By Michel Foucault
James Faubion (Intro), Charles Ruas (tr.), John Ashbery (postscript)
Death and the Labyrinth is exclusive, being Foucault's simply paintings on literature. For Foucault this was once "by a ways the e-book I wrote most simply and with the best pleasure". right here, Foucault explores concept, feedback and psychology throughout the texts of Raymond Roussel, one of many fathers of experimental writing, whose paintings has been celebrated via the likes of Cocteau, Duchamp, Breton, Robbe Grillet, Gide and Giacometti.
This revised version comprises an advent, chronology and bibliography to Foucault's paintings by way of James Faubion, an interview with Foucault, performed merely 9 months earlier than his loss of life, and concludes with an essay on Roussel via the poet John Ashbery.
From Publishers Weekly
In Roussel's fictional international, a muddle of kittens plays on parallel bars, humans cover themselves as tiny gadgets, a guy wears a bracelet that may be a immense earthworm. His novels, naive performs and poems, which mesmerized the French Surrealists, are populated by way of human machines, fans taken all of sudden, magical components, prisons and tortuous symptoms. Roussel's observe innovations encouraged Giacometti, and Gide respected him as a genius, but this recluse who it sounds as if dedicated suicide in 1933 is this day thought of a minor author. Foucault (Madness and Civilization initially released this in-depth literary examine in 1963. relating to Roussel's ties to the Surrealists as incidental, Foucault exhibits how Roussel used childlike units, observe puzzles, double entendre and unfastened organization to create smooth myths and free up the subconscious. Roussel's subject matters are imprisonment and liberation; Foucault, recognized for his experiences of insanity, prisons and sexuality, has a usual affinity for this compelling, occasionally imprecise author whose international of inhuman attractiveness turns out continuously close to divulging its secrets and techniques. February 21
From Library Journal
This e-book was once written approximately two decades in the past, simply after Foucault had found the works of Roussel, a latest of Proust whose works, whereas now not quite often renowned, have inspired a few glossy writers together with Robbe-Grillet. Foucault explores the relation of phrases and issues and paradoxes of language, time, and area in Roussel's paintings. this is often the single paintings of Foucault that offers with literature as such and it really is an enticing and illuminating functionality. The publication encompasses a invaluable creation through John Ashbery and an interview with Foucault, yet American readers who're no longer acquainted with contemporary French feedback, Foucault, or Roussel will locate it tough and of marginal curiosity. Richard Kuczkowski, Dir., carrying on with schooling, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
"One of the $64000 issues in regards to the Roussel publication, although, is that it indicates that method of literature in complete flight. And interpreting it's a excitement, yet a excitement that's not unmixed with discomfort. Foucault's personal entertainment, not just of the texts of Roussel, yet of the method of manufacturing his analyses of these texts, is contagious. And if that makes us return and skim a few of Roussel's paintings, then the ebook has served a massive function... given Foucault's personal fondness for subjugated knowledges and forgotten histories, we might be good justified in uncovering this mystery love of an anguished and obsessive younger philosopher." —Timothy O'Leary, Foucault reviews, February 2009 (Timothy O’Leary)
“One of the $64000 issues in regards to the Roussel publication, in spite of the fact that, is that it exhibits that method of literature in complete flight. And studying it's a excitement, yet a excitement that isn't unmixed with soreness. Foucault’s personal amusement, not just of the texts of Roussel, yet of the method of manufacturing his analyses of these texts, is contagious. And if that makes us return and skim a few of Roussel’s paintings, then the booklet has served an immense function… given Foucault’s personal fondness for subjugated knowledges and forgotten histories, we might be good justified in uncovering this mystery love of an anguished and obsessive younger philosopher.” –Timothy O’Leary, Foucault reports, February 2009 (Sanford Lakoff)
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Additional resources for Death and the Labyrinth: The World of Raymond Roussel
Then, amplifying the process, I sought new words related to the word billard, always with the intention of using them in a sense other than the obvious one, and each time something new was created. " Sometimes a billiard cue has an initial on it, the initial of its owner: whence the initial (number) on the aforementioned train; the same technique for bandes (hordes) and blanc (white). "Once outside the realm of billard, I continued to use the same method. I selected a word and linked it to another with the preposition a (to); and these two words, understood in some other way than their original meaning, provided me with a new creation.
However, it remains in fact the exacting organizer, since without it there would not have been any bellicose warriors, nor European captives, nor black troops, nor the white man Carmichael, etc. It seems that the horizontal axis of the genesis-texts has been swung around and now shows itself vertically, as if standing on its head: what had been seen of language and of time at the end of the narrative, as if through binoculars, had started from the initial sentence by the necessity of returning to it.
The basic gemetry of this "revelation" reverses the triangle of time. By a complete revolution, the near becomes distant, as if only in the outer windings of the labyrinth Roussel can play the guide. —their greatest simplicity. At the moment of his death, in a gesture both cautious and illuminating, Roussel holds up to his work a mirror possessed of a bizarre magic: it pushes the central figure into the background where the lines are blurred, placing the point of revelation at the farthest distance, while bringing forward, as if for extreme myopia, whatever is farthest from the moment of its utterance.