Julien Gracq SHAPE OF A CITY, THE

ISBN 13: 9781885586391

SHAPE OF A CITY, THE

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9781885586391: SHAPE OF A CITY, THE
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The most original book of Julien Gracq's later output is about Nantes. It begins with a quotation from Beaudelaire that is repeated and distorted. Nantes, still haunted by André Breton, Jacques Vache and Rimbaud behind them is reconstructed from a remembered image in which the lycée Clémenceau occupies the centre. Pathos filtered through humour guides the author as he writes of a child's experience of the hierarchy of urban spaces. This is a beautiful work, provocative and powerfully set amid verifiable and equally moving land- and cityscapes.

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Synopsis:

The most original and notable of Gracq's later output concentrating on Nantes. "The Shape Of The City" begins with a quotation from Baudelaire that Gracq repeats and distorts: "The shape of a city, as we all know, changes more quickly than the mortal heart." Nantes, still haunted by Andre Breton, Jacques Vache and Rimbaud behind them, is reconstructed from a remembered image in which the Lycee Clemenceau occupies the centre. Pathos filtered through humour guides the author as he writes of a child's experience of the hierarchy of urban spaces: the radial avenues walked during school recreational periods, the districts between these axis, the waterways and the relationship of Nantes to the hinterlands that surround it. Gracq's later work, set so beautifully and provocatively amid verifiable land- and cityscapes, seems profoundly challenged by Proust's synthesis of realism, reverie and remembrance.

About the Author:

Julien Gracq (1910-2007), born Louis Poirier in Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, was one of the greatest French writers of the twentieth century. His work included essays, criticism, fiction and journalism. He won but refused the Prix Goncourt in 1951 for his novel Le Rivage des Syrtes (The Opposing Shore). This retiring and misunderstood figure said he wrote "to settle a score with expression itself, to give form, stability, precision to things that are vague in the mind."

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