Posted 20 hours ago

Monsieur Teste: 6 (Collected Works of Paul Valery)

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Summary: "The famous opening line of Monsieur Teste -- "Stupidity is not my strong suit"--Is typical of Monsieur Teste, and of Valery as well. Obviously she didn’t actually help, but she made me feel very at ease and gave lots of positive feedback to let me know that, yes, I was still making sense and not burbling. from "Extracts from Monsieur Teste’s Logbook" (1925): Between a clear Self and a cloudy Self, a just Self and a guilty Self, there are old hatreds and old compromises, old disavowals and old entreaties.

Best of all, I resisted my natural inclination to improvise and get myself into convoluted subclauses with no way out.I read this book in 2003 and it made a strong impression on me without my actually understanding it.

Valéry's thought here is difficult and his language often abstract; more likely to satisfy readers of a philosophical and aphoristic bent than those seeking the pleasures of conventional fiction.

While described as a novel, it’s a genre-defying montage of fiction, philosophical fragments, letters, epigrams, all written over the period of 50 years.

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