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Biography 26.4 (2003) 780-834
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Contributing editors Nell Altizer, Patricia Angley, Judith Coullie, Michael Fassiotto, Rebecca Friedman, Marie-Christine Garneau, Théo Garneau, Corey Hollis, Noel Kent, Gabriel Merle, Dawn Morais, Barbara Bennett Peterson, and George Simson provided the excerpts for this issue.
Publications reviewed include Albion, Far Eastern Economic Review, French Review, French Studies, Journal of World History, Los Angeles Times Book Review (LATBR), Le Monde des Livres, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), Pacific Historical Review, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Russian Review, Studi Francesi, Times Literary Supplement (TLS), Washington Post National Weekly Edition (WP), and the Women's Review of Books; and from South Africa, Arena, Cape Argus, Cape Times, Fairlady, The Herald, H-Net Book Review, Mail & Guardian, The Mercury, The Natal Witness. Saturday Dispatch. The South African Journal of Cultural History, The Sunday Independent, Sunday Times, and Wordstock.
Aleramo, Sibilla, and Dino Campana
Ce voyage, nous l'appelions amour. Lettres 1916-1918 [Un viaggio chiamato amore, lettere, 1916-1918]. Sibilla Aleramo and Dino Campana. Edited and prefaced by Bruna Conti. Translated from Italian by Jeanne-Hortense Alzinson, Paris: Anatolia/Ed. Du Rocher, 2003. 250 pp. EUR20.
A passionate correspondence with the mad poet Dino Campana (1885-1932), together with intimate notebooks, reveal the personality of Sibilla Aleramo (1876-1960), who was the reference point of Italian feminism, and who thought that her masterpiece was her own life.
Aragon, LouisRené de Ceccatty. Le Monde des Livres, July 18, 2003: 1.
Etudes sur Louis Aragon. Wolfgang Babilas. Muenster: Nodus Publikationen, 2002. 2 vols. 980 pp. EUR128.
"For the last forty years, Wolfgang Babilas has been one of the world's most dogged and prolific Aragon scholars. He is also the founding editor of 'Louis Aragon Online', an invaluable source of information. These two volumes bring together, in French, his numerous conference papers, articles and prefaces. The contents display an extraordinary effort to appreciate the multiple and contradictory facets of Louis Aragon, an author who consciously attempted to emulate Victor Hugo in virtuosity and bombast. There are illuminating chapters on Aragon as theorist of Surrealism, but also on the later, [End Page 780] difficult novels of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a fine discussion of Aragon's writing of the self in Le Roman inachevé. The socialist realist novels do not attract much attention, while Babilas devotes many pages to the meticulous dissection of the Resistance poems: the analyses of Le Crève-cœur alone justify purchase. . . . In his useful introductory essay on Aragon, Babilas rightly emphasizes his object's contradictory, plural, scandalous and passionate character, which finds expression notably in the almost embarrassing cult of Elsa. But Babilas, like almost all Aragon scholars, does not explore the possible correspondences between this passion for woman [sic] and an attraction to violent totalitarian politics (passions shared by Paul Eluard, Pablo Neruda and Nazim Hikmer, among others). Study of the plurality of Aragon could also involve addressing the author's bisexuality. This work, like any other, is inevitably limited: it marks a particular period of Aragon studies (a fact shown by gaps in the bibliography) and is a fitting summa of the work of Babilas."
Archer, JeffreyGavin Bowd. French Studies 57.2 (Apr. 2003): 261-62.
A Prison Diary. Jeffrey Archer. New York: St. Martin's, 2003. 259 pp. $24.95.
"Jeffrey Archer's habit of telling tall stories is both a blessing and a curse. It brought him wealth and fame as a novelist. It also landed him in jail from which he was released in July after serving two years of a four-year sentence for perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The charges arose from a 1987 libel action in which he won 500,000 pounds from a British tabloid that had accused him trying to buy the silence of a London prostitute while he was deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. . . . Since even the loyal Lady Archer has admitted that her husband has 'a gift for inaccurate précis,' any work of nonfiction from his pen must be greeted...