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Blood Dark


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Set during World War I, this monumental philosophical novel about human despair inspired Albert Camus' own writing and prefigured the greater existential movement.

About the Author

Louis Guilloux (1899-1980) worked as a left-wing organizer, a literary translator, and an interpreter for the American army in France. Laura Marris is a writer, translator, and Lecturer in Creative Writing at Boston University. Alice Kaplan is the author of The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is John M. Musser Professor of French at Yale University.


"Laura Marris's disarmingly colloquial translation--the first in English since 1936, when the book was titled Bitter Victory--makes accessible a novel that chronicles, as though in real time, the transformations the catastrophe of World War I wrought on European civilization. It's a masterwork that in France is spoken of in the same breath as C line's Journey to the End of the Night and Sartre's Nausea....there is a revelatory sense reading Guilloux's novel that one has found a key text linking the sparkling contempt of Flaubert to the tender resignation of Camus." --Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

"Guilloux's work deserves to be better known in the anglophone world; it's good news that this major novel has resurfaced in Laura Marris's attentive and accomplished translation." --Adrian Tahourdin, Times Literary Supplement

"Considered a masterpiece by Gide, Malraux, Camus, and Pasternak, Guilloux's 1935 Blood Dark remains the least known in English of France's twentieth-century blockbuster novels. Guilloux breaks with the tidiness of traditional French fiction to provide a hallucinatory--and tragicomic--vision of a single day in the life (and death) of a small port town in Brittany during the mutinous and revolutionary year of 1917. At the heart of this apocalyptic satire lies the outsize figure of Cripure, a nihilistic highschool teacher of philosophy, a monstrous Ahab of the intellect suicidally in quest of his Nietzschean white whale. Guilloux's Le Sang noir here emerges afresh--and urgent--in this new translation by Laura Marris." --Richard Sieburth

"We come upon Blood Dark with something of a shock. For here is a novel projected in the grand style of the nineteenth century, a mountain of a novel, sprawling . . . out of which there emerges a great tragic figure." --Harold Strauss, The New York Times

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