Three Rings: A Conversation with Daniel Mendelsohn and Edouard Louis

Join best-selling memoirist and critic Daniel Mendelsohn and French novelist Edouard Louis as they discuss Mendelsohn’s latest book Three Rings, just published by University of Virginia Press, over Zoom.

Combining memoir, biography, fiction, history, and literary criticism, Three Rings weaves together the stories of three exiled writers who turned to the classics of the past to create masterpieces of their own—works that pondered the very nature of narrative. Erich Auerbach, the Jewish philologist who fled Hitler’s Germany and wrote his classic study of Western literature, Mimesis, in Istanbul… François Fénelon, the 17th century French archbishop whose ingenious sequel to Homer’s Odyssey, The Adventures of Telemachus—a veiled critique of the Sun King and the bestselling book in Europe for a hundred years—resulted in his banishment… and the German novelist W. G. Sebald, self-exiled to England, whose distinctively meandering narratives explore Odyssean themes of displacement, nostalgia, and separation from home. Already hailed as an “astounding Borgesian document of clarity and brilliance” (Sebastian Barry), Mendelsohn pushes against the boundaries of genre as he explores the mysterious links between the randomness of the lives we lead and the artfulness of the stories we tell.

As Edouard Louis also specializes precisely in this dissolution of the boundaries between self, reality, and history, this conversation is bound to take as many remarkable twists and turns as Mendelsohn’s book! For as Louis himself recently wrote concerning the recent explosion of remarkable and unclassifiable non-fiction work: “I am convinced that we are witnessing a revolution comparable to that of the 19th century novel, and that this dynamic around the autobiographical form has established a true avant-gardisme that is only at the beginning of its story.”

In English. Kindly RSVP to the following link to attend:
This talk is free and open to our online community. Nevertheless, in order to support Albertine during these challenging times, we would greatly appreciate it if you purchased either a French or an English copy of Three Rings at our store.

Daniel Mendelsohn is an internationally bestselling author, critic, essayist, and translator. Since 1991 he has been a prolific contributor of essays, reviews, and articles to many publications, most frequently The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. In February 2019, he was named Editor-at-Large of the New York Review of Books and the Director of the Robert B. Silvers Foundation.

Mendelsohn’s books include An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (2017), named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Newsday, Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Kirkus; The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (2006), which won the National Books Critics Circle Award and the National Jewish Book Award in the United States and the Prix Médicis in France; a memoir, The Elusive Embrace (1999), a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; three collections of essays; a scholarly study of Greek tragedy, Gender and the City in Euripides’ Political Plays (2002), and a two-volume translation of the poetry of C. P. Cavafy (2009), which included the first English translation of the poet’s “Unfinished Poems.” His tenth book, Three Rings: A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate, will be published in September 2020.

Édouard Louis was born in Hallencourt, France, in 1992 and is the author of three novels —The End of Eddy (FSG), A History of Violence (FSG), Who Killed My Father (New Directions). He is also the co-editor of a scholarly work on the social scientist Pierre Bourdieu.