Is there any such thing as revolutionary literature? Can literature, in fact, be political at all? These are the questions Roland Barthes addresses in Writing Degree Zero, his first published book and a landmark in his oeuvre. The debate had engaged the European literary community since the 1930s; with this fierce manifesto, Barthes challenged the notion of literature’s obligation to be socially committed. Yes, Barthes allows, the writer has a political and ethical responsibility. But the history of French literature shows that the writer has often failed to meet it―and from Barthes’s perspective, literature is committed to little more than the myth of itself. Expert and uncompromising, Writing Degree Zero introduced the themes that would soon establish Barthes as one of the leading voices in literary criticism.
Julia Kristeva - Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
Kristeva is one of the leading voices in contemporary French criticism, on a par with such names as Genette, Foucault, Greimas and others...[ Powers of Horror is] an excellent introduction to an aspect of contemporary French literature which has been allowed to become somewhat neglected in the current emphasis on para-philosophical modes of discourse. The sections on Céline, for example, are indispensable reading for those interested in this writer and place him within a context that is both illuminating and of general interest. (Paul de Man )
Harold Bloom - Paul de Man - Jacques Derrida - Geoffrey H. Hartman - J. Hillis Miller - Deconstruction and Criticism
Five essential and challenging essays by leading post-modern theorists on the art and nature of interpretation: Jacques Derrida, Harold Bloom, Geoffrey Hartman, Paul de Man, and J. Hillis Miller.
Joanne M. Harris - The Gospel of Loki
The first adult epic fantasy novel from multi-million copy bestselling author of CHOCOLAT, Joanne Harris. The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods - retold from the point of view of the world's ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki's recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel. Loki, that’s me. Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining. So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role. Now it’s my turn to take the stage. With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge. From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.
Alexandre Dumas - The Count of Monte Cristo
The story of Edmund Dantes, self-styled Count of Monte Cristo, is told with consummate skill. The victim of a miscarriage of justice, Dantes is fired by a desire for retribution and empowered by a stroke of providence. In his campaign of vengeance, he becomes an anonymous agent of fate. The sensational narrative of intrigue, betrayal, escape, and triumphant revenge moves at a cracking pace. Dumas' novel presents a powerful conflict between good and evil embodied in an epic saga of rich diversity that is complicated by the hero's ultimate discomfort with the hubristic implication of his own actions.
Albert Camus - A Happy Death
Is it possible to die a happy death? This title tells the story of a young Algerian, Mersault, who defies society's rules by committing a murder and escaping punishment, then experimenting with different ways of life and finally dying a happy man.
Choderlos de Laclos - Les Liaisons Dangereuses (angol)
Les Liasons Dangereuses, by Choderlos De Laclos is an erotic tale of deceit, betrayal, and seduction that has existed through time as one of the most controversial novels in European history. The Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil are two wealthy individuals in high society who take great pleasure in showing their power over their lovers, and who choose cruelty and deceit over the passion of true love. Valmont, a suave and charming man, takes aims to seduce the virtuous Madame de Tourvel, the wife of a prominent judge. His goal is not to shake her foundations of religious faith, but to use that faith, and her own virtues, to ensure her complete demise. Merteuil, on the other hand, seeks revenge against the Comte de Gercourt, and devises a plan to corrupt his.....
Alejandro Jodorowsky - Psychomagic
A healing path using the power of dreams, theater, poetry, and shamanism • Shows how psychological realizations can cause true transformation when manifested by concrete poetic acts • Includes many examples of the surreal but successful actions Jodorowsky has prescribed to those seeking his help While living in Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky became familiar with the colorful and effective cures provided by folk healers. He realized that it is easier for the unconscious to understand the language of dreams than that of rationality. Illness can even be seen as a physical dream that reveals unresolved emotional and psychological problems. Psychomagic presents the shamanic and genealogical principles Jodorowsky discovered to create a healing therapy that could use the powers of dreams, art, and theater to empower individuals to heal wounds that in some cases had traveled through generations. The concrete and often surreal poetic actions Jodorowsky employs are part of an elaborate strategy intended to break apart the dysfunctional persona with whom the patient identifies in order to connect with a deeper self. That is when true transformation can manifest. For a young man who complained that he lived only in his head and was unable to grab hold of reality and advance toward the financial autonomy he desired, Jodorowsky gave the prescription to paste two gold coins to the soles of his shoes so that all day he would be walking on gold. A judge whose vanity was ruling his every move was given the task of dressing like a tramp and begging outside one of the fashionable restaurants he loved to frequent while pulling glass doll eyes out of his pockets. The lesson for him was that if a tramp can fill his pockets with eyeballs, then they must be of no value, and thus the eyes of others should have no bearing on who you are and what you do. Taking his patients directly at their words, Jodorowsky takes the same elements associated with a negative emotional charge and recasts them in an action that will make them positive and enable them to pay the psychological debts hindering their lives.
Pauline Réage - Story Of O
The classic erotic novel, THE STORY OF O relates the love of a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer for Rene. As part of that intense love, she demands debasement and severe sexual and pychological tests. It is a unique work not to be missed.
Pauline Réage - The Illustrated Story Of O
"...I was convinced that Story of O was going to revolutionize the book trade, that I would sell hundreds of thousands of copies across the world, and that moral attitudes would change overnight. The audacity of this novel seemed to me to be liberating rather than provocative. I perceived the promise of a new freedom. And I expected to cause a shock."--Jean-Jacques Pauvert, from the Introduction When Story of O was first published in 1954 in Paris by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, it narrowly escaped censorship by the Department of the Interior and eventually became the most widely translated French novel in the world. It describes in cool, elegant language the experiences of a young woman as she willingly enters a dark maze of perverse sexual practices within a clandestine amoral society. Revelling in pure fantasy, its theme is total submission through love to excesses of sadism and masochism, and the bond of "ownership." Now Doris Kloster, a photographer specializing in issues of women's sexuality and power, has realized a long-standing dream. She has created a photographic representation of one of the most famous and controversial erotic novels ever published. The result is another sensation. The Illustrated Story of O presents over 50 superb images which mirror perfectly the intense eroticism of the novel. Shooting entirely in Paris and its environs, Doris Kloster has succeeded in matching characters, locations, costumes and props to the original descriptions. And each magnificent color photograph is accompanied by a short extract from the novel. In addition, there is a Preface from Doris Kloster herself and an Introduction from Jean-Jacques Pauvert, the original publisher of the novel. The Illustrated Story of O presents a rich visual feast that will delight fans of Doris Kloster's work, and appeal strongly to connoisseurs of the darker excesses of sexuality. It is destined to become a classic collector's edition.
Eric Rohmer - The Taste for the Beauty
The Taste for Beauty is a collection of essays by the film-maker and critic Eric Rohmer which were originally written for the French Film review Cahiers du Cinema between 1948-1979. Rohmer, one of the founding members of the French 'New Wave' cinema, was also one of the journal's original critics and served as its editor. Divided into four sections, the essays deal with fundamental and theoretical questions of film-making from a single theoretical viewpoint. Rohmer, a film-maker of great eloquence and erudition, writes in depth on the issues most fundamental to film: what the camera best portrays; the role of sound and colour; the use of drama and comedy; the role of speech; and the problem of literary adaptation; he also includes a personal defence of his films. The final section is devoted entirely to the film-maker Jean Renoir. The Taste for Beauty will be appreciated by students and critics of film, as well as those who love French cinema in general.
Tatiana de Rosnay - Sarah's Key
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.
Timothy Findley - The Wars
The year is 1915, Robert Ross, a young Canadian, enlists as an officer. We follow him from his cloistered home in Toronto to army training in Alberta, the troopship crossing of the Atlantic, the slaughter at Ypres, military leave and romantic attachment in England, and a return to the devastation in Belgium. He is not yet twenty, and the novel chronicles his tangled responses to the new places and people which assail him on both sides of the Atlantic. The psychological pressure of private and public events builds to a tremendous force, and at the climax on the battlefield, Robert commits a desperate "act of madness." But the question is raised: what sort of madness? Protest? Or a resounding affirmation? The novel may focus on one war, but it is also the story of all wars. En route Findley gives us superb cameos of those who surround Robert: his family, his comrades, the animals he responds to so deeply, a flighty heiress in England, and the two delightful women whose memories of Robert help the narrator reconstruct what happened. Findley's scenes remain uncannily in the mind, at times evoking a doomed and comfortable era; at others depicting the humour and the horror of the trenches. The whole book has the immediacy, and impact, of film. It is a miraculous infusion of life into the yellowing photographs and letters we all remember. And at its centre is the compassionate portrait of Robert Ross, a young man whose smouldering inner warfare bursts into flame as he is swept into the most traumatic war in history. The Wars is an elemental novel with a magnificent feel for its period. It is a dazzling and powerful achievement.
Milan Kundera - Immortality
This breathtaking, reverberating survey of human nature finds Kundera still attempting to work out the meaning of life without losing his acute sense of humour. It is one of those great unclassifiable masterpieces that appear once every twenty years or so. 'It will make you cleverer, maybe even a better lover. Not many novels can do that.' Nicholas Lezard, GQ
Martin Esslin - The Theatre of the Absurd
In 1953, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot premiered at a tiny avant-garde theatre in Paris; within five years, it had been translated into more than twenty languages and seen by more than a million spectators. Its startling popularity marked the emergence of a new type of theatre whose proponents—Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Pinter, and others—shattered dramatic conventions and paid scant attention to psychological realism, while highlighting their characters’ inability to understand one another. In 1961, Martin Esslin gave a name to the phenomenon in his groundbreaking study of these playwrights who dramatized the absurdity at the core of the human condition. Over four decades after its initial publication, Esslin’s landmark book has lost none of its freshness. The questions these dramatists raise about the struggle for meaning in a purposeless world are still as incisive and necessary today as they were when Beckett’s tramps first waited beneath a dying tree on a lonely country road for a mysterious benefactor who would never show. Authoritative, engaging, and eminently readable, The Theatre of the Absurd is nothing short of a classic: vital reading for anyone with an interest in the theatre.
Jean-Luc Godard - Godard on Godard
Jean-Luc Godard, like many of his European contemporaries, came to filmmaking through film criticism. This collection of essays and interviews, ranging from his early efforts for La Gazette du Cinéma to his later writings for Cahiers du Cinéma, reflects his dazzling intelligence, biting wit, maddening judgments, and complete unpredictability. In writing about Hitchcock, Welles, Bergman, Truffaut, Bresson, and Renoir, Godard is also writing about himself—his own experiments, obsessions, discoveries. This book offers evidence that he may be even more original as a thinker about film than as a director. Covering the period of 1950–1967, the years of Breathless, A Woman Is a Woman, My Life to Live, Alphaville, La Chinoise, and Weekend, this book of writings is an important document and a fascinating study of a vital stage in Godard’s career. With commentary by Tom Milne and Richard Roud, and an extensive new foreword by Annette Michelson that reassesses Godard in light of his later films, here is an outrageous self-portrait by a director who, even now, continues to amaze and bedevil, and to chart new directions for cinema and for critical thought about its history.
Jean-Luc Godard - Youssef Ishaghpour - Cinema
Cinema is quite simply a unique book from one of the most influential film-makers in the history of cinema. Here, Jean-Luc Godard looks back on a century of film as well as his own work and career. Born with the twentieth century, cinema became not just the century's dominant art form but its best historian. Godard argues that - after Chaplin and Pol Pot, Monroe and Hitler, Stalin and Mae West, Mao and the Marx Brothers - film and history are inextricably intertwined. Godard presents his thoughts on film theory, cinematic technique, film histories, as well as the recent video revolution. He expounds on his central concerns - how film can "resurrect the past," the role of rhythm in film, and how cinema can be an "art that thinks." Here Godard comes closest to defining a lifetime's obsession with cinema and cinema's lifelong obsession with history.
Émile Durkheim - Ethics and the sociology of morals
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) was one of the founders of modern sociology. "Ethics and the Sociology of Morals" (La science positive de la morale en Allemagne) laid the foundation for Durkheim's future work. More than a review of current thought, it was a proclamation that ethics needed to be liberated from its philosophical bondage and developed as a distinct branch of sociology. Written when Durkheim was charting the course of his own research, it provides a unique key to the interpretation of his earlier work and presents a number of points of Durkheim's ethical theory which are of considerable interest in light of current ethical theory. This volume makes available in English a crucial essay by a master of social thought.
Amy Plum - Die for Me
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity. When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent. Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.
Anna Gavalda - Consolation
An international bestseller and French publishing sensation "Consolation" is a dazzling, heartbreaking tale of one man, two remarkable women and an unforgettable transvestite. Charles Balanda is forty-seven; a successful architect, he is constantly on the move. But from the moment he hears about the death of the woman he once loved - Anouk, the tragically big-hearted mother of a childhood friend - his life begins to unravel until, one day, he finds himself on a Paris pavement covered in blood. But fate brings him one final chance to be happy in Kate, an enchanting young woman, herself damaged but fearless and in love with life. The resulting story is a triumphant, spellbinding and ultimately consoling novel about the power of a second chance.
Gustave Flaubert - Madame Bovary (Penguin Readers)
Emma Bovary is married to the reliable but uninteresting Charles. She is bored and finds passion in a series of affairs. This exciting life demands more money than Charles can give her. Soon Emma’s dream lead to her destruction.