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I was the Human Torch

Lili Owen Rowlands: Guillaume Dustan, 15 December 2022

The Works of Guillaume Dustan, Vol. 1: ‘In My Room’, ‘I’m Going Out Tonight’, ‘Stronger Than Me’ 
edited by Thomas Clerc, translated by Daniel Maroun.
Semiotext(e), 383 pp., £14.99, June 2021, 978 1 63590 142 9
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... In​ 1984 Guillaume Dustan drafted a personal ad: ‘In brief: young man, eighteen, hypokhâgne, Lycée Henri-IV, short brown hair, 1.7 metres, part preppy, part 1950s greaser, not very sporty – sensual – funny, neither a party animal nor a bookworm. Now let’s see if the feeling is mutual …’ Written when he still went by the name William Baranès, it anticipates the Guillaume Dustan to come: the pointed mention of his prestigious schooling; the importance of cultivating ‘a look’ (often imported from America); the fear of being consigned to a particular identity or sphere (either the nightclub or the library) that might foreclose some as yet unknown experience ...

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