cover image Improvisations on Butor: Transformation of Writing

Improvisations on Butor: Transformation of Writing

Michel Butor. University Press of Florida, $59.95 (214pp) ISBN 978-0-8130-1378-7

In an adventurous intellectual autobiography, French writer Michel Butor-experimental novelist, critic, poet, essayist-scrutinizes his life and work with cool, objective detachment, almost as if discussing somebody else. Born in 1926, he regarded Jean-Paul Sartre as a hero during and after WWII, but now views the existentialist as ``the victim of all sorts of illusions.'' Butor's father worked for the Paris railway administration, and so Butor the novelist introduced into his conceptualist fictions ``signaling switches that would permit the reader to pass... from one region to another.'' Butor's travels in Egypt, Japan, Australia, New Mexico, Greece and England led him to posit a collective cultural sensibility embodied in cities, as well as the interdependence of all cultures. Based on a series of lectures, this disarming self-portrait includes random thoughts on the birth of the European Community, the function of dreams, Baroque art, France's relationship with American painting and the art of translation. (Feb.)