Cover

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Title

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

Adalbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl (1813) tells a Faustian tale about what happens to a man who sells his shadow. Of humble means and origins, Schlemihl goes looking for work in a foreign country. A letter of introduction gains him entry into an elegant garden party, but the behavior of the guests shows that an outsider is worth little or nothing in...

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-21

Roman Kacew was born May 8, 1914, probably in Moscow but possibly in Kursk, in the shadows of the Russian Revolution. His mother, Nina Owczinski, was a RussianJew from Kursk, in western Russia, just north of the Ukrainian border. She had broken ties with her family to become a stage actress working in a Muscovite troupe that performed French theater...

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Chapter 1. The Invention of Romain Gary, 1935–1952

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pp. 22-40

Little is known of Kacew's activities in 1936-37, though one can probably discount his claims of having fought in the Spanish Civil War, completed a Slavic languages degree in Warsaw, or traveled in Ethiopia. In 1938, he enlisted in the French Air Force but the following year suffered the affront of being the only one in his officers' training class to be refused promotion (putatively because of his recent citizenship). Despite this snub, Kacew's service to France turned out to be exemplary. At the armistice...

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Chapter 2. The Consecration of Romain Gary, 1952–1961

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pp. 41-68

When Gary's superior in Switzerland (Hoppenot) was once again named French ambassador to the United States, Gary followed him in 1952 to become embassy secretary for the French delegation at the United Nations in New York City. Gary's role was soon expanded in recognition of his excellent handling of the media, and he found himself saddled with the delicate task of being spokesperson for France...

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Chapter 3. Strategies of Mobile Identity, 1961–1973

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pp. 69-94

In the United States for most of the late fifties, Gary missed the greater part of the buildup to the Algerian Revolution. He would publish an article in Life that was largely sympathetic to the Colonels' rebellion ("The Anger That Turned Generals into Desperados"), a choice that would annoy Gaullists and Leftists alike. After de Gaulle opened the door to Algerian independence, however, the partisans for French...

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Chapter 4. The Invention of Émile Ajar, 1974–1975

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pp. 95-117

Looking to pursue his aesthetic vision on a more ambitious scale, Gary began plotting a new pseudonymous episode. It is clear from biographical and textual evidence that a project was already under way in 1972. A longtime friend of Gary's, Sacha Kardo-Sessoeff, recalls that Gary proposed a collaboration in which Kardo-Sessoeff would sign his name to detective novels...

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Chapter 5. The Consecration of Émile Ajar, 1975–1980

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pp. 118-143

Gary's personal life was marked by several significant losses. After de Gaulle's death in 1970, it was Malraux's turn in 1976. Meanwhile, Seberg, never having fully recovered from the loss of her infant daughter, slid deeper into her suffiring and depression. Gary and Seberg spent part ofthe summer of 1978 together at the Connecticut home of William Styron, but Gary was struggling with depression and...

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Conclusion

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pp. 144-170

On the day of his death, Gary mailed legal arrangements dating from August 1980 to Robert Gallimard, with whom Gary had just shared lunch. In his apartment, Gary left letters where his companion, Leila Chellabi, would find them: some were addressed to those closest to him, and one was a communique for the press. As for Pavlowitch, he was bound by prior...

Notes

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pp. 171-188

Bibliography

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pp. 189-204

Index

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pp. 205-212

Acknowledgments

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pp. 213-214