'Inquietude' in the Work of Pierre Mac Orlan

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Rodopi, 2000 - 315 pages
This is the first major study in English of the work of the French novelist, essayist, journalist, poet and 'chansonnier' Pierre Mac Orlan (1882-1970). It assesses Mac Orlan's contribution to the post-1918 phenomenon of intellectual disillusionment and disorientation which was termed the 'nouveau mal du siècle', or 'inquiétude'. Although he has largely been ignored by critics thus far, Mac Orlan was part of mainstream French literary production and a major exponent of 'inquiétude'. Where he differs from his contemporaries is in his subject matter, in his use of sociological, rather than abstract, intellectual material. His expression of 'inquiétude' encompasses: 'le fantastique social'; adventure; marginality; 'le cafard'; and sadistic sexuality. His originality lies in his invention of 'le fantastique social', in his constant use of certain techniques, as well as the subject matter, of German Expressionism via the depiction of the disturbing landscape of the modern city, post-1918 inflation and decadence, prostitutes and criminals, doomed adventurers, the mystery of modern technology, and in the expression of a morbid interest in sexual violence. This volume will be of particular interest to students of inter-war French literature and thought.
 

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Page 20 - L'homme qui veut aimer veut s'échapper et cela est peu ; mais l'homme ou la femme qui veulent être aimés, qui veulent faire perdre à un autre être, en leur faveur, sa soumission à cet accord me paraissent obéir à une nécessité si puissante que j'y trouve cette conviction : au centre de l'homme européen, dominant les grands mouvements de sa vie, est une absurdité essentielle.
Page 14 - Mais un esprit où cette destruction de Dieu est accomplie, où le problème divin n'est plus débattu, par quoi comblerat-il le vide laissé en lui et que maintient béant la puissance des siècles et des instincts ? L'absence de Dieu est le nonsens de toute morale.
Page 11 - clean, straight, clear and fine as an upland wind and summer sun"; of the Scandinavian note—"one got a sense in those countries of the most advanced civilization, yet without sophistication, a luminous modern intelligence that selected and controlled and did not allow itself to be overwhelmed by the chaos of twentieth century possibility...

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