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The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert

4.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  86 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The elusive French luminary Joseph Joubert is a great explorer of the mind's open spaces. Edited and translated by Paul Auster, this selection from Joubert's notebooks introduces a master of the enigmatic who seeks "to call everything by its true name" while asking us to "remember everything is double." "Joubert speaks in whispers," Auster writes. "One must draw very close ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published June 30th 2005 by NYRB Classics (first published October 1983)
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Jeff Jackson
Jan 07, 2015 Jeff Jackson rated it it was amazing
Maurice Blanchot sums up this remarkable collection better than I ever could: “Joubert had his gift. He never wrote a book. He only prepared to write one, resolutely seeking the exact conditions that would allow him to write it. Then he forgot even this plan. More precisely, what he was seeking—this source of writing, this space in which to write, this light to circumscribe in space—demanded of him, affirmed in him inclinations that made him unfit for all ordinary literary work, or made him turn ...more
Nov 23, 2007 jeremy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: translation
"truth. to surround it with figures and colors, so that it can be seen."

this is exquisite and enchanting. a single page from these notebooks is more thought-provoking than the entirety of most novels being published today.
Jan 13, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it
For years I have been encountering aphorisms and comments by Joubert in books of quotations. Then I discovered this slim volume, which represents the full range of his published work, in Penn Books (one of the great book-shopping treasures of NYC, a small bookstore in Penn Station, in the LIRR concourse, that has a surprisingly robust selection of books, all the usual disposable commute and travel bestsellers but wonders like this.) “Are you listening to the ones who keep quiet?” ‘The heart must ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing
Read this in less than six hours and it was amazing. I felt like I was reading a book of wisdoms by a prophet or a founder of a religion, but it's even better because it isn't! And how tragic is it to think that Joubert never got to writing his great novel. His notebooks give a taste of what the world could have gained from his writing, and it's a bitter feeling knowing I'll never read what he had intended to write.

Joubert's notebooks are full of love, illusion, and wisdom. A must read for anyon
Apr 13, 2015 Will rated it really liked it
“Those for whom the world is not enough: saints, conquerors, poets, and all lovers of books” (126), or maybe some combination of the above, but let’s just assume it’s the last that’s brought us here. The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert is a selection of entries from Joseph Joubert’s journals, only published after his death. The translator, Paul Auster, sums up Joubert’s plight in a single sentence: “He was something far more oblique and challenging, a writer who spent his whole life preparing himsel ...more
Vincent Scarpa
Feb 26, 2015 Vincent Scarpa rated it really liked it
Even if half of Joubert's axiomatic ricocheting comes up short or even falls flat, those moments where he fixes beauty and knowledge together are wonderful, and they are unforgettable. Plus, it's important, I think, in a book of aphoristic nature, to be infuriated at least once every few pages; to be consistently disagreeing with the writer, troubling the writer's constructions. That's the point. [Except for the "where there is no God, nothing is sacred" stuff, which was a yawn, but, y'know, pro ...more
Sep 25, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
"To survive one's passion and not one's strengths. Happy."

I mean, it's epigrams, so some are better than others, but I really took to many of them. I'd be interested in reading a biography of the author, and may revisit Chateaubriand. Because these notebooks would be worth revisiting, I think I may break down and buy them (it?).
Feb 16, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it
I love the big book of French literature translated by Auster back in the early 80s or so, and this was previously included in another book with three translations by as many authors. Now on its own in this NYRB edition, these aphorisms and "deep thoughts" have a fascinating back story and can be read really fast. Perfect.
Oct 14, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, maxims
"We must treat our lives as we treat our writings, put them in accord, give harmony to the middle, the end, and the beginning. In order to do this, we must make many erasures." -- 1798

charming. some banalities but a short and good read.
Jordan Adams
More reason to write down each day the thoughts great and little that pass through (but often over) our little heads.
Matt Walker
May 04, 2009 Matt Walker marked it as to-read
I might just break down and buy this one full price.
ian mar
Aug 09, 2013 ian mar rated it really liked it
like a 19th century celebrity twitter feed
Nov 09, 2007 Matt rated it really liked it
Why such a scant selection? Otherwise great.
Jun 05, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing
For any aspiring aphorist
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NYRB Classics: The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert 1 3 Oct 29, 2013 11:04AM  
  • The Waste Books
  • Pages from the Goncourt Journals
  • War and the Iliad
  • Nature Stories
  • Novels in Three Lines
  • When the World Spoke French
  • Prisoner of Love
  • Miserable Miracle
  • The World as I Found It
  • Pedigree
  • Adventures of Sindbad
  • Alien Hearts
  • The Other House
  • Mouchette
  • The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse
  • The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society
  • Conquered City
  • Dante: Poet of the Secular World
Joseph Joubert was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées published posthumously.

From the age of 14 Joubert attended a religious college in Toulouse, where he later taught until 1776. In 1778 he went to Paris where he met D'Alembert and Diderot, amongst others, and later became friends with young writer and diplomat Chateaubriand.

He alternated between living in Pa
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