1st Edition

Paths to Contemporary French Literature Volume 1

Edited By John Taylor Copyright 2004
    358 Pages
    by Routledge

    374 Pages
    by Routledge

    Although the great French novelists of the last two centuries are widely read in America, there is a widespread notion that little of importance has happened in French literature since the heyday of Sartre, Camus, and the nouveau roman. Some might argue that even well read Americans are ignorant about what is happening in European literature generally. Certainly, there has never been so few translations of foreign books in the United States, or so little coverage of foreign writers. Curious American readers need new, up-to-date information and analyses about what is happening elsewhere. Paths to Contemporary French Literature is a stimulating and much-needed guide to the major currents of one of the world's great literatures.

    This critical panorama of contemporary French literature introduces English-language readers to over fifty important writers and poets, many of whom are still little known outside of France. Emphasizing authors who are admired by their peers (as opposed to those with overnight reputations), John Taylor offers a compelling insider's view. The pioneering essays included in this book offer incisive analyses of the ideas motivating current writing and delve into a writer's or poet's entire output. Although some names may be familiar (Marguerite Duras, Hulbne Cixous, Philippe Jaccottet, Henri Michaux), the reader obtains fresh reappraisals of their seminal work. Especially noteworthy, however, are Taylor's lively introductions to many other key writers who either have not yet crossed the English Channel, let alone the Atlantic. Combating the notion that French literature is overtly intellectual, inaccessible, or interested only in formal experimentation, Taylor shows that many French writers are instead acutely inquisitive about the outside world, shrewd observers of reality, even very funny.

    Although not conceived as a reference book, the volume possesses some qualities of a reference work: a good bibliography, reliable dates and biographical facts. Paths to Contemporary French Literature will be of interest to students of French literature and culture, literary scholars, and readers of contemporary fiction and poetry.


    Part 1: The Art of Strolling

    From Serendipity to Metaphysics (Jacques Reda)
    The Permanent Miracle that is the World (Charles-Albert Cingria)
    Enigmas of the Everyday (Jean Follain)
    Intimations of Times Past (Andre Hardellet)
    The Pedestrian of Paris (Leon-Paul Fargue)
    Men Without Qualities (Jean de la Ville de Mirmont)
    When Tenderness is the Secret Lining of Despair (Henri Calet)
    The Facts of Life (Georges L. Godeau)
    A New World in Every Instant (Gil Jouanard)
    Holding Immense Spaces in the Palm of his Hand (Gerard Mace)
    A Cafe Waiter Astray in Philosophy (Pierre Autin-Grenier)
    From Dreams to Disillusionment (Jean Reverzy)
    A Master Traveler (Nicolas Bouvier)
    Departing for the "Promised Life" (Guy Goffette)

    Part 2: Remembering Childhood

    From Sense Impressions to Sensibility (Patrick Drevet)
    Balancing the Books (Pierre Bergounioux)
    Of Dignity and Destiny (Pierre Michon)
    Her Father's Letters (Helene Cixous)
    The Painful Sources of "Impersonality" (Nathalie Sarraute)
    From the Mazes of Fiction to the Enigmas of Hope (Louis-Rene des For ets)

    Part 3: Love and Love's Language

    Love, Death, and Spirituality (Pierre Jean Jouve)
    The "Tender Gesture" (Georges Perros)
    Tragic Separation, Impossible Reconciliation (Jean-Philippe Salabreuil)
    Fatal Desire, Inconsolable Love (Marguerite Duras)
    Love, and Love's Language, Ablaze (Albert Cohen)
    Eros Against Death (Jude Stefan)
    Uneasy Solitude, Redoubtable Intimacies (Anne-Marie Garat)
    A Terrible Beauty is Born (Pierre Guyotat)
    The Composition of Mourning (Jacques Roubaud)
    "Disappearing with what Endures" (Claude Esteban)
    From Darkness to Life (Louis Calaferte)

    Part 4: After Surviving

    Cavalrymen Pitted Against Tanks (Claude Simon)
    A Humane Analysis of Inhumanity (Robert Antelme)
    Manual for a Sad Life (Georges Perec)
    A Lifetime of Questioning (Edmond Jabes)
    Lives Shattered into Puzzle Pieces (Patrick Modiano)
    An Impossible Survival (Sarah Kofman)
    Ever-Present Absence (Marcel Cohen)
    "That Song Lost in the Depths of the Self" (Philippe S. Hadengue)

    Part 5: Telling of Storytelling

    The Profundity of Cheerfulness (Florence Delay)
    From Ruin to Renewal (Marie Redonnet)
    Deviations from the Real: The Beginnings of the "New Fiction" Group
    The Art of Shaving Gently (Roland Barthes)

    Part 6: Beyond the Self

    Reconciliations with the Real (Julien Gracq)
    A Multifarious Writer, A Unified Quest (Henri Michaux)
    Elusive Presence (Yves Bonnefoy)
    Intimations of the Beyond (Philippe Jaccottet)
    Seeing the Sea (Eugene Guillevic)
    Emblems of Being (Michel Fardoulis-Lagrange)
    Voyaging Out (Silvia Baron Supervielle)
    The Search for a Healing Luminosity (Lorand Gaspar)
    Dwell in Slowness, Explore the Elsewhere of Here (Heather Dohollau)
    Seeking the Source (Charles Juliet)
    Awe, Wonder, Bedazzlement (Pierre-Albert Jourdan)

    From Intimism to the Poetics of "Presence": Reading Contemporary French Poetry



    John Taylor