Hugoliad, Or, the Grotesque and Tragic Life of Victor Hugo

Eugene Ionesco, Author Grove/Atlantic $15.95 (126p) ISBN 978-0-394-56092-2
""The only reason for the survival of Hugo's work is that it can't even be read once,'' writes Ionesco in this sardonic, debunking portrait. In the scathing view of the Rumanian-born playwright (who now lives in Paris), the great French novelist was a ham and an opportunist, a literary tyrant preoccupied with his image, who prized rhetoric over genuine feeling. ``Speak less, I beg of you,'' Hugo's lady-friend implores him as they sojourn in the Pyrenees. Ionesco doesn't care for Hugo's poetry either; his Romantic lyrics are all hammer-blows and commonplaces, charges the author of Rhinoceros. Resurrected from a Rumanian literary journal of the 1930s, this short critical essay drips with sarcasm. Yet, as a polemic against the conservative artistic mentality, it offers valuable insights on sincerity in literature, the nature of genius, the whims of fashion. (April 27)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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