Je Nathanal is an endangered text. Neither essay nor poem nor novel nor sex-show, what it takes from language it gives back to the body. Through Nathanal, Andr GideÕs absent, imagined and much desired apprentice in Les nourritures terrestres (Fruits of the Earth), this text explores ways in which language constrains the body, shackles it to gender, and proposes instead an altogether different way of reading, where words are hermaphroditic and in turn transform desire (consequence). Suggesting that one body conceals another,Je Nathanal lends an ear to this other body and delights in the anxiety it provokes.
Parts of the book were originally written in French, other parts in English. Some parts exist in one language only. As such, it is truly a hybrid text and throws itself into question as it acts upon itself in translation. It is both originator and recipient of its own echo. In this regard it does not, can not exist, pulls insistently away from itself in an attempt to draw attention to the very things it seeks to conceal. In this way, Je Nathanal is a book of paradox, negating itself as it comes into being.
About the author
Nathalie Stephens (Nathanael) writes l'entre-genre in English and French. She is the author of a dozen books including ABSENCE WHERE AS (CLAUDE CAHUN AND THE UNOPENED BOOK) (Nighboat Books, 2009), At Alberta (BookThug, 2008), THE SORROW AND THE FAST OF IT (Nightboat Books, 2007), Touch to Affliction (Coach House, 2006), Paper City (Coach House, 2003), Je Nathanael (l'Hexagone, 2003) and L'Injure (l'Hexagone, 2004), a finalist for the 2005 Prix Alain-Grandbois and Prix Trillium. JE NATHANAEL exists in English self-translation (BookThug, 2006). Other work exists in Basque and Slovene with book-length translations in Bulgarian (Paradox Publishing, 2007). In addition to translating herself, Stephens has translated works by Catherine Mavrikakis, Gail Scott, Bhanu Kapil, and Sina Queyras.