Book: Pierre Loti «Between Two Opinions»

Between Two Opinions

His clothes were blood-stained, his shirt in tatters, and in his head there were still the fumes of alcohol. A mist was before his eyes, and it was with difficulty that he read the letter... The poor, confiding letter touched his heart; he kissed it fervently, and began to weep. Then he swore he would never drink again; and as the habit had not yet a strong hold on him, it was easily broken. -from "XIX: Francoise Peyral to Her Son" Called one of the finest descriptive writers of his day, and certainly one of the most original, French writer and sailor Pierre Loti, traveled the world in the late 19th century and painted what he saw in prose acclaimed as extraordinarily rhythmic and lyrical. This 1890 work is a fanciful romance about a Frenchman abroad in Africa and the mysterious letter that leads him into idyllic adventure. A lost classic of byronic fiction, this beguiling novel will delight readers seeking a transporting literary experience. Also available from Cosimo Classics:...

Издательство: "Книга по Требованию" (2005)

ISBN: 9781596055735

Pierre Loti

Louis Marie-Julien Viaud (January 14, 1850 - June 10, 1923) was a writer, who used the pseudonym Pierre Loti.

Biography

Viaud was born in Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, France, to an old Protestant family.This article is derived largely from the "Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition" (1911) article "Pierre Loti" by Edmund Gosse. Unless otherwise referenced, it is the source used throughout, with citations made for specific quotes by Gosse.] His education began in Rochefort, but at the age of seventeen, being destined for the navy, he entered the naval school in Brest and studied on Le Borda. He gradually rose in his profession, attaining the rank of captain in 1906. In January 1910 he went on the reserve list.

His pseudonym has been said to be due to his extreme shyness and reserve in early life, which made his comrades call him after "le Loti", an Indian flower which loves to blush unseen. Other explanations have been put forth by scholars. It is also said that he got the name in Tahiti where he got a sun burn and was called Roti (because he was all red like a local flower), he couldn't pronounce the r well so he stuck with Loti. He was in the habit of claiming that he never read books (when he was received at the Académie française, he said, "Loti ne sait pas lire" ("Loti doesn't know how to read"), but testimony from friends and acquaintances proves otherwise, as does his library, much of which is preserved in his house in Rochefort. In 1876 fellow naval officers persuaded him to turn into a novel passages in his diary dealing with some curious experiences at Istanbul. The result was "Aziyadé", a novel which, like so many of Loti's, is part romance, part autobiography, like the work of his admirer, Marcel Proust, after him. (There is a popular cafe in current-day Istanbul dedicated to the time Loti spent in Turkey.) He proceeded to the South Seas as part of his naval training, and several years after leaving Tahiti published the Polynesian idyll originally named "Rarahu" (1880), which was reprinted as "Le Mariage de Loti", the first book to introduce him to the wider public. This was followed by "Le Roman d'un spahi" (1881), a record of the melancholy adventures of a soldier in Senegambia. In 1882, Loti issued a collection of four shorter pieces, three stories and a travel piece, under the general title of "Fleurs d'ennui" ("Flowers of Boredom").

In 1883 he entered the wider public spotlight. First, he publish the critically acclaimed "Mon frere Yves" ("My Brother Yves"), a novel describing the life of a French naval officer (Pierre Loti), and a Breton sailor (Yves Kermadec), described by Edmund Gosse as "one of his most characteristic productions". Second, while taking part as a naval officer in the undeclared hostilities that preceded the outbreak of the Sino-French War (August 1884 to April 1885), Loti wrote an article in the newspaper "Le Figaro" about atrocities that occurred during the French bombardment of the Thuan An forts that guarded the approaches to Hue (August 1883), and was threatened with suspension from the service, thus gaining wider public notoriety.

In 1886 he published a novel of life among the Breton fisherfolk, called "Pêcheur d'Islande" ("Iceland Fisherman"), which Edmund Gosse characterized as "the most popular and finest of all his writings." It shows Loti adapting some of the Impressionist techniques of contemporary painters, especially Monet, to prose, and is a classic of French literature. In 1887 he brought out a volume "of extraordinary merit, which has not received the attention it deserves", "Propos d'exil", a series of short studies of exotic places, in his characteristic semi-autobiographic style. The novel of Japanese manners, "Madame Chrysanthème"— a precursor to "Madame Butterfly" and "Miss Saigon" and a work that is a combination of narrative and travelog— was published the same year.

During 1890 he published "Au Maroc", the record of a journey to Fez in company with a French embassy, and "Le Roman d'un enfant" ("The Story of a Child"), a somewhat fictionalized recollection of Loti's childhood that would greatly influence Marcel Proust. A collection of "strangely confidential and sentimental reminiscences", called "Le Livre de la pitié et de la mort", ("The Book of Pity and Death") was published in 1891.

Loti was on board his ship at the port of Algiers when news reached him of his election, on May 21, 1891, to the Académie française. In 1892 he published "Fantôme d'orient", a short novel derived from a subsequent trip to Istanbul, less a continuation of Aziyadé than a commentary on it. He described a visit to the Holy Land in three volumes, "The Desert", "Jerusalem", and "Galilee", (1895–1896), and wrote a novel, "Ramuntcho" (1897), a story of contraband runners in the Basque province, which is one of his best writings. During 1898 he collected his later essays as "Figures et Choses qui passaient" ("Passing Figures and Things").

In 1899–1900 Loti visited British India, with the view of describing what he saw; the result appeared in 1903: "L'Inde (sans les Anglais)" ("India (without the English)"). During the autumn of 1900, he went to China, as part of the international expedition set up to fight against the Boxer Rebellion. He described what he saw there, after the siege of Beijing, in "Les Derniers Jours de Pékin" ("The Last Days of Peking", 1902).

Among his later publications were: "La Troisième jeunesse de Mme Prune" ("The Third Youth of Mrs. Plum", 1905), which resulted from a return visit to Japan and once again hovers between narrative and travelog; "Les Désenchantées" ("The Unawakened", 1906); "La Mort de Philae" ("The Death of Philae", 1908), recounting a trip to Egypt; "Judith Renaudin" (produced at the Théâtre Antoine, 1898), a five-act historical play that Loti presented as based on an episode in his family history; and, in collaboration with Emile Vedel, a translation of "King Lear", produced at the Théâtre Antoine in 1904.

He produced a play at the Century Theatre in New York City in 1912, "The Daughter of Heaven", which had been written several years before in collaboration with Judith Gautier for "Sarah Bernhardt".

He died in 1923 at Hendaye and was interred on the Île d'Oléron with a state funeral.

Loti was an inveterate collector, and married into the money that helped him support this habit. His house in Rochefort, a remarkable reworking of two adjacent bourgeois row houses, is well preserved as a museum. One elaborately tiled room is an Orientalist fantasia, including a small fountain and five ceremoniously draped coffins (with the desiccated bodies inside). Another room evokes a medieval banqueting hall. Loti's own bedroom is rather like a monk's cell, but mixes Christian and Muslim religious artifacts. The courtyard described in "The Story of a Child", with the fountain built for him by his older brother, is still there.

Works

Contemporary critic Edmund Gosse gave the following assessment of his work:

At his best Pierre Loti was unquestionably the finest descriptive writer of the day. In the delicate exactitude with which he reproduced the impression given to his own alert nerves by unfamiliar forms, colours, sounds and perfumes, he was without a rival. But he was not satisfied with this exterior charm; he desired to blend with it a moral sensibility of the extremest refinement, at once sensual and ethereal. Many of his best books are long sobs of remorseful memory, so personal, so intimate, that an English reader is amazed to find such depth of feeling compatible with the power of minutely and publicly recording what is felt. In spite of the beauty and melody and fragrance of Loti's books his mannerisms are apt to pall upon the reader, and his later books of pure description were rather empty. His greatest successes were gained in the species of confession, half-way between fact and fiction, which he essayed in his earlier books. When all his limitations, however, have been rehearsed, Pierre Loti remains, in the mechanism of style and cadence, one of the most original and most perfect French writers of the second half of the 19th century.

Bibliography

*"Aziyadé" (1879)
*"Le Mariage de Loti" (originally titled "Rarahu" (1880)
*"Le Roman d'un Spahi" (1881)
*"Fleurs d'Ennui" (1882)
*"Mon Frère Yves" (1883) (English transl. "My Brother Yves")
*"Les Trois Dames de la Kasbah" (1884), which first appeared as part of "Fleurs d'Ennui".
*"Pêcheur d'Islande" (1886) (English transl. "An Iceland Fisherman")
*"Madame Chrysanthème" (1887) [cite book
title=Madame Chrysanthème
author=Pierre Loti
year=1908
publisher=Current literature publishing company
isbn=
url=http://books.google.com/books?id=iwUMAAAAIAAJ
]
*"Propos d'Exil" (1887)
*"Japoneries d'Automne" (1889)
*"Au Maroc" (1890)
*"Le Roman d'un Enfant" (1890)
*"Le Livre de la Pitié et de la Mort" (1891)
*"Fantôme d'Orient" (1892)
*"L'Exilée" (1893)
* "Matelot" (1893)
*"Le Désert" (1895)
*"Jérusalem" (1895)
*"La Galilée" (1895)
*"Ramuntcho" (1897)
*"Fugures et Choses qui passaient" (1898)
*"Judith Renaudin" (1898)
*"Reflets de la Sombre Route" (1899)
*"Les Derniers Jours de Pékin" (1902)
*"L'Inde sans les Anglais" (1903)
*"Vers Ispahan" (1904)
*"La Troisième Jeunesse de Madame Prune" (1905)
*"Les Désenchantées" (1906)
*"La Mort de Philae" (1909)
*"Le Château de la Belle au Bois dormant" (1910)
*"Un Pèlerin d'Angkor" (1912)
*"La Turquie Agonisante" (1913) An English translation "Turkey in Agony" was published in the same year
*"La Hyène Enragée" (1916)
*"Quelques Aspects du Vertige Mondial" (1917)
*"L'Horreur Allemande" (1918)
*"Prime Jeunesse" (1919)
*"La Mort de Notre Chère France en Orient" (1920)
*"Suprêmes Visions d'Orient" (1921), written with the help of his son Samuel Viaud
*"Un Jeune Officier Pauvre" (1923, posthumous)
*"Lettres à Juliette Adam" (1924, posthumous)
*"Journal Intime" (1878-1885), 2 vol ("Private Diary", 1925–1929)
*"Correspondence Inédite" (1865-1904, unpublished correspondence, 1929)

Notes

External links

Official
* [http://www.ville-rochefort.fr/index.php?module=orki&page=view&id=182&niveau=3 Official site of Maison Pierre Loti] , house museum in Rochefort, in French.Sources
*
* [http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=-contributor%3Agutenberg%20creator%3Apierre%20loti%20AND%20mediatype%3Atexts Works by Pierre Loti] at Internet Archive
*cite book
title=
author=
year=
publisher=
isbn=
url=http://books.google.com/books?as_q=&num=10&btnG=Google+Search&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_libcat=0&as_brr=1&as_vt=&as_auth=pierre+loti&as_pub=&as_drrb=c&as_miny=&as_maxy=&as_isbn=
at Google BooksCommentary
*Rene Doumie. [http://www.archive.org/details/contemporaryfren00doumiala "Contemporary French Novelists"] . New York, Boston : T. Y. Crowell & company. 1899. Biography and critical summary of Loti. From Internet Archive.
*Edmund Gosse. [http://www.archive.org/details/frenchprofiles00gossiala "French Profiles"] . New York : Dodd, Mead and company. 1905. Collected reviews of Loti's works, by literary critic Edmund Gosse. From Internet Archive.
*Albert Leon Guerard. [http://www.archive.org/details/fivemastersoffre00guuoft "Five Masters of French Romance: Anatole France, Pierre Loti, Paul Bourget, Maurice Barrès, Romain Rolland"] . London T. Fisher Unwin. 1916. Biography and literary survey of major works. From Internet Archive.
*Frank Harris. [http://www.archive.org/details/contemporaryport00harriala "Contemporary portraits. Second series"] . New York. 1919. Personal recollections of Loti. From Internet Archive.
*Henry James, ed. [http://www.archive.org/details/impressions00lotiiala "Impressions"] . Westminster : A. Constable and Co. 1898. Introduction by Henry James about Loti's life and works. From Internet Archive.
*Winifred (Stephens) Whale. [http://www.archive.org/details/frenchnovelistso00whaliala "French Novelists of To-day"] . London : John Lane; New York, John Lane company. 1908; see chapter "Pierre Loti", biography and literary survey. From Internet Archive.
* [http://www.islandheritage.org/eifpubs.html Easter Island Foundation] sells an English translation of Loti's account of his visit to Easter Island, along with those of Eugène Eyraud, Hippolyte Roussel and Alphonse Pinart, under the title "Early Visitors to Easter Island 1864-1877."
* [http://georggerrytremmel.npage.de/publikationen_vorschau_16750070.html Pierre Lotis' Madame Chrysanthème]

References

*Lesley Blanch (UK:1982, US:1983). "Pierre Loti: Portrait of an Escapist". US: ISBN 978-0151719310 / UK: ISBN 978-0002116497 - paperback re-print as "Pierre Loti: Travels with the Legendary Romantic" (2004) ISBN 978-1850434290
*Edmund B. D'Auvergne (2002). "Pierre Loti: The Romance of a Great Writer". Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1432573942 (paper), ISBN 978-0710308641 (hardcover).
*

Источник: Pierre Loti

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