Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Fiction -- "Homage to Hemingway"

Julian Barnes's new short story "Homage to Hemingway" is published in the July 4, 2011 issue of The New Yorker (pp. 60-65). Online subscribers have access to the story through the New Yorker digital archive or via their iPads.

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Julian Barnes on Jules Renard

Julian Barnes reviews Nature Stories by Jules Renard for the London Review of Books 33.13 (30 June 2011): 23-24.

From the Review:
I own two photographs of Jules Renard (1864-1910). There is no indication of when either of them was taken, and at times I have wondered if they are really of the same man. In the first, from a series called ‘Nos contemporains chez eux’, he sits at a cluttered desk; behind him is a scruffy bookcase and a calendar showing the first of some month; on the floral wallpaper hangs a looped speaking tube, perhaps for ordering his mid-morning coffee. He looks wary and fierce, badger-like, as if he has just been dragged from his sett, stuffed into a suit that scarcely fits and ordered to face the camera: the result is one of the most ill-at-ease author photos I have ever seen. The second shows a leaner, older figure, identifiably the same person from the hairline, big right ear and droop of the moustache; otherwise he seems a different man, a different writer. Fingers elegantly interlaced, he poses in a tapestried chair of the studio photographer Pierre Petit (of place Cadet, Paris); he is in morning dress, with a huge knot to his tie and the visible ribbon of the Légion d’honneur (which dates the portrait to post-1900). He looks worldly, a confident man of achievement: perhaps a city mayor whose recent improvements to sewerage and street lighting have been much applauded by the bourgeoisie.


New Books on Julian Barnes

Two new books about the works of Julian Barnes were recently published. Both treatments add to the growing scholarly treatment of Barnes's work. Table of contents can be viewed on the Julian Barnes Website.

Sebastian Groes & Peter Childs, Eds.
Continuum, 2011. Pp. 192

From the Publisher:

Julian Barnes is one of the most admired British writers of his generation. Although known primarily as a novelist and essayist, the ‘chameleon of British letters’ has written with distinction across the widest range of literary genres. Both he and his diverse and distinguished body of work have been awarded numerous literary prizes both in the UK and abroad. This critical guide provides a wide range of current critical perspectives on Barnes's work from best-selling novels of the 1980s, Flaubert’s Parrot and A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, up to his recent memoir Nothing to be Frightened of. Including contributions by some of the finest critics working in the contemporary field, it reflects the richness and diversity of one of Britain's greatest living writers.
Peter Childs
Manchester University Press, 2011. Pp. 166

From the Publisher:

Peter Childs's Julian Barnes is a comprehensive introductory overview of the novels that situates Barnes's work in terms of fabulation and memory, irony and comedy. It pursues a broadly chronological line through Barnes's literary career, but along the way it also shows how certain key thematic preoccupations and obsessions seem to tie Barnes's oeuvre together (love, death, art, history, truth, and memory). Chapters provide detailed reading of each major publication in turn while treating the major concerns of Barnes’s fiction, including art, authorship, history, love and religion. The book is very lucidly written, and it is also satisfyingly comprehensive - alongside the 'canonical' Barnes texts, it includes brief but illuminating discussion of the crime fiction that Barnes has published under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh. This detailed study of fictions of Julian Barnes from Metroland to Arthur & George also benefits from archival research into his unpublished materials.

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