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Written over the course of four decades, Francois-ReneÅL de Chateaubriand’s epic autobiography has drawn the admiration of Baudelaire, Flaubert, Proust, Roland Barthes, Paul Auster, and W. G. Sebald. In this unabridged section of the Memoirs, spanning the years 1768 to 1800, Chateaubriand looks back on the already bygone world of his youth. He recounts the history of his aristocratic family and the first rumblings of the French Revolution. He recalls playing games on the beaches of Saint-Malo, wandering in the woods near his father’s castle in Combourg, hunting with King Louis XVI at Versailles, witnessing the first heads carried on pikes through the streets of Paris, meeting with George Washington in Philadelphia, and falling hopelessly in love with a young woman named Charlotte in the small Suffolk town of Bungay. The volume ends with Chateaubriand’s return to France after eight years of exile in England. In this new edition (the first unabridged translation of any portion of the Memoirs to be published in more than a century), Chateaubriand emerges as a writer of great wit and clarity, a self-deprecating egoist whose meditations on the meaning of history, memory, and morality are leavened with a mixture of high whimsy and memorable gloom.
The most enjoyable, glamorous and gripping of all 19th-century autobiographies - a tumultuous account of France hit by wave after wave of revolutions Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb is the greatest and most influential of all French autobiographies - an extraordinary, highly entertaining account of a uniquely adventurous and frenzied life. Chateaubriand gives a superb narrative of the major events of his life - which spanned the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Era and the uneasy period that led up to the Revolution of 1830.
The Book of Illusions, written with breath-taking urgency and precision, plunges the reader into a universe in which the comic and the tragic, the real and the imagined, and the violent and the tender dissolve into one another. One man's obsession with the mysterious life of a silent film star takes him on a journey into a shadow-world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love. After losing his wife and young sons in a plane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in grief. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann, and remembers how to laugh . . . Mann was a comic genius, in trademark white suit and fluttering black moustache. But one morning in 1929 he walked out of his house and was never heard from again. Zimmer's obsession with Mann drives him to publish a study of his work; whereupon he receives a letter postmarked New Mexico, supposedly written by Mann's wife, and inviting him to visit the great Mann himself. Can Hector Mann be alive? Zimmer cannot decide - until a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever. 'A nearly flawless work . . . Auster will be remembered as one of the great writers of our time.' San Francisco Chronicle 'Auster's elegant, finely calibrated The Book of Illusions is a haunting feat of intellectual gamesmanship.' TheNew York Times
Chateaubriand was the giant of French literature in the early nineteenth century. Drawing on eighteenth-century English romanticists, on explorers in America, and on Goethe's Werther, he had a profound effect on French writers from Victor Hugo and Lamartine to George Sand and Flaubert. A quixotic and paradoxical personality, he combined impressive careers as a brilliant prose-poet, a spiritual guide, a high-ranking diplomat, and an enterprising lover. Atala and René are his two best-known works, reflecting not only his own joys, aspirations, and despair, but the emerging tastes of a new literary era. Atala is the passionate and tragic love story of a young Indian couple wandering in the wilderness, enthralled by the beauties of nature, drawn to a revivified Christianity by its esthetic charm and consoling beneficence, and finally succumbing to the cruelty of fate. Perhaps even more than Werther or Childe Harold, René embodies the romantic hero, and is not wholly foreign to the disorientation of youth today. Solitary, mysterious, ardent, and poetic, he is in open revolt against a society whose values he rejects. Withough question this archetype played a large part in determining the course of French literature up to the 1850's.
Novels began to incorporate literary theory in unexpected ways in the late twentieth century. Through allusion, parody, or implicit critique, theory formed an additional strand in fiction that raised questions about the nature of authorship and the practice of writing. Studying this phenomenon provides fresh insight into the recent development of the novel and the persistence of modern theory beyond the period of its greatest success. In this book, Judith Ryan opens these questions to a range of readers, drawing them into debates over the value of theory. Ryan investigates what prompted fiction writers to incorporate and respond to theory nearly thirty years ago. Designed for readers unfamiliar with the complexities of theory, Ryan's book introduces the discipline's major trends and controversies and notes the salient ideas of a carefully selected set of individual thinkers. Ryan follows novelists' adaptation to and engagement with arguments drawn from theory as they translate abstract ideas into language, structure, and fictional strategy. At the core of her book is a fascinating microstudy of French poststructuralism in its dialogue with narrative fiction. Investigating theories of textuality, psychology, and society in the work of Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, J. M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, W. G. Sebald, and Umberto Eco, as well as Monika Maron, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Marguerite Duras, Marilynne Robinson, David Foster Wallace, and Christa Wolf, Ryan identifies subtle negotiations between author and theory and the richness this dynamic adds to texts. Resetting the way we think and learn about literature, her book reads current literary theory while uniquely tracing its shaping of a genre.
A historical defense of the concept of bourgeois revolution, from the sixteenth century to the twentieth.
Completed just weeks before his death, the lectures in this volume mark a critical juncture in the career of Roland Barthes, in which he declared the intention, deeply felt, to write a novel. Unfolding over the course of two years, Barthes engaged in a unique pedagogical experiment: he combined teaching and writing to "simulate" the trial of novel-writing, exploring every step of the creative process along the way. Barthes's lectures move from the desire to write to the actual decision making, planning, and material act of producing a novel. He meets the difficulty of transitioning from short, concise notations (exemplified by his favorite literary form, haiku) to longer, uninterrupted flows of narrative, and he encounters a number of setbacks. Barthes takes solace in a diverse group of writers, including Dante, whose La Vita Nuova was similarly inspired by the death of a loved one, and he turns to classical philosophy, Taoism, and the works of Fran�ois-Ren� Chateaubriand, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Kafka, and Marcel Proust. This book uniquely includes eight elliptical plans for Barthes's unwritten novel, which he titled Vita Nova, and lecture notes that sketch the critic's views on photography. Following on The Neutral: Lecture Course at the Coll�ge de France (1977-1978) and a third forthcoming collection of Barthes lectures, this volume provides an intensely personal account of the labor and love of writing.

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