The Last Days

Overview

The Last Daysis Raymond Queneau's autobiographical novel of Parisian student life in the 1920s: Vincent Tuquedenne tries to reconcile his love for reading with the sterility of studying as he hopes to study his way out of the petite bourgeoisie to which he belongs.

Vincent and his generation are contrasted with an older generation of retired teachers and petty crooks, and both generations come under the bemused gaze of the waiter Alfred, whose infallible method of predicting the...

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Overview

The Last Daysis Raymond Queneau's autobiographical novel of Parisian student life in the 1920s: Vincent Tuquedenne tries to reconcile his love for reading with the sterility of studying as he hopes to study his way out of the petite bourgeoisie to which he belongs.

Vincent and his generation are contrasted with an older generation of retired teachers and petty crooks, and both generations come under the bemused gaze of the waiter Alfred, whose infallible method of predicting the future mocks prevailing scientific models. Similarly, Queneau's literary universe operates under its own laws, joining rigorous artistry with a warm evocation of the last days of a bygone world.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The most important thing to say about The Last Days is that it works. Erudition is seldom welcome at the gates of satire, but the late Raymond Queneau's autobiographical novel of Parisian student life in the 1920s is profound, complex and instantly likable. It is also very, very funny." -- Octavio Roca, Washington Times

Dalkey Archive Press

"A witty novel that is a witness both to Queneau's marvelous sense of humor and his capacity for self-examination." -- Choice

Dalkey Archive Press

"Dazzling in its wordplay." -- Kirkus Reviews

Dalkey Archive Press

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pierrot is a Chaplinesque figure who works at a series of marginal jobs for an amusement park, and competes with his friend Paradis for the affections of the owner's daughter. ``Originally published in France in 1942 and in England in 1950, this novel's pared down, often vulgar language is supplemented by highly inventive word plays and snippets of philosophy,'' said PW . (Sept.)
Library Journal
Among the last of Queneau's major works to be translated into English, this highly stylized novel draws upon the author's intimate journal (1920-28) for many details. Like the novel's main character, Queneau went to Paris from Normandy to study philosophy in 1920. This is, however, more than an autobiographical journey through Parisian student life in the 1920s. It is an artfully crafted literary mosaic of oppositions and similarities (of characters, descriptions, attitudes, and perceptions) that emphasize the literary quality of this work. The finality evoked in the title is rich in potential for intepretation, as is the work itself. The use of puns and neologisms, as well as other stylistic and rhetorical devices characteristic of Queneau's work, have come to be recognized as uniquely his.-- Anthony Caprio, Oglethorpe Univ., Atlanta, Ga.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564781406
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 986,937
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Queneau was born in Le Havre in 1903 and went to Paris when he was 17. For some time he joined André Breton's Surrealist group, but after only a brief stint he dissociated himself. Now, seeing Queneau's work in retrospect, it seems inevitable. The Surrealists tried to achieve a sort of pure expression from the unconscious, without mediation of the author's self-aware "persona." Queneau's texts, on the contrary, are quite deliberate products of the author's conscious mind, of his memory, his intentionality.

Although Queneau's novels give an impression of enormous spontaneity, they were in fact painstakingly conceived in every small detail. He even once remarked that he simply could not leave to hazard the task of determining the number of chapters of a book. Talking about his first novel, Le Chiendent (usually translated as The Bark Tree), he pointed out that it had 91 sections, because 91 was the sum of the first 13 numbers, and also the product of two numbers he was particularly fond of: 7 and 13.

Dalkey Archive Press

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