The Blue Flowers by Raymond Queneau
(New Directions Paperbook)

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Synopsis

Only a
pataphysician nurtured lovingly on surrealist excess could have come up
with The Blue Flowers, Queneau's 1964 novel.

At his death in 1976, Raymond Queneau was one of France's most eminent
men of letters––novelist, poet, essayist, editor, scientist,
mathematician, and, more to the point, pataphysician. And only a
pataphysician nurtured lovingly on surrealist excess could have come up
with The Blue Flowers, Queneau's 1964 novel, now reissued as a
New Directions Paperbook. To a pataphysician all things are equal, there
is no improvement or progress in the human condition, and a "message"
is an invention of the benighted reader, certainly not the author or his
perplexing creations––the sweet, fennel-drinking Cidrolin and the
rampaging Duke d'Auge. History is mostly what the duke rampages
through––700 years of it at 175-year clips. He refuses to crusade,
clobbers his king with the "in" toy of 1439––the cannon––dabbles in
alchemy, and decides that those musty caves down at Altamira need a bit
of sprucing up. Meanwhile, Cidrolin in the 1960s lolls on his barge
moored along the Seine, sips essence of fennel, and ineffectually tries
to catch the graffitist who nightly defiles his fence. But mostly he
naps. Is it just a coincidence that the duke appears only when Cidrolin
is dozing? And vice versa? In the tradition of Villon and Céline,
Queneau attempted to bring the language of the French streets into
common literary usage, and his mad word-plays, bad puns, bawdy jokes,
and anachronistic wackiness have been kept amazingly and glitteringly
intact by the incomparable translator Barbara Wright.
 

About Raymond Queneau

See more books from this Author
Marc Lowenthal has translated numerous works, including the forthcoming I Am a Beautiful Monster: Selected Writings of Francis Picabia.
 
Published April 17, 1985 by New Directions. 232 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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