Autoportrait by Edouard Levé

By Edouard Levé

During this marvelous and sobering self-portrait, Edouard Levé hides not anything from his readers, starting up his complete existence, kind of at random, in a string of declarative sentences. Autoportrait is a actual, mental, sexual, political, and philosophical triumph. past "sincerity," Levé works towards an objectivity so radical it may cross for crudeness, triviality, even banality: the writer has stripped himself naked. With the strength of a collection of maxims or morals, Levé's prose turns out firstly to be an autobiography with no sentiment, as if written by means of a desktop -- until eventually, during the accumulation of element, and the author's dry, quizzical tone, we discover ourselves disarmed, enthralled, and enraptured by means of not anything lower than the fitting fiction... made totally of proof.

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You’re right, Conseil. It turned out to be a foolish business after all, and we jumped into it too hastily. What a waste of time, what a pointless outlay of energy! Six months ago we already would have been back in France . ” “In master’s little apartment,” Conseil remarked. “In master’s museum! And by now I would have classified master’s fossils. ” “To be sure,” Conseil replied serenely, “I do think they’ll have fun at master’s expense. And must it be said . . ” “When one has the honor of being an expert as master is, one mustn’t lay himself open to—” Conseil wasn’t able to finish his compliment.

20,000 leagues under the seas / 39 The fine lad thought this was only natural! ” I asked. ” Conseil replied, rolling over on his back. ” “Yes, smashed by the monster’s tusk! I believe it’s the only injury the Abraham Lincoln has sustained. ” “Maybe,” Conseil replied serenely. ” Conseil’s unflappable composure cheered me up. I swam more energetically, but I was hampered by clothes as restricting as a cloak made of lead, so I was managing with only the greatest difficulty. Conseil noticed this.

But we mustn’t talk . . save our strength . . ” What had he seen? Then, Lord knows why, thoughts of the monster came into my head for the first time . . But even so, that voice . . Gone are the days when Jonahs could take refuge in the bellies of whales! Nevertheless Conseil kept towing me. Sometimes he lifted his chin, looked straight ahead, and shouted a request for directions, which was answered by a voice getting closer and closer. I could barely hear it. I’d reached the end of my strength; my fingers gave out; my hands were no help to me; my mouth opened convulsively, filling with brine; its coldness ran through me; I raised my head one last time, then I collapsed.

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