Then again, it was horror and fear on the part of the publishers which kept this work, first written as the opening section of Leduc's novel Ravages (1955), unpublished in its original form until 2000 – and in French, at that. Leduc, a friend of Simone de Beauvoir (who also had a crush on her), had spent three years writing Thérèse and Isabelle – and it shows, in a good way. So when Gallimard said, in effect, "no way" in 1954 ("impossible to publish openly," said Raymond Queneau, of all people), Leduc nearly had a breakdown. The publishers had, in De Beauvoir's words, "cut her tongue out," and although the work was reshaped and inserted, piecemeal, into subsequent books (and circulated in a private edition among friends), it hasn't appeared in English before this edition (more...)

Nicholas Lezard on Thérèse and Isabelle by Violette Leduc.

Taking its cue from the vivid contribution of the short text to European cultural life and judging that the moment is right to reinvigorate the essay, Notting Hill Editions is a new imprint devoted to the best in essayistic nonfiction writing. Our writers come from a broad range of disciplines ensuring our essays will never fail to excite and inspire as they cover an ever-changing spectrum of topics.

Notting Hill Editions will publish at least six books twice a year. These beautifully produced and exquisitely-sized cloth-bound hardbacks are intended to revitalise and celebrate the long essay format. Covering a range of weighty subjects by some of the best and prominent thinkers, commentators and authors of our time, as well as works by key writers previously unpublished in the UK, the Notting Hill Editions brand represents quality, intelligent and upmarket publishing and will launch with a full marketng and media campaign.

These are really nice looking books, and with Georges Perec's Thoughts of Sorts, Roland Barthes' Mourning Diary and John Berger's Cataract in the first tranche of titles, Notting Hill Editions looks like a new imprint worth keeping an eye on...

I mentioned Georges Perec's Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise last Thursday. In the UK it is published by Vintage, but in the US it comes out via Verso (with the slightly shorter, but less winningly pedantic title The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise; same David Bellos translation of the text).

Alongside the Verso title comes a website, the cleverly entitled Go play.

Georges Perec fans will doubtless have noted that a nice wee hardback of Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise has just landed in the shops.

The publishers, Vintage, gloss it thus:

So having weighed the pros and cons you've decided to approach your boss to ask for that well-earned raise in salary but before you schedule the all-important meeting you decide to dip into this handy volume in the hope of finding some valuable tips but instead find a hilarious, mind-bending farcical account of all the many different things that may or may not happen on the journey to see your boss which uses no punctuation or capitalisation and certainly no full stops

It follows the publication last May of An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (Wakefield Press), and recent reissues, also by Vintage, of W or The Memory of Childhood and Things (which is one of my favourite Perec's, actually).