Essays & Stories by Various Hands,
including Andrew Thompson, Robert De Montesquiou, Philippe Soupault, Pierre Janet, Roger Vitrac, Salvador Dali, André Breton, Michel Butor, Jean Ferry, Michel Leiris, John Ashbery, Raymond Roussel, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jean Ricardou, and Leonardo Sciascia.
RAYMOND ROUSSEL (1877-1933) was perhaps the most extraordinary writer of this century. His bizarre works (and eccentric lifestyle) have attracted enthusiastic critical responces from many of his most illustrious contemporaries, and he has been claimed as a precursor byauthors associated with the Surrealists, ’Pataphysicians, Tel Quel, Semioticians, “Post-Structuralists” and the Oulipo.
The essays and texts in this collection constitute a virtual history of Roussel crticism and exegesis, and they are printed here in chronological order, so far as that is possible. Most are translated for the first time. However, several are not - this and the differing interpretations of translators means that certain passages recur throughout the book in different versions. We have not attempted to harmonise them. The bibliography at the end includes the contents of the present volume and provides full details of first publication, etc.
An imagination which joins the mathematicians’ delirium to the poets’ logic - that, among other marvels, is what one discovers in the novels of Raymond Roussel. - Raymond Queneau
A formidable poetic apparatus. - Marcel Proust
Things, words, vision and death, the sun and language make a unique form...Roussel in some way has defined its geometry. - Michel Foucault
The Marcel Proust of dreams. - Roger Vitrac
An experience unique in literature. - John Ashbery
Raymond Roussel belongs to the most important French literature of the beginning of the century. - Alain Robbe-Grillet
Creator of authentic myths. - Michel Leiris
Genius in its pure state. - Jean Cocteau
A great poet. - Marcel Duchamp
The President of the Republic of Dreams. - Louis Aragon
Fascinating, marvellous...a continual enigma. - Michel Butor
The greatest mesmerist of modern times. - André Breton
My fame will outshine that of Victor Hugo or Napoleon. - Raymond Roussel