Read Messalina: A Novel Of Imperial Rome by Alfred Jarry Free Online
Book Title: Messalina: A Novel Of Imperial Rome|
The size of the: 974 KB
Edition: Atlas Press
Date of issue: 1986
The author of the book: Alfred Jarry
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9780947757076
Read full description of the books Messalina: A Novel Of Imperial Rome:This novella (hardly a novel, at 78 or so pages) is an interesting mix of history grounded in several ancient Roman writers' accounts, with dream-like scenarios and imagery prefiguring the writing of Borges and Calvino. The Surrealists saw a kindred spirit in their predecessor Alfred Jarry, and here it is easy to see why.
The eponymous heroine of the book is third wife of the Emperor Claudius and a notorious nymphomaniac, who meets her death when she pushes her luck too far by staging a public marriage ceremony with her favorite inamorata, and the oblivious and besotted Emperor finally is informed of her many adulteries and is compelled to act.
Messalina's sexual escapades, which include frequent evenings posing as a courtesan in the slums of the Subura, are here given a metaphysical cast, as her fevered pursuit of the god Phales/Priapus, with whom she seeks a mystical communion. While the language evoking sex here is coded and rather tame by modern standards, it must have been titillating to its late Victorian audience. The book's overall tone is very much in keeping with the French Decadent writers of the period; a mood of menace coupled with terrible beauty suffuses the book, leaving a distinctly sensual impression.
Read information about the authorAlfred Jarry was a French writer born in Laval, Mayenne, France, not far from the border of Brittany; he was of Breton descent on his mother's side.
Best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896), which is often cited as a forerunner to the surrealist theatre of the 1920s and 1930s, Jarry wrote in a variety of genres and styles. He wrote plays, novels, poetry, essays and speculative journalism. His texts present some pioneering work in the field of absurdist literature. Sometimes grotesque or misunderstood (i.e. the opening line in his play Ubu Roi, "Merdre!", has been translated into English as "Pshit!", "Shitteth!", "Shittr!", "Shikt!", "Shrit!" and "Pschitt!"), he invented a pseudoscience called 'Pataphysics.
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