Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

by Vitezslav Nezval, Kamil Lhotak
     
 

Written in 1935 at the height of Czech Surrealism but not published until 1945, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a bizarre erotic fantasy of a young girl's maturation into womanhood on the night of her first menstruation. Referencing Matthew Lewis's The Monk, Marquis de Sade's Justine, K. H. Macha's May, F. W. Murnau's film Nosferatu, Nezval employs the language of…  See more details below

Overview

Written in 1935 at the height of Czech Surrealism but not published until 1945, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a bizarre erotic fantasy of a young girl's maturation into womanhood on the night of her first menstruation. Referencing Matthew Lewis's The Monk, Marquis de Sade's Justine, K. H. Macha's May, F. W. Murnau's film Nosferatu, Nezval employs the language of the pulp serial novel to fashion a lyrical, menacing dream of sexual awakening involving a vampire with an insatiable appetite for chicken blood, changelings, lecherous priests, a malicious grandmother desiring her lost youth.

In his Foreword Nezval states: "I wrote this novel out of a love of the mystique in those ancient tales, superstitions and romances, printed in Gothic script, which used to flit before my eyes and declined to convey to me their content." Part fairy tale, part Gothic horror, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a meditation on youth and age, sexuality and death, an androgynous merging of brother with sister, an exploration of the grotesque with the shifting registers of language, mood, and genre that were a hallmark of the Czech avant-garde. The 1970 film version is considered one of the outstanding achievements of Czech new-wave cinema.

This edition includes Kamil Lhoták's original illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is a tour de force in that Nezval adopts the genre of the pulp novel for his own arch purposes. Have literary historians noticed that it is a precursor of some of our own aesthetic concerns, in other words a sort of pre-postmodern fantasy?" -- John Taylor, The Antioch Review

"Gothic sleazefest, menstrual fantasy, dime-store pulp fiction—Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a collage of a collage of a collage, a dream of a dream, an important early-century surrealist novel only now translated from its native Czech into English by the able David Short." -- New York Press

"Somewhere between the existential fables of Franz Kafka and the macabre animations of Jan Švankmajer lies Vítězslav Nezval. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders reminded me of a hyperactive Hammer Horror film as directed by Luis Buñuel." -- The Absinthe Literary Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9788086264196
Publisher:
Twisted Spoon Press
Publication date:
06/28/2005
Pages:
228
Sales rank:
615,425
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Vitezslav Nezval (1900-1958) was perhaps the most prolific writer in Prague during the 1920s and 30s. An original member of the avant-garde group of artists Devetsil (Nine Forces), he was a founding figure of the Poetist movement. His output consists of a number of poetry collections, experimental plays and novels, memoirs, essays, and translations. His best work is from the interwar period. Along with Karel Teige, Jindrich Styrsky, and Toyen, Nezval frequently traveled to Paris, engaging with the French surrealists. Forging a friendship with André Breton and Paul Eluard, he was instrumental in founding The Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia in 1934 (the first such group outside of France), serving as editor of the group's journal Surrealismus.

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