Lingua Franca

By Ann Lovett
New Paltz, New York: Ann Lovett, 2004. Edition of 17.

6.5 x 4.5"; 42 pages. Pigmented inkjet print on rag paper. Spiral bound with red silk-cloth soft cover. Laser printed antique map endsheets. Text excerpted from Hill's French-English and English-French Vest-Pocket Dictionary by Prof. C.M. Stevans (1898).

Ann Lovett: "Lingua Franca documents the Paris apartment where returned for many years, and is an intimate reflection on travel, language, and culture. When I came back from my last visit, a friend said to me, ‘I can’t wait to see your pictures of Paris.’ I had no photographs of Paris streets, museums or other sites to show her. Instead I had only made pictures of the inside of this apartment. When I stay in Paris I stay in someone’s home, and the first time I did this I was startled by the feeling that I was stepping into someone else’s life. I was trying to learn to speak French, struggling with my feelings of awkwardness, both with the language and with the culture, trying to fit myself into another life. The texts here come from a copy of an English-French phrasebook from 1835 that I found in a used bookstore in Rochester, NY. I found some wonderful odd things in it. If you ever need to know how to say “The objects near us seem to pass by us with extreme rapidity” in French, this is just the book for you. A narrative about traveling seemed to emerge from these phrases, one that expressed the doubts and fears of solo travelers, the polite forms of social interaction, and the fatigue of sightseeing and adjusting oneself to a new environment. I enjoy the irony of making a purported travel book that does not show the sights, the people, or the environment.

"It’s instead a view looking inward, a reflection of the emotional experience of being in this place, and the process of constructing memory."
$125 (Last two copies)