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The Last Days is Raymond Queneau's autobiographical novel of Parisian student life in the 1920s: Vincent Tuquedenne tries to reconcile his love for reading with the sterility of studying as he hopes to study his way out of the petite bourgeoisie to which he belongs. Vincent and his generation are contrasted with an older generation of retired teachers and petty crooks, and both generations come under the bemused gaze of the waiter Alfred, whose infallible method of predicting the future mocks prevailing scientific models. Similarly, Queneau's literary universe operates under its own laws, joining rigorous artistry with a warm evocation of the last days of a bygone world.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781564781406
ISBN-10: 1564781402
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 142mm x 18mm)
Pages: 250
Imprint: Dalkey Archive Press
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
Publish Date: 25-Sep-2009
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Raymond Queneau

Queneau was born in Le Havre in 1903 and went to Paris when he was 17. For some time he joined Andr Breton's Surrealist group, but after only a brief stint he dissociated himself. Now, seeing Queneau's work in retrospect, it seems inevitable. The Surrealists tried to achieve a sort of pure expression from the unconscious, without mediation of the author's self-aware "persona." Queneau's texts, on the contrary, are quite deliberate products of the author's conscious mind, of his memory, his intentionality. Although Queneau's novels give an impression of enormous spontaneity, they were in fact painstakingly conceived in every small detail. He even once remarked that he simply could not leave to hazard the task of determining the number of chapters of a book. Talking about his first novel, Le Chiendent (usually translated as The Bark Tree), he pointed out that it had 91 sections, because 91 was the sum of the first 13 numbers, and also the product of two numbers he was particularly fond of: 7 and 13.

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