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The Margin (1967)

by André Pieyre de Mandiargues

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651348,118 (2.75)1
Modern Europeans, argues T. C. W. Blanning, are characterized by the conviction that the ground is moving beneath their feet. Among other things, it has given them a strong sense of dynamism: the worldischanging, itcanbe changed, and so itshouldbe changed. Indeed, in the last two centuries, modern Europeans have transformed not only their continent but the world. This lavishly illustrated history of Europe from the late eighteenth century to the present day offers a fascinating guide to the momentous events, achievements, and personalities that have stamped their mark on the continent. Written by an international team of leading scholars,The OxfordIllustrated History of Modern Europeis at once authoritative, stimulating, and accessible, presenting both change and continuity, revolution and stability--not only in politics but also in the economic, social, cultural, and military realms. Here Europe's turbulent history is traced, from the beginnings of the Revolution in France to the dawn of two world wars to the breakup of the Soviet Union to today's kaleidoscope of nation-states. The achievements (and failures) of key figures from many arenas--politics, technology, warfare, religion, and the arts among them--are drawn vividly, including the contributions of such disparate characters as Louis XVIII of France, Gottlieb Daimler, and Andr Maginot. Social, cultural, and economic insights are included alongside the record of geopolitical strife: we read of the personality cult as exemplified by the Soviet portraits glorifying Lenin; the importance of the nylon stocking in the post-World War II economic boom; the influence of religion as five new nations (Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania) emerged between 1871 and 1914--an influence that continues to be both vigorous and deadly; and the confrontation between traditional and modern cultures captured as the railway age began in Russia. Insightful, provocative, and intellectually rewarding, this book offers an unparalleled, informed perspective on the history of the continent. The only fully illustrated general history of modern Europe available--more than 240 illustrations, including many in full color, complement the text throughout--The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern Europewill give every reader a better understanding of the world in which we live, how it came to be what it is, and where it may be going next.… (more)
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On arriving in Barcelona a French traveling salesman Sigismond Pons receives a letter from home--opening it he sees the words--'threw herself off the tower...died instantly'. He puts the letter away and takes it back to his hotel room placing it underneath a bottle of wine. For the next 3 days he roams Barcelona's red light district (something he had planned to do anyway) picking up the same prostitute (Juanita) and going into the same seedy hotel and having sex with her. On the last night he goes back once and for all and reads the letter through learning that not only has his wife killed herself but she did so after finding his young son drowned in a pond. On the last day Sigismond then drives out of the city--parks his car and shoots himself. Certainly does not fall into the category of a happy novel--The Margin did win the Prix Goncourt. Sigismond's ramblings through these mean streets is certainly hallucinatory--as he goes about his quest almost mechanically right up to the point he puts the gun to his head. About the only thing that seems to always bring him back to reality are all the signs of Franco's fascist Spain that he's constantly running into and the almost suppressed outrage of Sigismond and some of the more down and out citizens of that city to these pictures and slogans. Anyway I have to say I liked this book quite a bit though it might not be everybody's cup of tea. Pieyre de Mandiargues writing is elegant, very literary and even at times quite witty and like it or not it isn't boring and moves along nicely. ( )
1 vote lriley | Sep 11, 2006 |
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Modern Europeans, argues T. C. W. Blanning, are characterized by the conviction that the ground is moving beneath their feet. Among other things, it has given them a strong sense of dynamism: the worldischanging, itcanbe changed, and so itshouldbe changed. Indeed, in the last two centuries, modern Europeans have transformed not only their continent but the world. This lavishly illustrated history of Europe from the late eighteenth century to the present day offers a fascinating guide to the momentous events, achievements, and personalities that have stamped their mark on the continent. Written by an international team of leading scholars,The OxfordIllustrated History of Modern Europeis at once authoritative, stimulating, and accessible, presenting both change and continuity, revolution and stability--not only in politics but also in the economic, social, cultural, and military realms. Here Europe's turbulent history is traced, from the beginnings of the Revolution in France to the dawn of two world wars to the breakup of the Soviet Union to today's kaleidoscope of nation-states. The achievements (and failures) of key figures from many arenas--politics, technology, warfare, religion, and the arts among them--are drawn vividly, including the contributions of such disparate characters as Louis XVIII of France, Gottlieb Daimler, and Andr Maginot. Social, cultural, and economic insights are included alongside the record of geopolitical strife: we read of the personality cult as exemplified by the Soviet portraits glorifying Lenin; the importance of the nylon stocking in the post-World War II economic boom; the influence of religion as five new nations (Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania) emerged between 1871 and 1914--an influence that continues to be both vigorous and deadly; and the confrontation between traditional and modern cultures captured as the railway age began in Russia. Insightful, provocative, and intellectually rewarding, this book offers an unparalleled, informed perspective on the history of the continent. The only fully illustrated general history of modern Europe available--more than 240 illustrations, including many in full color, complement the text throughout--The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern Europewill give every reader a better understanding of the world in which we live, how it came to be what it is, and where it may be going next.

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