Novels in Three Lines by Felix Feneon
(New York Review Books Classics)

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A NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS ORIGINAL

Novels in Three Lines collects more than a thousand items that appeared anonymously in the French newspaper Le Matin in 1906—true stories of murder, mayhem, and everyday life presented with a ruthless economy that provokes laughter even as it shocks. This extraordinary trove, undiscovered until the 1940s and here translated for the first time into English, is the work of the mysterious Félix Fénéon. Dandy, anarchist, and critic of genius, the discoverer of Georges Seurat and the first French publisher of James Joyce, Fénéon carefully maintained his own anonymity, toiling for years as an obscure clerk in the French War Department. Novels in Three Lines is his secret chef-d’oeuvre, a work of strange and singular art that brings back the long-ago year of 1906 with the haunting immediacy of a photograph while looking forward to such disparate works as Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project and the Death and Disaster series of Andy Warhol.
 

About Felix Feneon

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Félix Fénéon (1861-1944) was a French anarchist, editor, and art critic in Paris during the late 1800's. Born in Turin, he moved to Paris at the age of 20 to work for the Ministry of Defense. He attended the Impressionist exhibition in 1886, later coining the term "Neo-Impressionism" to define the movement led by Georges Seurat. He was the first french publisher to publish James Joyce. In 1892, the French police searched his apartment, claiming him to be an active anarchist. That summer, along with other intellectuals and artists, Fénéon was placed on trial, a case which is now know as The Trial of the Thirty. Although the charges were dismissed, he was discharged from the Ministry of Defense. Famously painted by Paul Signac, the painting now hangs in New York's Museum of Modern Art.Luc Sante teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College. His books include Low Life, Evidence, and The Factory of Facts.
 
Published August 17, 2011 by NYRB Classics. 208 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Prolific writer and cultural critic Sante (Low Life ) has translated half a year’s worth of concise news blurbs written in 1906 for a Paris newspaper by Fénéon, writer, anarchist and promoter of artists like Seurat and Bonnard.

Jun 18 2007 | Read Full Review of Novels in Three Lines (New Yo...

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