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THE PERPETUAL ORGY by Helen Lane

THE PERPETUAL ORGY

By Helen Lane (Translator) , Mario Vargas Llosa (Author)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1986
ISBN: 0374520623
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A vivacious and wonderfully immoderate study of the great novel and its creator by the Peruvian novelist. Vargas Llosa is the author of Conversation in the Cathedral among others. This is the first work of his non-fiction translated from the Spanish. The book is divided into three parts, each representing a different mode of criticism. The first is subjective, a "classic" approach of sorts, but so boldly idiosyncratic it bears little resemblance to its forebears. The second is an objective exegesis of the text's method, grammatical style, temporal structure, narrative perspective, etc. The third is a historical analysis, assessing the impact of Flaubert's innovations in the context of literature before and after. The first section is an ideal introduction, forthwith airing all of his predilections. He admits, for example, to an unironic appreciation for melodrama of the most vulgar and stupid sort, and opines that a realistic work demands these touches of bad taste. In the second part, without minimizing the standard observations--of Flaubert's materialism, obsession with dualities, narrative objectivity--he offers fresh insight. He ranges far from the text--to discuss the Nouveau Roman, Sartre, the cinema--but his digressions are always pointed. One of the book's salient virtues is the numerous sparkling quotes culled from Flaubert's voluminous correspondence. Even when Vargas Llosa is purportedly applying science to the text, he is playfully subverting all claims to objectivity, and it is his "impressionism" that is this book's great strength. A lively study of the writer's craft.