Read The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet Free Online
Book Title: The Devil in the Flesh|
The author of the book: Raymond Radiguet
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1709 times
Reader ratings: 7.6
Edition: Marion Boyars Publishers
Date of issue: September 1st 1987
ISBN 13: 9780714501932
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 844 KB
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One of the greatest tragedies of 20th century literature was the death of Raymond Radiguet in 1923. Having written this novel in his teens he finally succumbed to typhoid at the age of 20. In his short life he dazzled France's artistic community, becoming friends with Picasso and Jean Cocteau, even Coco Chanel arranged his funeral. When we discuss him we can only make assumptions and question what he would have become if he hadn't died so young. However, we can keep him alive by reading what little work he left us in his wake.
The Devil in the Flesh concerns the love affair between a 16y/o boy and a 19y/o married woman whose husband is away fighting in WWI. Like in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man we are presented with a highly precocious youth who seems to know the true meaning of life and love whilst in his mid-teens. The torrid love affair is depicted with all the difficulties and foibles that we find in many of these "forbidden love" novels that saturated 19th-century France. However this one differs because it feels fresh. One must remember that this was written by a teenager so the teenage voice of our main character is truly a teenage voice. This isn't some white guy in his mid-30s trying to depict teenagers having sex, this is an actual teenager writing about what he knows and through that we discover one of the most believable and relatable teenage voices in fiction.
Anyone who knows anything about Radiguet will realise that this is clearly a highly autobiographical work. Not only was he famous for his writing, he was also known for being quite... amorous. I mean, if Hemingway makes jokes about how much sex you have then you know you lead a pretty busy life. Thus the depiction of the affair is told through a highly eroticised eye. However, we're used to that, this is a French novel of course.
Overall this is a wonderful little novel of romance, secrecy and the erotic. I mean, the fact that this book written by a 19-year-old is published by Penguin Modern Classics kind of explains everything. It's a true French classic. I was shocked when I logged on here to write my review and I noticed that this hasn't even received 2,000 ratings. Ugh, the best ones are never read are they? So I will hold this book aloft and hope the world sees it. Radiguet isn't dead, every page keeps him alive.
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Read information about the authorRadiguet was born in Saint-Maur, Val-de-Marne close to Paris, the son of a caricaturist. In 1917 he moved to the city. Soon he would drop out of the Lycée Charlemagne, where he studied, in order to pursue his interests in journalism and literature. He associated himself with the Modernist set, befriending Picasso, Max Jacob, Jean Hugo, Juan Gris and especially Jean Cocteau, who became his mentor. Radiguet also had several well-documented relationships with women. An anecdote told by Ernest Hemingway has an enraged Cocteau charging Radiguet (known in the Parisian literary circles as "Monsieur Bébé" – Mister Baby) with decadence for his tryst with a model: "Bébé est vicieuse. Il aime les femmes." ("Baby is depraved. He likes women." [Note the use of the feminine adjective:]). Radiguet, Hemingway implies, employed his sexuality to advance his career, being a writer "who knew how to make his career not only with his pen but with his pencil."[1:][2:]
In early 1923 Radiguet published his first and most famous novel, Le Diable au corps (The Devil in the Flesh). The story of a young married woman who has an affair with a sixteen-year-old boy while her husband is away fighting at the front provoked scandal in a country that had just been through World War I. Though Radiguet denied it, it was established later that the story was in large part autobiographical. Critics, who initially despised the intense publicity campaign for the book's release (something not normally associated with works of literary merit at the time), were finally won over by the quality of Radiguet's writing and his sober, objective style.
His second novel, Le bal du Comte d'Orgel, also dealing with adultery, was only published posthumously in 1924. Radiguet had died the previous year, aged 20, of typhoid fever, which he contracted after a trip he took with Cocteau. In reaction to this death Francis Poulenc wrote, "For two days I was unable to do anything, I was so stunned" (Ivry 1996). Alongside these two novels, Radiguet's works include a few poetry volumes and a play.
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