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Arcanum 17 by André Breton
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Arcanum 17 (1945)

by André Breton

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1633108,998 (2.98)19

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English (2)  French (1)  All languages (3)
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Andre Breton is one of those deep thinkers and his writing is such that it is not easily understandable. You have to take every sentence and break it down in order to get the exact meaning of what he is trying to communicate. The only way I found out what this book was about is by reading the translator's introduction. For that reason, I am giving this book 2 stars and I doubt that I would read anything else that he has written. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Arcanum 17 by Breton
3 stars (2 for enjoyment and a bump for intelligence and wonderfully lyrical prose)
Breton's Arcanum 17 is essentially a long essay in which he muses about love, loss, war, feminism, and a number of other things. Inspired by the image of the Perce Rock in Quebec, he uses this vision as a metaphor for a range of topics. The book itself was barely larger than my cellphone and only 133 pages (with additional pages for an intro and other material) but it took me over two weeks to read. This is one of those books that I couldn't read in bed for fear of falling asleep. In fact I fell asleep reading this on my couch, in my car (with my husband driving), and multiple times in bed.

It's well written and there is no question that he is an intellectual powerhouse. I did enjoy some parts of the book but it required such intensity of focus and concentration, that it felt like a chore. He has some interesting thoughts about the rights and roles women that are quite advanced for the period in which they were written. The writing is poetic and I liked how he blended imagery form nature into his philosophical musings.

I am at a loss for why it is on the 1001 list. It is certainly not a novel but rather reads like an academic essay. I could really only read two pages at a time because I found it fairly boring albeit beautifully written. ( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
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