The Adventures of Telemachus
by Louis Aragon
Translated and with an Introduction by Renée Riese Hubert and Judd D. Hubert
144 pages, paperback
This is the first paperback edition in English of one of the most important and entertaining works of Surrealist fiction. Aragon’s 1922 novel boldly appropriates the title and plot of a didactic 17th-century epic, recounting the adventures of Odysseus’ son Telemachus; but the moralistic underpinnings of the original are replaced by a Surrealist’s dedication to the strange, the beautiful, and the erotic.
Though a classic of Surrealism, this is not automatic writing; on the contrary, it is a wryly self-conscious book, full of the kinds of intertextual games associated with writers such as Borges and Calvino. As the Huberts comment in their Introduction, “Aragon did not have to liberate his mind through automatic exercises; but by mastering and playing with the narrative… he succeeded in freeing himself from the constraints of mimeticism… descend[ing] into the diabolical nirvana of dada.
“In this inventive translation… Aragon’s farce is a funhouse of double-think and mirror readings; the wise reader enters with disbelief well suspended and a taste for the game” — New York Times Book Review
“Most enjoyable reading, accompanied by an excellent introduction and helpful notes.” — Library Journal