How I Wrote Certain of My Books: And Other Writings

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Exact Change, 1995 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 264 pages
Introduction by John Ashberry The most eccentric writer of the twentieth century. His unearthly style fascinated Surrealists such as Breton, Duchamp and Cocteau but also Gide, Robespierre, Foucault and John Ashberry. The title essay is the key to Roussel's methods and is joined by selections from his major fiction, drama, and poetry pieces superbly translated by his New York School admirers, which include Ashberry, Winkfield, Harry Matthews and Kenneth Koch.

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How I wrote certain of my books and other writings

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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 ... Read full review


translated by trevor winkfield
Impressions of Africa chapter i
The Dust of Suns act v

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About the author (1995)

Eccentric writer Raymond Roussel was born in Paris, France in 1877. Although Roussel's works are very difficult to translate due to the complexity of their wordplay and his own attempts to translate them to the stage failed, he had a strong influence on a group of experimental Parisian writers known as OuLiPo, and on artists such as Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp. He died in Palermo, Italy in 1933.

Pulitzer Prize winning poet John Ashbery has translated many French writers, including Alfred Jarry, Pierre Reverdy, and Raymond Roussel. In 2011 he was awarded the National Book Foundation s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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