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How I Wrote Certain of My Books
     

How I Wrote Certain of My Books

by Raymond Roussel, John Ashbery, Trevor Winkfield (Translator)
 

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Raymond Roussel (1877-1933), next-door neighbor of Marcel Proust, can be described without exaggeration as the most eccentric writer of the twentieth century. His unearthly style based on elaborate linguistic riddles and puns fascinated the Surrealists and famously influenced the composition of Marcel Duchamp's “Large Glass,” but also affected writers

Overview

Raymond Roussel (1877-1933), next-door neighbor of Marcel Proust, can be described without exaggeration as the most eccentric writer of the twentieth century. His unearthly style based on elaborate linguistic riddles and puns fascinated the Surrealists and famously influenced the composition of Marcel Duchamp's “Large Glass,” but also affected writers as diverse as Gide, Robbe-Grillet and Foucault (author of a book-length study of Roussel). The title essay of this collection is the key to Roussel’s method, and it is accompanied by selections from all his major works of fiction, drama and poetry, translated by his New York School admirers John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch and Harry Mathews, and the painter and author Trevor Winkfield. Ashbery writes that Roussel’s work is “like the perfectly preserved temple of a cult which has disappeared without a trace… we can still admire its inhuman beauty, and be stirred by a language that seems always on the point of revealing its secret.”

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Considered to be the precursor to literary surrealism, Roussel was admired as a genius by such illustrious contemporary French writers as Cocteau, Gide, Foucault, and Giacometti. To the public in general he was perhaps one of the most extraordinary, eccentric writers of this century. In this volume, a cross-section of his major writings, he explains the method he used to compose his works. When he sent parts of this book to the printer in 1932, the understanding was that the text would not be published while he was alive (he died in 1933; it came out two years later). And so it was his last and posthumous work. Roussel's style is largely based on linguistic riddles and compositions of phonetically enigmatic or distorted sentences and phrases. His masterpiece, "New Impressions from Africa," is a poem illustrating his verbal acrobatics and the use of seemingly endlessly intertwined parenthetical thoughts like a Chinese puzzle. All this is compounded with a curious collection of 59 illustrations commissioned by the author and inspired by him. Recommended for literary collections.-Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781878972149
Publisher:
Exact Change
Publication date:
07/31/2005
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
768,774
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 7.93(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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