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Vidas conjeturales

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  40 reviews
La infancia de Thomas De Quincey observada a través de una lupa de aumento, o los sombríos internados a los que fue confinado; el carácter pendenciero del poeta John Keats, que supo alternar con la lírica, y el desconocido talante aventurero de Marcel Schwob –quien viajó al Sur del Pacífico en busca de las huellas de Stevenson– son algunos de los aspectos biográficos que ...more
Paperback, Alpha Mini, 80 pages
Published May 27th 2013 by Alpha Decay (first published 2009)
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Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This superbly concentrated book of creative nonfiction should not be knocked back like a shot, but rather sipped slowly like a good grappa. It consists of three hyper-brief biographies of writers: De Quincey, Keats, and Marcel Schwob. The lives herein are, as the original title has it, ‘congetturali’, and yet the moments of poetic speculation are few and serve only to highlight the accuracy of a certain mood and tone associated with each subject.

It took Andrew Motion more than six hundred pages
Stephen Durrant
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These three mini-biographies of Thomas De Quincey, John Keats, and Marcel Schwob are really best thought of as prose-poems and demand slow, careful reading, preferably with a glass of white wine alongside. Each piece captures something essential about the personality it describes in the form of a series of images, each crafted like a pearl . . . and each, it seems to me, centering upon death.
Scott Wilson
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tiny book in which every phrase demands to be lingered over —when one isn't grabbing the phone to Google a name or a face. Each of the three minuscule biographical sketches projects dimension as full as a longer, more formal work, and each is a model of fascinated authority, or authoritative fascination. It's also witty, as in this sharply drawn anecdote in the section devoted to Keats:

One day in Haydon’s study, Keats recited “Hymn to Pan.” Wordsworth was there; he kept his left hand tucked
Joseph Schreiber
Review to come. A tiny book with sharp mini biographies of De Qunicey, Keats and Marcel Schwob. Remarkable. My review of this with I Am the Brother of XX is now live at Numéro Cinq:
La lettrice controcorrente
Vite congetturali diFleur Jaeggy (Adelphi) è un mini libro che racconta le vite di tre artisti. Fa parte della biblioteca minima di Adelphi, ha in totale una cinquantina di pagine che scorrono via senza intoppi. Ad avermi colpito è stata la descrizione: "Le esistenze di De Quincey, Keats e Schwob raccontate come tre minuscoli romanzi". E se ci pensate è una descrizione strana per una mini, mini opera ma in effetti è proprio così: Jaeggy ci racconta nello spazio di pochissime righe le esistenze ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jaeggy applies her trademark direct yet elusive prose to very brief nonfictional biographies of three writers: Thomas De Quincey, John Keats, and Marcel Schwob.

About De Quincey: "Thomas De Quincey became a visionary in 1791 when he was six years old. His older brother William was looking for a way to walk on the ceiling upside down like a fly. Richard, who they called Pink, signed on to a whaling ship and had been captured by pirates. The other siblings were depressives. Thomas leafed listlessly
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the writing may be as good as the jacket blurbs say, there is not enough of it here (60 small pages with big margins and large type) to generate more than a "well, that was nice." Given that brevity is Jaeggy's forte, I may only be able to appreciate her works taken together, not than individual examples of it.
Em Laurent
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
brief--in the sense that a razor's knife is brief! absolutely brilliant..........
Too minimal, no context, but nice little snippet vignettes.
Antônio Xerxenesky
Essa autora é foda demais.
Tara Redd
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this. It kind of reminded me of my true love Jean-Philippe Toussaint. It has that weird matter-of-factness and straightforwardness I really like. Like, just one sentence after another, without any justification or apparent motion, like slides demanding a narrative. But I don't know if that really does it justice either. I'm sucking at describing this, and it's less than 100 pages so you should just read it.

Honestly what I took away from this book, though, is that I'm about to read
Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
i so enjoy little books like this one... reminded me of Evan S. Connell's "Notes From a Bottle...", just interesting and inconsequential facts and observations about historical figures of note, at least two of them anyway... never read anything by Jaeggy before, but if this is any indication of her style, i will likely seek out further books... each mini-bio has a ghostly feel, or maybe it's more shadowy, as in 'written by their shadow', since the passages are of things quite personal or so ...more
Suzie Grogan
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have this book for the short essay on Keats, which is extraordinary in its depth, considering its brevity. All these mini biographies are masterful and mysterious pieces which merit a close reading. Loved them and just wish there were more.
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
no one's life story needs more than 1o pages.
This short book (it's only sixty pages) consists of three biographical essays about writers: there's one about Thomas De Quincey, one about John Keats, and one about Marcel Schwob. I was somewhat familiar with Keats before reading this, a bit less familiar with De Quincey (or TDQ, as he's referred to in the book), and not at all familiar with Schwob, and I'm curious as to how these pieces would read to someone more familiar with these figures than I was. These essays trace their subjects' lives ...more
Óscar Brox
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ante la prosa de Fleur Jaeggy, uno siempre tiene la obligación de continuar como lector el mismo proceso meticuloso de escritura que ha culminado en el texto; más, sobre todo, si se trata de una obra tan breve, tan concentrada y al mismo tiempo delicada, como Vidas conjeturales. Para entender el aliento evocador que Jaeggy insufla a sus relatos sobre Thomas De Quincey, John Keats y Marcel Schwob, no basta con atravesar sus apuntes biográficos. Hace falta vivirlos, sumergirnos en el estado ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wowowowow this prose SINGS. Frig me up fleur jaeggy
"Walking on the heath, Keats came across a being with a strange light in its eyes, a rumpled archangel — he recognized Coleridge. They walked together and spoke of nightingales and dreams."
Ingrid Nelson
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raül De Tena
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Según el diccionario de la RAE, una “conjetura” es un “juicio que se forma de las cosas o acaecimientos por indicios y observaciones“… Y no es algo casual que este microlibro (publicado dentro de la colección Alpha Mini de Alpha Decay) ostente el título de “Vidas Conjeturales“: en él se incluyen tres mini-biografías que abordan sendas vidas cuya intimidad, más allá de su legado puramente literario, sólo se puede abordar de forma puramente conjetural. Puede que lo haga espoleada por su formato en ...more
I mean it's Jaeggy...

And so I of course enjoyed it. Drank it to the last dregs, that goes without saying. Three biographies that sparkle like diamonds because they must have been compressed from hundreds and hundreds of pages, of details. It is in the selection of details that these biographies, these non-fiction pieces—or "essays" as the publisher calls them—become unique, an extension of Jaeggy's literary output. They were perhaps too short, maybe—clocking in at 60 pages—but then that's their
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A strange, hypnotic book. I picked this up on a whim and found it impossible to put down. Three mini-biographies: De Quincey, Keats, Marcel Schwob (whom I had never heard of). Each essay proceeds according to its own strange emotional logic. It's a strange book but so confidently written that it draws you in completely.
Umair Muhajir
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Restores the “oddness” to Romantic figures like Keats, and hence to Romanticism. Jaeggy’s prose style is rapid, disorienting, strange, and utterly compelling; these unconventional mini-biographies spend a lot of time on their subjects’ habits, physicality, and friends (who knew Keats played cricket, or that he had very broad shoulders?), and the effect is uncanny.
Jay McNair
Feb 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have this marked as read, though I don't remember finishing it. I thought I decided not to finish it?

Wasn't that good. The writing style bothered me. I thought it had a lot of promise, too, before opening it.
Luna Miguel
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me da pena que el texto dedicado a Schwob sea el más breve. Pero aún así, es un texto delicioso.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third part, about Marcel Schwob, was harrowing.
Kevin Summers
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Interesting style of writing biographies. Overall, not my cup of tea though.
Daniel Benevides
Breves biografias de Thomas de Quincey, John Keats e Marcelo Schwob contadas com a precisão dos sonhos.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elegantly translated and just plain surreal, this book contains three prose poems masquerading as short terse biographies of the 'possible' lives of Thomas de Quincey (famous for Confessions of an English Opium Eater), the great Romantic poet John Keats and the fantastical French Symbolist writer Marcel Schwob. These are very brief lives on acid. One example: the very young De Quincey experiences his younger sister dying and imagines her returning as a crocus; Schwob has Edgar Allen Poe and ...more
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Fleur Jaeggy is a Swiss writer, of Italian mother tongue.

After completing her studies in Switzerland, Jaeggy went to live in Rome, where she met Ingeborg Bachmann and Thomas Bernhard.

In 1968 she went to Milan to work for the publisher Adelphi Edizioni. Her first masterpiece was the novel I beati anni del castigo (1989). The Times Literary Supplement accounted her novel Proleterka as the best book
“His eyes stayed open imperiously. No one could close his eyelids. The room smoked of grief.” 1 likes
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