Written in 1928 by one of the founders of the Surrealist movement, and translated the following year by William Carlos Williams (the two had been introduced in Paris by a mutual friend), Last Nights of Paris is related to Surrealist novels such as Nadja and Paris Peasant, but also to the American expatriate novels of its day such as Day of the Locust. The story concerns the narrator's obsession with a woman who leads him into an underworld that promises to reveal the secrets of the city itself... and in Williams' wonderfully direct translation it reads like a lost Great American Novel. A vivid portrait of the city that entranced both its native writers and the Americans who traveled to it in the 20s, Last Nights of Paris is a rare collaboration between the literary circles at the root of both French and American Modernism.
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Text: English, French (translation)From Library Journal:
French writer Soupault (1897-1990) was a prominent member of the Surrealist movement until he was expelled in 1926 for refusing to toe the party line. This short novel appeared two years later and was translated by American poet William Carlos Williams the year after that. It follows the wanderings of a nameless narrator who sees Paris "for the first time" through his obsession with a young streetwalker and who witnesses the aftermath of a grisly crime. Last Nights of Paris is mildly mysterious, but its attraction for modern readers may be that of a charming period piece, a relic of an age that was more easily shocked and thrilled than ours. Buy accordingly.
- Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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