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Paris Peasant

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  374 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Paris Peasant" (1926) is one of the central works of Surrealism, yet Exact Change's edition is the first U.S. publication of Simon Watson Taylor's authoritative translation, completed after consultations with the author. Unconventional in form--Aragon consciously avoided recognizable narration or character development--"Paris Peasant" is, in the author's words, "a mytholog ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published September 30th 2011 by Exact Change (first published 1926)
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Les Misérables by Victor HugoA Moveable Feast by Ernest HemingwayMy Life in France by Julia ChildA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Books About Paris
173rd out of 451 books — 425 voters
Maldoror and the Complete Works by Comte de LautréamontNadja by André BretonUbu Roi by Alfred JarryThe Hearing Trumpet by Leonora CarringtonZenobia by Gellu Naum
Best Surrealist or Dadaist Books
12th out of 41 books — 44 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,379)
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Surrealism’s pretty childish when you think about it. It’s as if, around 1924, a bunch of snotty French hipsters took a look at their society and said: ‘Oh yeah? Well, we’re going to do the opposite of everything you do, cuz yer stupid.’ So they tossed out the civilized values of reason, hard work and common sense, and set up their own private Bizarro world, a topsy-turvy kingdom ruled by dreams, play and imagination. It was a willed immaturity, a conscious regression to the infantile state, and ...more
Nate D
A paean to the chance discoveries and revealings of error, a treatise on the peculiar magic and mystery of place, a vast theoretical framework for experiencing the world.

Aragon, despite his many novels and essay, was foremost a poet, I think, and this shows in his rich and unexpected use of language. Also in the tendency of his words to sometimes lift off, unmoored from the actual narrative context that inspired them. Not that this is really a narrative in its basic sense: Aragon's odd travelogu
Louis Aragon was one of the main guys behind Surrealism, till he came up against his one time friend Andre Breton, who threw him out of the group. Aragon became a hardcore Communist for the rest of his life. Meanwhile during his Surrealist years he wrote "Paris Peasant" which is a beautiful book about mad love among the 'ruins' of Paris. Not as good as Breton's Nadja, but nevertheless a must for those who collect and read French Surrealist literature.
I usually find Surrealist writers, at least in translation, to be dreadfully boring & wooden & forced. The best "Surrealist" writing is by people who were either never Surrealists or were only peripherally associated w/ Surrrealism - like Raymond Roussel & Raymond Queneau. Of course, you have to be named Raymond to be a good Surrealist writer - except for Antonin Artaud.. However, I liked this Louis Aragon bk. On the other hand, contrary to what the back-cover blurb says, I wdn't cal ...more
I expected this to be much more difficult than it was. Often funny and light with stabs of darkness and brutality, Louis Aragon manages to be charming and intelligent even during the few eye-rolling moments. Almost cuttingly intelligent on the human "feeling for nature" and his inclination to religion via desire/need for order.
Start at the last chapter, then move to the first. Camouflaged as an inch-by-inch inventory of certain favorite areas of Paris, Aragon has created a manifesto on the purpose of literature: As a means of personal and phenomenological exploration.
As a placemarker for a review of this book, I invite you to enjoy this piece of modern minimalism:

and an even better cut off the same record:
The back of this novel has Aragon stating: "I was seeking...a new kind of novel that would break all the traditional rules governing the writing of fiction, one that would be neither a narrative (a story) nor a character study (a portrait), a novel that the critics would be obliged to approach empty-handed."

In terms of achieving this objective, Aragon has succeeded. However his creation, because of its eschewing of plot and character, is - perhaps unsurprisingly - quite a difficult read. Our hea
A wonderful surrealist romp through Paris with much time spent in the unusual Parc des Buttes Chaumont near Pere-Lachaise in the 19th Arrondissement.
Sarah Léa
May 22, 2007 Sarah Léa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Leah

(and sooo Paris)
Ivan Labayne
charming, parang halo-halo on an entire summer itong verbal exercises ni aragon dito:

"since the days ot he cavemen, no ground,not a single fold, has been gained against mystery."

"the idea of God, at least the introduction of this idea into dialectics, is nothing more than a sign of mental laziness."

"there is no other knowledge than that of the particular. There is no poetry other than the concrete."

Aragon would describe heads cut off and then falling onto valleys and the reaching the fields, and
Darran Mclaughlin
Not as good as I hoped it would be. I spent much of the book fairly bored by its strained lyricism, with occasional flashes of enjoyment engendered by a particularly witty phrase or striking image. This is the book credited with inventing 'psychogeography', which means we have much to blame Aragon for. However, for all the literary sins of 'psychogeography', Lights Out For The Territory by Iain Sinclair, current magus of this subgenre, is a much more interesting book than this.
A surreal, first-person romp through the streets of 1920s Paris full of linguistic and metaphysical delights and fancies. I tried to read this three times before I succeeded, but it was well worth it and there are passages I will return to again and again. Readers will either find the style maddening or wonderful depending on how willingly they submit to the "vertigo of the modern".
Robert Wood
Has some interesting moments describing the parts of Paris to be demolished. Would be surprised if this influenced Benjamin.
aragon has made a few moves in his life. one of them was being a surrealist. but surrealists didn't suppose to write books so out he was, again.
beautifull arrogant youthfull book that takes you to paris of the interbellum. so aragon reinvented himself a few times. the art of living.
J'aime le surréalisme mais j'avoue que j'ai eu du mal à suivre cette oeuvre-là. Cependant quel voyage dans Paris et surtout de manière surréaliste!
vraiment fascinant de voir ce que paris était avant hausmann et pour les surrealistes!
what did i think? it's fucking Paris Peasant, for chrissakes. does it matter?
Richard Armstrong
Very promising!
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Boring 2 16 Apr 25, 2013 11:17AM  
  • Last Nights of Paris
  • Capital of Pain
  • Communicating Vessels
  • The Book of Monelle
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  • Approximate Man and Other Writings
  • The Seventh Horse And Other Tales
  • Aurélia and Other Writings
  • Locus Solus
  • Heliogabalus; or, the Crowned Anarchist
  • Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician
  • Surrealist Women: An International Anthology (Surrealist Revolution Series)
  • Calligrammes: Poems of Peace and War (1913-1916)
  • The Opposing Shore
  • Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
  • Maldoror and the Complete Works
  • Darkness Moves: An Henri Michaux Anthology, 1927-1984
  • A Night of Serious Drinking
Poet, novelist, and essayist, a founder of Surrealism with Paul Éluard, André Breton, Luis Buñuel, and others. Aragon's work reflects the principal trends of thought of the 20th century – he was also a political activist and spokesman for communism. His influence on the theory of the novel and on poetic theory was considerable.
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“Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.” 25 likes
“Your heart like a hawk-mouth in the sun, your heart like a ship on an atoll, your heart like a compass needle driven mad by a little piece of lead, like washing drying in the wind, like a whining of horses, like seed thrown to the birds, like an evening paper one has finished reading! Your heart is a charade that the whole world has guessed.” 5 likes
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