SE13 – Opium for Ovid 3 – Daphne

Yoko Tawada, Translated by Kenji Hayakawa

Stereo Editions 2019

Daphne is the third chapter of the project Opium for Ovid, published by Stereoeditions in a collection of 22 separate books.


Daphne est le troisième chapitre du projet Opium for Ovid, publié par Stereoeditions en une collection de 22 livres séparés.

“It was already dark outside, and the letters, glittering rather cunningly, attracted many mosquitoes. One of the mosquitoes suddenly vanished in between the letters.”
(from Daphne, Opium for Ovid, Yoko Tawada, translated by Kenji Hayakawa).

“Yoko Tawada wrote Opium für Ovid: Ein Kopfkissenbuch von 22 Frauen in 2000. She then released the Japanese version of the text, 変身のためのオピウム, in the fall of 2001.
The German title says: “Opium for Ovid: A Pillow Book by 22 Women.” The Japanese title says: “Opium for Metamorphoses.” Our English title says simply: Opium for Ovid. All three can be abbreviated in the same way in one word: Opium.
The only way to experience a drug is to take it. In terms of the price per gram, our work is possibly the cheapest drug on the market. Stocks are limited. We honour our customers’ privacy and will take orders anonymously via our online donation system. We apologize in advance that, due to the recent crash, we no longer accept Bitcoin.
In Opium, Tawada demonstrates (in the sense of simultaneously “showing” and “proving”) a certain hitherto overlooked point about literary language. Our work demonstrates the same point about books. Either way, we promise to release you from the word “happiness” and to help you arrive at the word “opium.”
As far as I know, no literary (or non-literary) scholar has yet given the correct answer to the question: “who (or what) is the narrator of Opium?” We find that a relief. If you ever figure out the answer to this riddle, please keep it secret, so that others may also experience the pleasure of discovering it for themselves.”
Kenji Hayakawa