|Publisher||Les Éditions de Minuit|
L’Opoponax is a 1964 novel by French writer Monique Wittig. It was translated into English in 1966 by Helen Weaver, and published in the US by Simon & Schuster. The title comes from the plant Opopanax, aka sweet myrrh, which appears as the cover illustration on the 1976 reprint by Daughters, Inc..
L'Opoponax is about "children undergoing typical childhood experiences like the first day of school and the first romance"
The book contains no common paragraphs, with each (regularly sized) chapter consisting of a single, extended paragraph. Chapters have no numbering or headings. It is written with the author addressing the protagonist as "you" and describing to her the events of the book.
Literary significance and criticism
The novel won the Prix Médicis in 1964. Natalie Sarraute said, at the awards, "I shall probably not be there to witness it, but in ten or twenty years you will see what a writer we have honored here."
Marguerite Duras wrote of it:
"It is a remarkable and very important book because it is governed by a single iron rule: that is, to use nothing but pure description conveyed by purely objective language. A masterpiece."
- "Monique Wittig, 67, Feminist Writer, Dies", by Douglas Martin, January 12, 2003, New York Times
- The Opoponax, Monique Wittig, translation by Helen Weaver. Vermont: Daughters, Inc., 1976, ISBN 0-913780-15-4
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