August 25, 2008

Of emphatic locutions, platitudes, and cliches.

Just finished Albert Moravia's well-written novel Conjugal Love, a short and delectable 142 pages, though I ruined some of the fun by reading it in many sittings over a month!

Here's an excerpt from the novel, gleaned from a review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.
"A malignant force was driving me to accumulate repetitions, solecisms, unclear limping formulations, uncertain descriptions, emphatic locutions, platitudes, and cliches. But above all I felt that my prose lacked rhythm, that regular, harmonious breathing that sustains flow, just as meter sustains and regulates the motion of poetry. . . . I stumbled, stuttered, lost myself in a tumult of discordances and stridencies."
I won't be writing a review but all I can say is that the novel suffers from none of the above ills and was very enjoyable, even in translation. The much-acclaimed novel, Contempt (made into a movie by the French new wave director, Jean Luc Godard) is probably the next Moravia novel to read. Or maybe Moravia's other acclaimed novel Conformist, which was made into a movie by Bernardo Bertolucci.

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