Eroom Nala (eroomnala) wrote,
Eroom Nala

Raymond Roussel 1877-1933

"My fame will outshine that of Victor Hugo or Napoleon". - Raymond Roussel

I first became aware of Raymond Roussel from an entry about him in the A-Z of Great Writers.

"Even his end was part of a plan whose author never seemed eager to let it be understood"

An eccentric millionaire who inherited his money and used it to put on elaborate stage productions of his works with huge casts, was one of the first people to travel around in a mobile home or roulotte [Gypsy Caravan] made from his own design (30 fee long by 8 feet wide) with enough room for himself and 3 manservants and ended up suiciding slowly over a long period of time using barbituates when his money eventually ran out.

According to a recent biography he was

an astonishing individual whose life was almost as intriguing as his unique literary opus....Since his death, Roussel’s writings have come to be seen as not only unique, but as a body of work that has aroused enthusiastic appreciation and interpretation from nearly all the major French Iiterary movements that have followed

The library where I work has two copies of his Locus Solus but unfortunately they're in Polish and Turkish. In English we do have a copy of Raymond Roussel: Life Death & Works which gives you a taste of what he wrote.

and Atlas Press or if you prefer @las press have just published a new English translation of his New Impressions of Africa as their 13th anticlassic which I wouldn't mind getting.

The famous psychologist Pierre Janet published Roussel's case history in The Psychological Charactersitics of Ecstasy sometimes also entitled From Anguish to Ecstasy.

Here's an example of how he wrote one of his books:

and here's his favourite photograph of himself taken at age 19.

In his will Roussel requested this photograph be used as the frontispiece for all his posthumous works

Photogaphed in Milan, October 1896

and here's his grave:

The c@ in the h@ s@ on the m@
"Dr@ th@ gn@"

In the 1990's a cache of his unpublished manuscripts came to light, whose eventual publication will ensure that his next relapse into obscurity is some years off.


Managed to see all but one episode of David Attenborough's Life in the Undergrowth series. Nature's red in tooth and claw even down at the miniscule insect level. He also showed the same thing for plants a few years back. Particularly creepy was the parasites episode.
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