Paris Peasant

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Exact Change, 1994 - Fiction - 210 pages
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"Paris Peasant" (1926) is one of the central works of Surrealism, yet Exact Change's edition is the first U.S. publication of Simon Watson Taylor's authoritative translation, completed after consultations with the author. Unconventional in form--Aragon consciously avoided recognizable narration or character development--"Paris Peasant" is, in the author's words, "a mythology of the modern." The book uses the city of Paris as a stage or framework, and Aragon interweaves his text with images of related ephemera: cafe menus, maps, inscriptions on monuments and newspaper clippings. A detailed description of a Parisian arcade (nineteenth-century precursor to the mini-mall) and another of the Buttes-Chaumont park, are among the great set pieces within Aragon's swirling prose of philosophy, dream and satire. Andre Breton wrote of this work: "no one could have been a more astute detector of the unwonted in all its forms; no one else could have been carried away by such intoxicating reveries about a sort of secret life of the city. . . ."

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Contents

PREFACE TO A MODERN MYTHOLOGY
5
THE PASSAGE DE LOPERA
12
A FEELING FOR NATURE
112
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Louis Aragon was born in Paris, France. He had a varied professional life that included experimentation with numerous writing styles. Initially planning on a career in medicine, Aragon studied at the University of Paris. During World War I and World War II, he was mobilized as an auxiliary doctor. Dadaism and surrealism influenced many of his early works, including Nightwalker. In 1919 he co-founded the Surrealist magazine Literature, but he soon broke away from dadaism and surrealism and joined the Communist Party. Among his best-known works are Residential Quarters and The Bells of Basel, which reflect this Communist influence. His later works, such as Holy Week (1958), seem to turn away from some of his more controversial ideas. In the 1940s Aragon reintroduced rhyme in his work and was interested in ideas of automatic writing and freedom of the unconscious. Aragon wrote under numerous pseudonyms including Albert de Routisie, Arnaud de Saint Roman, and Francois La Colere. He died on December 24, 1982.

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