks of Time A memoir
André Miquel, a former administrator at the Collège de France and holder of the school’s Classical Arabic Language and Literature Chair, was also Managing Director at the National Library. His most notable works include Tristan et Iseut (1996); Deux Histoires d’amour. De Majnûn à Tristan (“Two Love Stories: From Majnûn to Tristan” 1996); L’Événement. Le Coran sourate LVI (“The Event: The Koran, Sura LVI”, 1992) and, with Jamel Eddine Bencheikh, De l’Arabie à l’Islam (“From Arabia to Islam”, 1992).
André Miquel is a renowned translator of some of the most beautiful texts in the Arabic literary heritage, including The Thousand and One Nights, and a specialist in the classical Arabic world and its literature. In these memoirs, he looks back over what makes life both beautiful and tragic: a child’s death, a father’s captivity, war, professional disappointments, disillusionment with the world of culture, and even captivity in a Cairo prison.
In a style imbued with poetry, he transports readers to other worlds: Palmyra, the Syrian desert, Cordoba, Saint-Jean-de-Fos, a child of the war’s lost paradise, the Collège de France, and more. He paints the portraits of the people he met whose impact on his own life was decisive: from Pierre Bourdieu to Mitterrand, via de Gaulle, Braudel and Pope Paul VI.
These pages telling of André Miquel's “hours, of grace, of routine, of disenchantment,” are reminiscent of the poetry of Camus in Nuptials, in an ode to the simple splendour of everyday life.