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Raymond Roussel (1877 - 1933)

Lifespan: 1877 - 1935

Related: nouveau roman - surrealist literature - French literature - poetry experimental literature

How I Wrote Certain Of My Books (1935) - Raymond Roussel, Trevor Winkfield, John Ashbery [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Raymond Roussel (Paris, January 20, 1877 - Palermo, July 14, 1933) was a French poet, novelist, playwright, musician, chess enthusiast, neurasthenic, drug addict, and a probable committer of suicide. Through his novels, poems, and plays he exerted a profound influence on certain groups within 20th century French literature, including the Surrealists, Oulipo, and the authors of the nouveau roman.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond Roussel

Roussell is one of the authors mentioned in André Breton's excellent 1940 Anthology of Black Humor. Impressions of Africa and Locus Solus are listed in 1001 Books.

How I Wrote Certain Of My Books (1935) - Raymond Roussel

From 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 When he sent parts of this book to the printer in 1932, the understanding was that the text would not be published while he was alive (he died in 1933; it came out two years later).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. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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