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Mark Polizzotti

Mark Polizzotti Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton came out last year.

Dirty’s Story

Mark Polizzotti, 28 November 1996

When André Breton proclaimed in 1922 that poetry ‘emanates more from the lives of men – whether or not they are writers – than from what they have written or from what we might imagine they could write’, it is unlikely that Laure, then 19 and cloistered in the bourgeois family estate, would have got wind of it. Yet in many ways she was the embodiment of Breton’s pronouncement. Indeed, most people, if they know of Laure at all, know her not so much for what she committed to paper as for her tortured, inspired relationships with several prominent French intellectuals, most notably Georges Bataille. And although this edition of her collected writings seeks to correct that impression, its ultimate effect is only to reinforce it. By the time one emerges from this compilation of autobiographical and biographical sketches by and about her, of poems, scattered notes and fevered letters, one can’t help feeling that her true masterwork was her ability to make others react to and remember her.’’

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Marina Warner, 11 October 2018

In​ the early 1960s, David Hockney made a series of etchings inspired by the poems of Constantine Cavafy; he went to Egypt to discover the places Cavafy had drunk coffee and picked up lovers,...

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Raymond Roussel

Paul Grimstad, 26 April 2012

‘I have travelled a great deal,’ Raymond Roussel wrote towards the end of his life, ‘but from all these travels I never took anything for my books.’ It’s an odd...

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Flaubert

John Sturrock, 7 September 2006

Of the three books that Gustave Flaubert was able to write only after a lengthy cohabitation with his sources, Bouvard et Pécuchet is by some way the most approachable. The other two are...

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Happy Babble

Christopher Prendergast, 7 March 1996

Imagine a ‘movement’, not retrospectively constructed by the tidy, potty-trained minds of academics, but consciously created by its actors with a view to putting an end to the culture...

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