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Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Felix Feneon…

Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Felix Feneon

by Félix Fénéon

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A beautifully illustrated book with charming, mordant three-line epitaphs that taste of the dry wit of Edward Gorey. The illustrations are collage-style, much like Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python illustrations, with photos, ink, markers and possibly crayon. Unlike Gorey, these scenarios are not fictional. They were brief news items written in a French newspaper in 1906 by Felix Fénéon, a member of the literati and an anarchist.

Some of the dark tidbits made me giggle. Some were rather sad. They all captured an intriguing tone of turn-of-the-century France. Overall, it’s an evocative collection, but can they really be considered three line “novels?” True, Hemmingway wrote a six word “novel” that he claimed was his best work.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Pretty sharp, that. But in this case, I was left wanting a bit more after tearing through this $24.95 hardback in about half an hour. Enjoyed, yes. But probably better to borrow from the library. ( )
  David_David_Katzman | Nov 26, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 098419066X, Hardcover)

Felix Feneon – anarchist, art maven, literary instigator – edited Rimbaud's Illuminations and was the first to publish James Joyce in French. He was also the author of 1,220 faits-divers that appeared over the course of 1906 in the Paris newspaper Le Matin. As stand-alone pieces, these concise, and often bizarre, three-line reports of death, naval exercises gone awry, petty theft and labor disputes are enigmatic fragments, but when viewed as a whole they form a mosaic of the era in France. 

The New York Review of Books published Luc Sante's English translation of these items as Novels in Three Lines, inspiring artist Joanna Neborsky to create illustrations and collages that vivify a selection of the trenchant vignettes.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 15 Feb 2016 12:16:39 -0500)

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