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La Mort propagande et autres textes de…

La Mort propagande et autres textes de jeunesse

by Hervé Guibert

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La Mort propagande et autres textes de jeunesse brings together a a collection of the earliest prose works of the French author Hervé Guibert. Guibert is best known for his later works, which are taken to be autobiographical descriptions of his struggle with AIDS. In 1988, Guibert was one of the first authors to publicly admit to suffering from the disease and describing that in fictionalized autobiography.

La Mort propagande et autres textes de jeunesse consists of the earliest prose texts composed by Hervé Guibert, some of which were written when he was only 15 or 16 years old. Hence, "textes de jeunesse." The style of those earliest works, for instance "Thérèse et son crocodile ailé" is baroque, attempting to achieve an almost rococo or manieristic type of beauty, with many details and adjectives. Similarly, "Le prince blond" and "Isabella" are poetic fairy-tales in which a budding homosexuality starts shining through. Despite their virtuosity, they still very much read like precocious adolescent prose texts.

The key text of this publication is Hervé Guibert's earliest novel, La Mort propagande, which was originally written in 1975-1976, when the author was only 21 years old. This short novel is printed in two versions. In La Mort propagande, Guibert's style evolves to a curious mixture of beauty, mingled with grotesk cruelty. Beautiful descriptions are set off against or contrasted with descriptions which rouse disgust. These style experiments led to the development of Guibert's shockingly open and raucious style in his later works.

As important as Guibert's later works are for the description of AIDS in gay and mainstream literature, it is regretful that little attention is now paid to his early work. La Mort propagande et autres textes de jeunesse clearly marks an important stage in the development of gay literature of the middle to late Twentieth century, creating a connection of the raw style of American prose artists, such as William Burroughs to the up-coming genre of gay writing in Europe. ( )
  edwinbcn | Nov 1, 2014 |
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