Isidore

Jeremy Reed, Author Peter Owen Publishers $29.95 (150p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0831-1
Isidore Ducasse, better known by his literary moniker, the Comte de Lautreamont, left only one significant work, Les Chants de Maldoror , but that convulsive experimental novel gained him permanent entrance to the modernist pantheon. Otherwise, we know almost nothing of this Surrealist prodigy, who died in 1871 at the age of 23, having destroyed all his personal papers. In this fictionalized biography, English poet Reed has embellished the scant traces of Ducasse's life--his childhood in Paraguay, his membership in the Parisian netherworld--into a hallucinatory replica of the decadent imagination in full fever. Well received on its publication in England, Isidore extends the genre of self-conscious literature we associate with Anthony Burgess and Julian Barnes, among English authors. Poetry lovers will be taken with Reed's lush prose and musky psychological perfumes; diehard bohemians will sway dreamily to its strains of Baudelaire and Poe. A clever and unsettling performance. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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