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Mobile (French Literature)by Michel Butor
Synopses & Reviews
Considered by many to be his greatest book, Michael Butor's Mobile is the result of the six months the author spent traveling across America. The text is composed from a wide range of materials, including city names, road signs, advertising slogans, catalog listings, newspaper accounts of the 1893 World's Fair, Native American writings, and the history of the Freedomland theme park.
Butor weaves bits and pieces from these diverse sources into a collage resembling an abstract painting (the book is dedicated to Jackson Pollock) or a patchwork quilt that by turns is both humorous and quite disturbing. This travelogue captures--in both a textual and visual way--the energy and contradictions of American life and history.
A gifted disciple of French anti-novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet, Butor is notable because he uses a different technique with every book and turns out intense and interesting fiction just the same.With a lexicographer's zest for words, Butor . . . captures the tone of American clichs, suggests an almost dizzying sense of space and variety, and brings into ironic juxtaposition elements of primitiveness and sophistication that are part of the American myth.
"Mobile is not only a memorable experience, accomplishing that rich task of all true art--providing the reader with new eyes--but it is also work which fellow writers and artists can profit from because it supplies the best of all ingredients: stimulation."--New York Herald Tribune
About the Author
Michel Butor was born in Mons-en-Baroeul, a suburb of Lille, France, in 1926. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, graduating in 1947. He left Paris to teach in Egypt and has been traveling in the world since. From Manchester to Switzerland, via China, the United States and many other countries, his travels, both professional and exploratory are linked all through a vast body of works that explores various genres. From 1964 Butor has published an ongoing "journal in time" called Illustrations. Among his literary Awards are the Fénéon Prize (1956), the Renaudot Prize (1957), and the Grand Prize for Literary Criticism (1960).John D'Agata is the author of About a Mountain, Halls of Fame and editor of The Next American Essay and The Lost Origins of the Essay. He teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he lives.Richard Howard is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Untitled Subjects, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970. He is the translator for more than 150 works from the French language. He received the American Book Award for his translation of Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal.
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