I love France #46: Louis Aragon


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You can share here about any book

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Louis Aragon

I’m not presenting a book this time, but a French author, and more precisely a poet and a novelist.

I believe I discovered him when I was in Première, the French last year of school (during my time) before taking the French literature exam – which was traditionally taken a year before all the other tests. We had to study a rather long lists of authors and works during the year, and at the 1st part of the exam, the Oral one, the member of the jury would pick up at random one text. I had to present and explain this beautiful poem by Aragon. I was in luck, as I loved this poem very much:

Il n’aurait fallu
Qu’un moment de plus
Pour que la mort vienne
Mais une main nue
Alors est venue
Qui a pris la mienne

Qui donc a rendu
Leurs couleurs perdues
Aux jours aux semaines
Sa réalité
A l’immense été
Des choses humaines

Moi qui frémissais
Toujours je ne sais
De quelle colère
Deux bras ont suffi
Pour faire à ma vie
Un grand collier d’air

Rien qu’un mouvement
Ce geste en dormant
Léger qui me frôle
Un souffle posé
Moins une rosée
Contre mon épaule

Un front qui s’appuie
A moi dans la nuit
Deux grands yeux ouverts
Et tout m’a semblé
Comme un champ de blé
Dans cet univers

Un tendre jardin
Dans l’herbe où soudain
La verveine pousse
Et mon cœur défunt
Renaît au parfum
Qui fait l’ombre douce

Il n’aurait fallu
Qu’un moment de plus
Pour que la mort vienne
Mais une main nue
Alors est venue
Qui a pris la mienne

For an approximate English translation, you can listen to this great French singer.

This poem is part of a collection. Now I can’t remember why a few months ago I felt like reading Aragon again. Unfortunately, I could not find this book here in the US. Instead, I found another book entitled Le Fou d’Elsa, written in 1963.

Here is the synopsis, according to wikipedia:

“In this book Aragon’s intellectual work is reflected through the description of Arabic and Muslim culture in both poetry and prose. Aragon describes the relationships between the Muslim and Catholic world at the time of Inquisition in Spain by using the fall of Granada and the escape of Boabdil in front of Isabella the Catholic as a background.

As most of the books of Aragon, Le Fou d’Elsa is a book about love. Aragon announces a new woman to come, a woman called Elsa, in the quote “Woman is the future of man”. But Le Fou d’Elsa is not only about love. The book is also a description of the beginnings of the depression of the Muslim world, first with the fall of Granada until the colonization.

Le Fou d’Elsa represents a political opinion as the book was written at the time of decolonization in France.

Nowadays, Le Fou d’Elsa is still a great book talking about tolerance and the treasures of all the different cultures.”

Here are a few passages I wanted to share with my French reading readers:










Louis Aragon

Louis Aragon (1897-1982)

Poet, novelist, and essayist, a founder of Surrealism with Paul Éluard, André Breton, Luis Buñuel, and others. Aragon’s work reflects the principal trends of thought of the 20th century – he was also a political activist and spokesman for communism. His influence on the theory of the novel and on poetic theory was considerable.

Aragon’s poetry is diverse and varied. He favoured equally poetic prose and fixed-form verse, to which he brought a renewed sensibility. After a very free early period, marked by surrealism and its subversive language, Aragon returned to more classical forms (measured verse; rhyme, even). He felt that this was more in keeping with the national emergency during World War II. After the war, the political side of his poetry gave way more and more to lyricism for its own sake. He never went back on that embrace of classicism. He did however integrate a certain formal freedom with it, sometimes recalling the surrealism of his early days.

Countless poems by Aragon have been set to music and become popular as songs.

As a novelist he encompasses the whole ethos of the Twentieth century: surrealist novel, socialist realism, realism, nouveau roman. Indeed he was one of the founding personalities of the novel of his time.

You can read more about his life here.




Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)


BBAW 2012 Day 2: Interview Swap

Day 2 topic is: Interview Swap

I love this feature, and here is the book blogger I was asked to interview:

@ Everything Distils Into Reading
@ Rooted

Here are the questions Gautami asked me, and my answers:

How did you get to know about book blogging world?
I think I discovered it by chance, about 3 years ago, browsing about books online, finding a review, and then finding a blogger, one more, and many more!
Devourer of Books was one of the first I followed. It is funny she lives actually in the same state, and not that far from me! Lately, I have connected also with book bloggers from England, and finally from my own country: France.
It is fun to comment in both languages. They seem to be more intellectual and serious, which is not bad at all! LOL. And thanks to this swap, I just discovered you, a book blogger in India!
What kind of genre you love most? Do you write long or short reviews? Have you met any book blogger in person? What is it you do for a living? What are your hobbies?

I love all kinds of genres, and blogging has actually opened me to genres I used not to read before, such as mysteries. I often read historical fiction, and my favorite time is the Middle Ages.

I used to write short reviews, but now I expand them and try to really make them more personal. I first give my own impressions of the book, then use an official synopsis, usually from Goodreads, and then a picture and blurb on the author.

I haven’t met any blogger in person yet, which is a shame, as there are several living rather close to me. Hopefully this will happen soon!

I do several things as a living: I work as a computer assistant in my public library (dream place!), and I do a lot of French tutoring online, as well as translation – non-fiction. I would love to get to translate fiction too.

I am also a rockpainter, meaning I paint almost exclusively on rocks, all kinds: pet portraits, nature, religious, and fun themes. I have already lots of commissions waiting for Christmas. You can see my art here: http://rocksbyemmanuelle.com

My hobbies, apart from reading and painting: I love nature, hiking and birding.

Can you tell me something about your family? Are they readers  like you? Do they share your books?

My mother and sister used to devour books when I was young. There are even some stories that my mother would read until 5:00 a.m. in week days when she was going to work a few hours later…
I live for away from them now. But my husband also devours books. we always have tons of books from the library at home. He sometimes reads books I recommend to him, and sometimes I read books he recommends. For instance, I read Unbroken when i saw how fast he read it, and how much he loved it.

What kind of blogs you prefer to read? Does your husband has a blog?

I follow a lot of blogs, but they are almost all about books. One is about birds, one is on Medieval history, and a few on Orthodoxy – I’m Russian Orthodox by faith.
No, my husband does not have a blog.


And here are the questions I asked Gautami. To see her answers, you will need to visit her blog! Please do so: she shared for this interview a very nice poem, with the reaction of a blogger, very nice.

Do you remember who was the first book blogger you followed? Do you mostly follow book bloggers from your own country? or from other countries? Do you comment in several languages? Do you see a difference among book bloggers let’s say from India and from the US?

Do you have a job having to do with books?
Has the book blogging world changed the way you read? format, genre, etc.

How long have you been blogging? Are you doing things differently from when you started? Would you have any good advice?