Georges Perec's Translated Places

Georges Perecs oversatte steder / Les lieux traduits de Georges Perec

Trilingual Conference at the University of Copenhagen. At this conference, writers and researchers propose five readings which will be presented in either English, Danish or French.

Isn't this Georges Perec, looking down from one of his twelve Parisian places?
Photo © Henrik Reeh, 2022

Everybody is welcome when colleagues from the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen, and the Department of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, invite you to this conference on Georges Perec at the South Campus of the University of Copenhagen.

Before or after the conference, the French texts of Perec’s Lieux may be accessed online – free of charge. Access the texts.


Please register by email to the organizers Steen Bille Jørgensen & Henrik Reeh.


Time Activity

I. Presentation


Urban spaces, rewriting, and translation

Steen Bille Jørgensen (Aarhus University) / Henrik Reeh (University of Copenhagen)

II. Urban Settings, Writing, and Architecture


Reading Lieux, Writing Jussieu

Henrik Reeh (University of Copenhagen)


Les Choses de la vie / La Vie des choses: Georges Perec's Materialities

Arshia Eghbali (University of Copenhagen / University of Bologna)


Coffee break

III. Réécritures et traductions / Genskrivninger og oversættelser


Échafaudages et escamotages

Frants Iver Gundelach (traducteur, Copenhague)


Les lieux d’une fugue, entre textes et média

Steen Bille Jørgensen (Université d’Aarhus)


At genbesøge et sted, der ikke længere er

C. Y. Frostholm (digter, København)



About George Perec's Translated Places

French writer Georges Perec (1936-1982) took places quite seriously, and returned to those that meant most to him. A spatial focus is also present in his grand œuvre La Vie mode d'emploi (Life a user's manual) as well as in his writings on the so-called infraordinary aspects of reality. For a major urban-autobiographical project, Lieux (Places, published in French 2022), Perec singles out twelve Parisian places that he plans to revisit, again and again, for twelve years, be it in their immediate psycho-physical reality or along the meandering ways of memory. Month after month, Perec translates these places into literary and urban-cultural notes that may indeed be personal, but not excessively so; thanks to interpretive experiments, they start making sense to others.

Perec deploys the notion of ’place’ (lieu), when he recalls lieux où j’ai dormi (‘places where I have slept’), or when he adapts his own literary idiom to the idea of ’lieux rhétoriques’ (‘rhetorical places or topoi’). Similarly, Perec rewrites texts by others (or himself) and translates English texts into French; just as he is engaged in cinema, theater, and radio. Such differences and similarities of language, time, genre, and historical context, must be addressed in order to keep Perec’s ‘places’ alive.