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Novels in Three Lines (New York Review Books Classics)

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Novels in Three Lines (New York Review Books Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9781590172308
ISBN10: 1590172302
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS ORIGINAL

Novels in Three Lines collects more than a thousand items that appeared anonymously in the French newspaper Le Matin in 1906—true stories of murder, mayhem, and everyday life presented with a ruthless economy that provokes laughter even as it shocks. This extraordinary trove, undiscovered until the 1940s and here translated for the first time into English, is the work of the mysterious Félix Fénéon. Dandy, anarchist, and critic of genius, the discoverer of Georges Seurat and the first French publisher of James Joyce, Fénéon carefully maintained his own anonymity, toiling for years as an obscure clerk in the French War Department. Novels in Three Lines is his secret chef-doeuvre, a work of strange and singular art that brings back the long-ago year of 1906 with the haunting immediacy of a photograph while looking forward to such disparate works as Walter Benjamins Arcades Project and the Death and Disaster series of Andy Warhol.

Review:

"'Prolific writer and cultural critic Sante (Low Life) has translated half a year's worth of concise news blurbs written in 1906 for a Paris newspaper by Fnon, writer, anarchist and promoter of artists like Seurat and Bonnard. These 'nouvelles' (literally 'novellas' or 'news') attest to the ongoing despair of the human condition, giving readers a relentless compendium of murder, suicide, accidental death (beware of train tracks), infanticide, beatings, stabbings, depression and, in a particularly French twist, endless mention of strikes and scabs. According to Sante, Fnon took an established form and made it his own through the precision and style of his writing; yet it's hard to define that style, because it seems so variable, often straightforward, at times cheekily irreverent, sometimes syntactically impossible to understand, although it's hard to know how much of that is the translation and how much the writer's native prose. That the news is still filled with stories like those related here attests to the constancy of human nature, in both private and public undertakings, as when Fnon notes: 'The fever, of military origin, that is raging in Rouillac, Charente, is getting worse and spreading. Preventative measures have been taken.' Illus.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Félix Fénéon (1861-1944) was a French anarchist, editor, and art critic in Paris during the late 1800's. Born in Turin, he moved to Paris at the age of 20 to work for the Ministry of Defense. He attended the Impressionist exhibition in 1886, later coining the term "Neo-Impressionism" to define the movement led by Georges Seurat. He was the first french publisher to publish James Joyce. In 1892, the French police searched his apartment, claiming him to be an active anarchist. That summer, along with other intellectuals and artists, Fénéon was placed on trial, a case which is now know as The Trial of the Thirty. Although the charges were dismissed, he was discharged from the Ministry of Defense. Famously painted by Paul Signac, the painting now hangs in New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Luc Sante teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College. His books include Low Life, Evidence, and The Factory of Facts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Glenda, January 14, 2008 (view all comments by Glenda)
Although not quite "novels", the short three-line stories in Novels in Three Lines somehow tell more than one would expect from a mere handful of words.

Theft, illness, murder, suicide, accidents and children running away from home were the stuff of which Feneon made his stories. Even when simply laying out the facts, he succeeds in invoking a mood and feeling for the events.

Some examples:

"A dishwasher from Nancy, Vital Frerotte, who had just come back from Lourdes cured forever of tuberculosis, died Sunday by mistake."

"Just married, the Boulches of Lambezellec, Finistere, were already so drunk it was necessary to lock them up within the hour."

"Sailor Renaud carried out a suicide pact with this mistress, in Toulon. Their last request: a coffin for two, or at least a double grave."

With more than a thousand stories contained in this book, you can be sure of being rewarded by opening a page at random and dipping into the tales within.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781590172308
Author:
Feneon, Felix
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Translator:
Sante, Luc
Introduction by:
Sante, Luc
Introduction:
Sante, Luc
Author:
Various
Author:
Sante, Luc
Subject:
General
Subject:
Crime
Subject:
French newspapers.
Subject:
France
Subject:
Crime -- France.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General True Crime
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
New York Review Books Classics
Publication Date:
20070831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
PHOTOGRAPHS
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8 x 4.95 x 0.55 in 0.6 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Novels in Three Lines (New York Review Books Classics) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 208 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590172308 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Prolific writer and cultural critic Sante (Low Life) has translated half a year's worth of concise news blurbs written in 1906 for a Paris newspaper by Fnon, writer, anarchist and promoter of artists like Seurat and Bonnard. These 'nouvelles' (literally 'novellas' or 'news') attest to the ongoing despair of the human condition, giving readers a relentless compendium of murder, suicide, accidental death (beware of train tracks), infanticide, beatings, stabbings, depression and, in a particularly French twist, endless mention of strikes and scabs. According to Sante, Fnon took an established form and made it his own through the precision and style of his writing; yet it's hard to define that style, because it seems so variable, often straightforward, at times cheekily irreverent, sometimes syntactically impossible to understand, although it's hard to know how much of that is the translation and how much the writer's native prose. That the news is still filled with stories like those related here attests to the constancy of human nature, in both private and public undertakings, as when Fnon notes: 'The fever, of military origin, that is raging in Rouillac, Charente, is getting worse and spreading. Preventative measures have been taken.' Illus.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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