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Book Reviews spaces within these texts, operate a radical disintegration of identity. The indeterminacy of space shatters the unifying notion of place in these works, and with it, the myth of the subject. The second part, "Lisières," draws on Kafka (The Hunter Gracchus), various narratives of Orpheus, and the work of Louis-René des Forêts, to extend the metaphor of space. Lisière (in textiles , a selvage or border), with its connotations of edge or periphery, but also of fraying or undoing of patterns and textures, is an apt metaphor for what Ropars does here: writing as a double movement of creating and undoing, both of space and of identity. The récit in these narratives is an eternal return to a story told and told again, to the point of fragmentation and deterioration. The third part, "Labyrinthes," engages the spatial experience with movement, in particular with a loss of center, the perceptual experience of disorientation. Mallarmé, Borges, contemporary music (François Nicolas), and the painter Giacometti offer figures that experience spaces of disintegration. Not only the figures but the space around them become a diaphanous volume "au sein duquel la distance croît-absolue distance, dit Sartre-en figurant le vide où elle agit" (148). The radical transparency of being and of beings is a story told repeatedly in these works. To write space, for Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier, is constantly to evoke and invoke the disrupting force of the outside. A work of characteristic depth and difficulty, Marie-Claire Ropars Wuilleumier's latest contribution to analysis of space and place will be well worth the reader's effort. Kristine Butler Karlson University of Wisconsin, River Falls Daniel Desormeaux. La Figure du bibliomane: histoire du livre et stratégie littéraire au XIX" siècle. Saint-Genouph, France: Nizet, 2001. Pp. 256. 22.87 €. The pejorative term "bibliomaniac" places the motives of the book owner under suspicion, at least until the nineteenth century, when the bibliomaniac becomes an almost respectable character in the newly institutionalized and sacralized literary field. Desormeaux elegantly recounts this simple story in his pleasantly readable book. Not to be confused with the bibliophile, who loves books for the culturally legitimated aims of knowledge production or literary appreciation, the bibliomaniac covets books as rare objects whose physical attributes eclipse their intellectual content. Tracing his (rarely her) surprisingly frequent appearance throughout French literary history , Desormeaux shows the bibliomaniac to be a vibrant figure from the middle ages until the late nineteenth century, at which time the bibliomaniac and bibliophile become one, just before disappearing almost entirely. Focusing on the representation of the book collector rather than on the actual practice of book collecting, Desormeaux begins with an historical overview, proceeding from medieval monastic libraries to royal and aristocratic book collections to the post-revolutionary explosion of book selling and publishing. He concludes this brief genealogy by arguing that during the nineteenth century the bibliomaniac moves from the social margins to attain an almost mythical status, thanks to such factors as the aestheticization of the beautifully bound luxury edition book, the valorization of writing itself, and the sacralization of the manuscript. This survey of the representation of the book collector is drawn from a rich array of sources, ranging from poetry to fiction to D'Alembert's encyclopedia to Revolutionary legislative documents. In the second half of his book, Desormeaux transforms bibliomania into a métonymie concept with which to analyze the place of books in the texts and lives of five nineteenth-century authors. He begins with Flaubert, whom he casts as a new breed of bibliomaniac, one who need not even collect books. Instead, Flaubert's book mania manifests itself in his gluttony for reading source material, his obsession with style, and his fetishization of his own writing. Other writers are shown to exhibit different manifestations of "bibliomania" in a métonymie sense. Stendhal, Vol. XLIII, No. 2 109 L'Esprit Créateur for example, does collect Italian manuscripts, but, again unlike the traditional bibliomaniac, writes in the margins of books, and creates fictitious characters who do the same. Nerval writes books about unique copies of unobtainable books. Barbey d'Aurevilly dandifies book collecting...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 109-110
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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