Blaise Cendrars: Discovery and Re-creation
In Blaise Cendrars: Discovery and Re-creation, Jay Bochner presents a revealing account of Cendrars' life and established the imoprtance of his work in the mainstream of modern literature. Prolific and versatile, Cendrars wrote poetry, radio plays, novels, essays, autobiography, and books on the cinema. An early contributor to the Dada movement, he was at the forefront of the Paris avant-garde before and after the first world war, and his powerful poetic style influenced such writers as Apollinaire, Henry Miller, and John Dos Passos. Although he was well known to the French reading public, lavishly praised by his peers, and well received by the important critics of his day, Cendrars' critical reputation has not endured.
The first part of the book is biographical, and in this section Professor Bochner suggests that the reasons for Cendrars' obscurity have more to do with his life than his works. Cendrars himself cared little about his reputation. Although he knew most of the important writers and artists working in Paris, he spent relatively little time actively engaged in the literary life there, frequently disappearing to work on films in southern France and Italy, to travel with gypsies, or to live in isolation. In fact the attention he attracted as an adventurer has perhaps overwhelmed and obscured his stature as a writer.
The critical analysis of Cendrars' writing is divided into seven chapters, each corresponding to a period in which a particular genre dominated his publications. Professor Bochner's premise is that the serious reading of Cendrars shows that for him bourlinguer, knocking about the world, was discovery, not only of the world at large but of the shelf. He believed writing to be a re-creation of the self as well as the creation of a mythical world for an alternately disbelieving and enchanged reader. The title of his collected poetry, Du monde entier au coeur du monde, expresses the essential fusion of this writer's life and art.
Professor Bochner's study is both a major contribution to the critical history of modern literature and an absorbing account of a fascinating personality.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 332 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
JAY BOCHNER is a member of the Department of English at the Université de Montréal.
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