Although the great French novelists of the last two centuries are widely read in America, there is a widespread notion that little of importance has happened in French literature since the heyday of Sartre, Camus, and the nouveau roman. Some might argue that even well read Americans are ignorant about what is happening in European literature generally. Certainly, there has never been so few translations of foreign books in the United States, or so little coverage of foreign writers. Curious American readers need new, up-to-date information and analyses about what is happening elsewhere. Paths to Contemporary French Literature is a stimulating and much-needed guide to the major currents of one of the world's great literatures.

This critical panorama of contemporary French literature introduces English-language readers to over fifty important writers and poets, many of whom are still little known outside of France. Emphasizing authors who are admired by their peers (as opposed to those with overnight reputations), John Taylor offers a compelling insider's view. The pioneering essays included in this book offer incisive analyses of the ideas motivating current writing and delve into a writer's or poet's entire output. Although some names may be familiar (Marguerite Duras, Hulbne Cixous, Philippe Jaccottet, Henri Michaux), the reader obtains fresh reappraisals of their seminal work. Especially noteworthy, however, are Taylor's lively introductions to many other key writers who either have not yet crossed the English Channel, let alone the Atlantic. Combating the notion that French literature is overtly intellectual, inaccessible, or interested only in formal experimentation, Taylor shows that many French writers are instead acutely inquisitive about the outside world, shrewd observers of reality, even very funny.

Although not conceived as a reference book, the volume possesses some qualities of a reference work: a good bibliography, reliable dates and biographical facts. Paths to Contemporary French Literature will be of interest to students of French literature and culture, literary scholars, and readers of contemporary fiction and poetry.

part 1|321 pages

The Art of Strolling

chapter |14 pages

From Serendipity to Metaphysics

ByJacques Réda

chapter |7 pages

The Permanent Miracle that is the World

ByCharles-Albert Cingria

chapter |3 pages

Enigmas of the Everyday

ByJean Follain

chapter |4 pages

Intimations of Times Past

ByAndré Hardellet

chapter |2 pages

The Pedestrian of Paris

ByLéon-Paul Fargue

chapter |6 pages

Men Without Qualities

ByJean de La Ville De Mirmont

chapter |3 pages

When Tenderness is the Secret Lining of Despair

ByHenri Calet

chapter |3 pages

The Facts of Life

ByGeorges L. Godeau

chapter |5 pages

A New World in Every Instant

ByGil Jouanard

chapter |4 pages

Holding Immense Spaces in the Palm of his Hand

ByGérard Macé

chapter |3 pages

A Café Waiter Astray in Philosophy

ByPierre Autin-Grenier

chapter |3 pages

From Dreams to Disillusionment

ByJean Reverzy

chapter |2 pages

A Master Traveler

ByNicolas Bouvier

chapter |5 pages

Departing for the “Promised Life”

ByGuy Goffette

part 2|32 pages

Remembering Childhood

chapter |6 pages

From Sense Impressions to Sensibility

ByPatrick Drevet

chapter |7 pages

Balancing the Books

ByPierre Bergounioux

chapter |5 pages

Of Dignity and Destiny

ByPierre Michon

chapter |3 pages

Her Father’s Letters

ByHélène Cixous

chapter |5 pages

The Painful Sources of “Impersonality”

ByNathalie Sarraute

chapter |4 pages

From the Mazes of Fiction to the Enigmas of Hope

ByLouis-René Des Forêts

part 3|227 pages

Love and Love’s Language

chapter |3 pages

Love, Death, and Spirituality

ByPierre Jean Jouve

chapter |7 pages

The “Tender Gesture”

ByGeorges Perros

chapter |3 pages

Tragic Separation, Impossible Reconciliation

ByJean-Philippe Salabreuil

chapter |3 pages

Fatal Desire, Inconsolable Love

ByMarguerite Duras

chapter |3 pages

Love, and Love’s Language, Ablaze

ByAlbert Cohen

chapter |9 pages

Eros Against Death

ByJude Stéfan

chapter |3 pages

Uneasy Solitude, Redoubtable Intimacies

ByAnne-Marie Garat

chapter |8 pages

A Terrible Beauty is Born

ByPierre Guyotat

chapter |9 pages

The Composition of Mourning

ByJacques Roubaud

chapter |3 pages

“Disappearing with what Endures”

ByClaude Esteban

chapter |9 pages

From Darkness to Life

ByLouis Calaferte

part 4|46 pages

After Surviving

chapter |10 pages

Cavalrymen Pitted Against Tanks

ByClaude Simon

chapter |2 pages

A Humane Analysis of Inhumanity

ByRobert Antelme

chapter |7 pages

Manual for a Sad Life

ByGeorges Perec

chapter |3 pages

A Lifetime of Questioning

ByEdmond Jabès

chapter |5 pages

Lives Shattered into Puzzle Pieces

ByPatrick Modiano

chapter |4 pages

An Impossible Survival

BySarah Kofman

chapter |7 pages

Ever-Present Absence

ByMarcel Cohen

chapter |6 pages

“That Song Lost in the Depths of the Self”

ByPhilippe S. Hadengue

part 5|28 pages

Telling of Storytelling

chapter |5 pages

The Profundity of Cheerfulness

ByFlorence Delay

chapter |4 pages

From Ruin to Renewal

ByMarie Redonnet

chapter |6 pages

The Art of Shaving Gently

ByRoland Barthes

part 6|82 pages

Beyond the Self

chapter |10 pages

Reconciliations with the Real

ByJulien Gracq

chapter |5 pages

A Multifarious Writer, A Unified Quest

ByHenri Michaux

chapter |5 pages

Elusive Presence

ByYves Bonnefoy

chapter |8 pages

Intimations of the Beyond

ByPhilippe Jaccottet

chapter |11 pages

Seeing the Sea

ByEugène Guillevic

chapter |14 pages

Emblems of Being

ByMichel Fardoulis-Lagrange

chapter |5 pages

Voyaging Out

BySilvia Baron Supervielle

chapter |3 pages

The Search for a Healing Luminosity

ByLorand Gaspar

chapter |3 pages

Dwell in Slowness, Explore the Elsewhere of Here

ByHeather Dohollau

chapter |2 pages

Seeking the Source

ByCharles Juliet

chapter |3 pages

Awe, Wonder, Bedazzlement

ByPierre-Albert Jourdan