a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


My drug of choice


A library should look like its owner
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

How to organise a library is something I write about, you could create a library with only books about 'how to organise a library' as there is no definitive solution. Not by area, by format, author or subject matter. It requires… my own library, which is spread over five or six rooms in the house and even in my country house is a walk-through library. You can walk from one bit to the next, you don't know what you are going to stumble upon, except maybe for a few authors who are together simply because they were published in the same format. Proust's books, for example, have always been published in the same format so they can stay together... I like that very much, a walk-through library... sometimes I need to carry out some excavation work on it... since I have forgotten what I have, as I have over 20,000 books. And from time to time, I say, 'Let's explore this corner, see if there is anything I have forgotten', which is often the case. There are also things that I have lost or that have been stolen, that can happen. And then there are also doubles, books I have bought having forgotten I already had them, which can also happen, so those I can sell off. A library is a work of art, there is no doubt about this, it looks like the person who composed it, worked on it, walks in it. It is like a portrait, it is like a mirror. A library is very personal and mine is spread out, complex, contradictory, much like my life has been.

[Q] It's the same for me, if I were, for instance, to ask you to find a book by Chateaubriand, the one with the sentence you've forgotten, would you find it straight away?

I need two minutes to find Chateaubriand because he is an author whom I like a lot, I would need two or three minutes. I know exactly where the book is... One should not think that a library that looks untidy actually is untidy. Untidiness is part of art and maybe I do know better where some books are than I would had they been tidy or put in a certain order. There is nothing worse than tidiness when you want to lose yourself.

Comment on organise une bibliothèque, c’est une question sur laquelle j’ai écrit, on pourrait constituer une bibliothèque avec uniquement des livres qui serait «comment ranger une bibliothèque?» parce qu’on ne peut pas, il n’y a pas de solutions miracles. Ni par époque, ni par format, ni par auteur, ni par matière. Il faut que… ma bibliothèque à moi qui est d’ailleurs divisée entre les cinq ou six pièces dans la maison et même il y en à la campagne, est une bibliothèque promenade. On peut aller d’un endroit à l’autre, on ne sait pas très bien ce qu’on va y rencontrer, sauf quelque fois quelques auteurs qui sont par miracle réunis parce qu’ils sont dans le même format. Si on a l’œuvre de Proust par exemple il a été toujours publié dans le même format donc on peut le mettre tout ensemble… moi j’aime en tout cas beaucoup une bibliothèque baladeuse, vagabonde comme ça… Quelque fois il m’arrive même de faire des fouilles, car j’ai oublié bien entendu ce que j’ai, j’ai plus de 20 000 livres. De temps en temps je dis : tiens,  je vais explorer ce coin là s’il y a des choses que j’ai oublié, c’est très souvent le cas. Il y a aussi des choses que j’ai perdues ou qu’on m’a volé, cela peut arriver et il y a aussi des livres en deux exemplaires que j’ai racheté, oubliant que je l’avais déjà, cela peut arriver aussi, dans ce cas la je peux le revendre. Une bibliothèque est une œuvre, il n’y aucun doute là-dessus, c’est à dire ça ressemble à celui qui l’a composée, qu’il l’a faite et qui s’y promène. C’est un portrait, c’est comme un miroir, une bibliothèque. C’est une œuvre très personnelle, et la mienne est dispersée, complexe, contradictoire comme l’a été ma vie.

[Q] Alors pour moi c est un peu pareil, mais si je vous dis, par exemple, ‘trouvez le livre et la phrase que vous avez oublié, de Chateaubriand’, vous allez y mettre la main dessus directement, ou non ?

Il me faudra deux minutes pour trouver, j’ai pas, Chateaubriand parce que c’est un auteur que j’aime beaucoup, il faudra deux ou trois minutes. Je sais exactement ou le livre parce que… Il ne faut pas croire qu’une bibliothèque en désordre soit une bibliothèque désordonnée, le désordre est un effet de l’art, peut-être est-ce que je sais avec plus de précision où se trouve tel ou tel livre que si c’était ordonné, que si c’était mis en ordre. Rien n’est pire que l’ordre quand on veut se perdre.

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (1931-2021) began his association with films aged 24 when he was selected by Jacques Tati to write for him. This early experience led to further contact with other film-makers, including Luis Buñuel with whom Carrière collaborated for many years. He wrote screenplays for films including Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, Tin Drum and Danton.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Books, library, Marcel Proust, classification, categorisation, Chateaubriand

Duration: 2 minutes, 43 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 10 May 2011