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Au revoir et merci

Christopher Tayler: Romain Gary, 6 December 2018

The Roots of Heaven 
by Romain Gary, translated by Jonathan Griffin.
Godine, 434 pp., $18.95, November 2018, 978 1 56792 626 2
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Promise at Dawn 
by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham Beach.
Penguin, 314 pp., £9.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 34763 8
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... his early forties, hadn’t been thought to be living up to his early promise. Sartre, Camus and Raymond Aron had praised his first book, a novel about Polish partisans, A European Education (1945), but he had later lost his audience, producing – among other things – an eccentric satire on racism and a Parisian rewrite of Oliver Twist. The initial ...

Who Whips Whom

Leland de la Durantaye: Sade, 19 February 2015

Justine et autres romans 
by D.A.F. de Sade, edited by Michel Delon and Jean Deprun.
Gallimard, 1152 pp., €60, October 2014, 978 2 07 014669 7
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... voiced on this count. While reading Twenty Months at Auschwitz by Pelagia Lewińska in 1945, Raymond Queneau noted that ‘the real meaning’ of the camps was to ‘dehumanise human beings (which was the goal proposed by Sade’s heroes)’, and found, in Sade, ‘a hallucinatory precursor of the world ruled by the Gestapo’. Later that same year ...


Mark Ford, 2 February 1989

W or the Memory of Childhood 
by Georges Perec, translated by David Bellos.
Collins Harvill, 176 pp., £10.95, October 1988, 0 00 271116 8
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Life: A User’s Manual 
by Georges Perec, translated by David Bellos.
Collins Harvill, 581 pp., £4.95, October 1988, 0 00 271999 1
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... constraints. OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle) was a literary association founded by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais in 1960 and dedicated to the search for new forms of writing, mainly through the application of mathematical structures, gratuitous forms of word play, and bizarre constrictions on content. The Oulipian text aims for ...

Promenade Dora-Bruder

Adam Shatz: Patrick Modiano, 22 September 2016

So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood 
by Patrick Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron.
MacLehose, 160 pp., £8.99, September 2016, 978 0 85705 499 9
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... connected in cultural circles: his mother’s acquaintances included the actress Anna Karina and Raymond Queneau, who became Patrick’s maths tutor and later introduced him to Gaston Gallimard, his publisher. Neither Alberto nor Louisa appears to have had any interest in parenting, a task they farmed out to an eccentric group of women in the ...

Peas in a Matchbox

Jonathan Rée: ‘Being and Nothingness’, 18 April 2019

Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenology and Ontology 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Sarah Richmond.
Routledge, 848 pp., £45, June 2019, 978 0 415 52911 2
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... reputation, bringing out new work by such established writers as Marcel Aymé, Jean Cocteau, Raymond Queneau and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, as well as launching the careers of Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Blanchot and Albert Camus. (He gave Camus a job that made it possible for him to live in Paris, and published L’Etranger in May 1942, followed by ...

Maigret’s Room

John Lanchester: The Home Life of Inspector Maigret, 4 June 2020

... have found a lot to agree with. Another of Simenon’s unexpected intellectual affinities is with Raymond Queneau, who in the course of his studies spent a lot of time reflecting on the difference between spoken and written Greek, between the dialect of the street and the formal language. It occurred to Queneau that ...

In the Anti-World

Nicholas Jenkins: Raymond Roussel, 6 September 2001

Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams 
by Mark Ford.
Faber, 312 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 17409 4
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... interests to the works of the rich, bizarre and innovative French poet, novelist and playwright Raymond Roussel. In Paris, Péret contacted Roussel’s business manager, hoping to arrange a meeting with the man whom Louis Aragon called ‘the President of the Republic of Dreams’. Members of the Surrealist group, including Péret, had consistently ...

With A, then B, then C

Susan Eilenberg: The Sexual Life of Iris M., 5 September 2002

Iris Murdoch: A Life 
by Peter Conradi.
HarperCollins, 706 pp., £9.99, August 2002, 9780006531753
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... to win prizes in the League of Nations essay competition two years in a row, beating the young Raymond Williams the second time around. From BMB Murdoch learned, too, an admiration for the Soviet Union which the evidence of Stalin’s purges and show trials could not shake; her Soviet sympathies outlasted her pacifism by some years. It was only in ...


Douglas Johnson, 20 May 1982

La Cérémonie des Adieux 
by Simone de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 559 pp., £9.25, November 1981
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Mes Années Sartre 
by Georges Michel.
Hachette, 217 pp., £6.15
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Oeuvres Romanesques 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, edited by Michel Contat and Michel Rybalka.
Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 2174 pp., £22.50, January 1982
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... likely that some of them, at least, will be critical of the role that Simone de Beauvoir played. Raymond Aron has already said that his relations changed from the day that Sartre met her. Until then Sartre liked to have him as his companion, someone with whom he could talk: once Simone de Beauvoir had taken on this role, he was no longer interested in ...

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