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A Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  45 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Pierre Mac Orlan's 1920 "Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer" was at once a paean to the adventure story, a tongue-in-cheek guidebook to the genre's real-life practitioners and a grim if unspoken coda to the disasters of World War I. "It must be established as a law that adventure in itself does not exist," Mac Orlan stipulates. "Adventure is in the mind of the one who pur ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published October 31st 2013 by Wakefield Press (first published 1920)
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Aug 19, 2013 Tosh rated it it was amazing
A little superb book by the great French 'unknown' writer Pierre Mac Orlan. "Unknown' to English reading citizens because this may be the only book of his that is translated into English. Mac Orlan is the ultimate figure in French literature that captures the lifestyle of a romantic writer who lived a great adventuresome life. Or that is what one is lead to believe. Nevertheless he was commissioned by the great Blaise Cendrars in 1920 to write a handbook for writers who want to either have adven ...more
David Brock
Dec 30, 2013 David Brock rated it it was amazing
Interesting. Primarily, albeit not exclusively, since it somehow manages to read like three books simultaneously: a reader's and/or writer's company to adventure novels by which, I mean, in the Robert Louis Stevenson sense of the word; an authentic, if not earnest, field guide; and, lastly, a tongue-in-check lampoon of the preceding, two books. Regardless of intent, however, I found "A Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer" to be fascinating and I'm curious to read more from Pierre Mac Orlan who, ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
Originally published here.

The existence of this book is, quite frankly, bizarre.

The preface introduces Pierre Mac Orlan — an influential but neglected French writer of the early twentieth century. A writer of absurdist tales and adventure novels, personal essays and accordion songs. Under pseudonym, an abundance of flagellation novels. Some of these novels were made into films including the semi-famous Port of Shadows. Yet almost none of his work was translated into English and that which was is
I really appreciated this short handbook on "The Perfect Adventurer," although I walked away convinced that there is not actually a perfect adventurer. You can see my thoughts on my blog.
Apr 04, 2014 Alastair rated it it was amazing
Delightful little book; people on the bus were staring at me because I kept laughing.In the best traditions of freeform French inquiry. Read alongside Eco on popular literature.
Jan 02, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: street-academia
Great little book on literary adventurism and the art of cultivating the imagination necessary to write.
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