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The Shape of a City

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4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  36 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Julien Gracq, the most important writer in France, is also the only living writer whose complete works appear in a volume of the prestigious Pleiades editions. The most original of his later works is this book about Nantes, which is Gracq’s personal and profound response to Proust’s synthesis of memory, reverie, and realism.

The work begins with a quote from Baudelaire: “Th
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Paperback, 216 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Turtle Point Press (first published 1985)
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Lee
Jun 22, 2013 Lee rated it really liked it
Slyly impersonal post-Proustian impressions of city and self across most of a century (Gracq was born in 1910 and he wrote this in the mid-'80s, or so I realized after mention of a long-popular cafe where the kids these days all have "big hair"). The way around Nantes. Name drops all your favorite French writers: Rimbaud, Breton, Stendhal, de Maupassant, Balzac, Lautreamont, and Nantes' own, Jules Verne. Effluvial prose, rich in sediment flowed down river of memories vis-a-vis agglomerations of ...more
Raymond Abrenica
Jul 02, 2012 Raymond Abrenica rated it really liked it
the flaneur's map to seeing poetry, in every shape of the city
Jennifer Uhlich
Oct 16, 2009 Jennifer Uhlich rated it liked it
Lovely ideas about cities and memories suffering from an unwieldy translation. This should have been a pleasant weekend read, like a travel memoir, but instead it was pacing through sentences two, three times to be sure you understood. A whole lotta thick dead prose over what are probably light and lovely sentences in the original French. You gotta love a translator who translates an author, then declares them "untranslatable." If I ever bone up on my French again, I'll try Gracq in the original ...more
Nick Short
Aug 27, 2016 Nick Short rated it liked it
The author's meditation on the changing nature of a city.
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Julien Gracq (27 July 1910 – 22 December 2007), born Louis Poirier in St.-Florent-le-Vieil, in the French "département" of Maine-et-Loire, was a French writer. He wrote novels, critiques, a play, and poetry. His literary works were noted for their Surrealism.

Gracq first studied in Paris at the Lycée Henri IV, where he earned his baccalauréat. He then entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1930, l
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