Count D'Orgel's Ball

Raymond Radiguet, Author, Annapaola Cancogni, Translator, Jean Cocteau, Foreword by Marsilio Publishers $11 (0p) ISBN 978-0-941419-30-7
Cocteau identifies Radiguet (1903-1923) as ``the ageless author of a dateless book,'' but this French novel, first published in the U.S. in 1954 in another translation, is all the more remarkable in that Radiguet completed it at the age of 20. Envisioned as ``a novel in which psychology alone is `novelistic,' '' the brief work scrutinizes the mechanisms of passion as it operates among a count, his wife and a young family friend who fancies himself in love with the countess. Radiguet uses this triangle--and the illicit attractions that are never played out--to critique romantic love as a theme in legend and literature, alluding, variously, to Tristan and Isolde, Sleeping Beauty, The Scarlet Letter , the oeuvre of Flaubert and more. Radiguet displays both the arresting insight and the easy cynicism of the young, conveying his tale through gnomic prose: `` `Besides, she is a saint,' people would inevitably conclude. Which simply meant that nature had not been too kind to her.'' A decidedly inferior story, ``Denise,'' is appended here, published for the first time in English, and occasionally murky diction impedes an otherwise superior book. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-1-59017-138-7
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