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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Sunday, 10 February 2013

A little licentiousness

Thursday, February 10th., Cadogan Square, London.

I have now read positively as much as I shall read of Fleuret's "Histoire de la Bienheureuse Fille Raton".

Fernand Fleuret (1883-1945) grew up in Normandy, with his grandfather. He studied at various schools. Undisciplined student, he was sent to the Jesuits. Based in Paris, where he earned his living as a journalist, and begian his career as a writer by producing a stylish and fanciful poetry that appealed to the literary and artistic circles of the time. Tiring of his socialite life style, he settled in southern France and married the feminist Gabrielle RĂ©val, 15 years his senior. Later, eager to resume his bohemian life, he returned to the capital, but nevertheless kept a deep affection for Gabrielle Reval who supported him until the end. Pascal Pia said of him: "No trade has been more enjoyable or more productive than the company of Fleuret and his work . I should have said it earlier and I should have shown how, by an extraordinary encounter, erudition, humour and poetry made of Fleuret a character not so common to find, and as, perhaps, there had been none since Nerval."

It contains a good idea - that of professional fornication for the love of god - and some excellent scenes. But it is not quite good enough, and much of its attraction depends on its extreme licentiousness. Indeed, you can see the author passing on from scene to scene, each exceeding the previous one in licentiousness, exactly in the manner of a mere bawdy book. I did not read by any means all the middle part of it. Still it is a book to examine.

I saw by chance in the Nation a wonderful description of a thunder and hailstorm at a popular resort on a mountain top, by D. H. Lawrence. He can do it sometimes. In fact he can damned well do it sometimes!

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