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The Death of the Author Paperback – Jun 1 2008

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Paperback, Jun 1 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (June 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933633573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933633572
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 18.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,063,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A French academic hiding his collaborationist past resurrects himself in America in this misfired novella. Professor of literature at the Yale-like New Harbor, Léopold Sfax, the novella's wily, boorish narrator, has become a celebrity in literary America for espousing his capital-T Theory that words are far older and fickler and more experienced than the writers who... are 'using' them. When eager grad student Astrid Hunneker embarks on writing his biography, Sfax nervously pads his backstory, omitting the embarrassing parts that took place during WWII, when as a young man living in occupied Paris he was asked to contribute to a collaborationist magazine. Yet Sfax returns obsessively to this period, revealing that he pseudonymously wrote scores of Nazi hack work articles and was denounced in a traitor's gallery published by the Resistance in 1943. Adair skillfully constructs his protagonist's elaborate, circuitous justifications, and even introduces a mystery, though too late to keep afloat a narrative weighted down by the narrator's unceasingly haughty academic rhetoric. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for Gilbert Adair's The Death of The Author

"Brillant, worthy of Nabokov."
—David Lodge

"Funny, gripping, and very clever... A brilliant black satire on cultural cultishness... It also works brilliantly as a detective story with apparently motiveless murders."

—Philip Howard, The Times

"The Death of the Author brilliantly combines a serious critique of a dodgy intellectual movement with a suspense-driven detective story."
—Lucasta Miller, Financial Times

"In a brilliantly exact imitaton of the style of Nabokov, Leo Sfaz recounts his life-and-death story. Once a pro-Nazi journalist in France, now an academic hero in somewhere very like Yale, he applies the fashionable technique of deconstruction (text means anything the reader wants it to mean, the author's intentions are nothing, text does not really have authors) to conceal or invert his own ignominius past. But some neat muder mystification is found a place in this dazzling satire of literary-critical pertension."
—Anthony Quinton, Evening Standard

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa48ac5d0) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0xa47815d0) out of 5 stars too pedantic July 6 2015
By Bartok Kinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The author attempts to puzzle the reader, repeating passages and inviting metaphysical speculation. The author, in the story, is some academic trying to write a book about a "theory", much like Jacques Derrida's "Deconstruction". It also devolves into a murder story.

I felt that in all, it was too pedantic and jarringly confusing to be of any good.

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