AURELIEN by Louis Aragon


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The now famous poet of the French Resistance movement of the late war has chosen as setting for his latest novel, Paris and the decadent artistic groups; as subject, passion and perfidy between the wars. Despite a tendency to be diffuse and repetitive, Aragon has never before so arrestingly depicted the strange fascination and repulsion of Paris, as in this story of the young Aurelien, just back from the trenches, ripe for his consuming love affair with Berenice. Aragon weaves the web of a passionate, frustrated romance into a woof of sordid business intrigues, and runs through both a shimmering satirical thread of comment on the aesthetic and cultural life of the city. The result is a fabric more fascinating than his story. There are full moments of mental probing, but many more of skilful insight. The novel, originally published in 1944, is overlong, highly sophisticated (in terms not particularly apposite to American taste), and in final analysis, superficial and trivial. But that market which boasts of being at home in the circle of Picasso, Bakst and Poiret, which enjoys the highly sophisticated aura of Parisian promiscuities, infidelities and physical expression, and which thinks itself modern in its psychology and realism, will like this better than will the average member of the reading public. Aragon is important in the French literary scene. This is his best novel to date, and the one most likely to achieve critical recognition here.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1947
Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pearce