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Cahiers / Notebooks 1

Valéry, Paul

Cahiers / Notebooks 1

Editor in Chief: Brian Stimpson
Associate Editors: Paul Gifford and Robert Pickering
Translated by Paul Gifford, Siân Miles, Robert Pickering and Brian Stimpson

Year of Publication: 2000

Frankfurt/M., Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2000. 654 pp., num. fig.
ISBN 978-3-631-34881-9 hardback, clothbound  (Hardcover)

Weight: 1.030 kg, 2.271 lbs

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Book synopsis

The Cahiers/Notebooks of Paul Valéry are a unique form of writing. They reveal Valéry as one of the most radical and creative minds of the twentieth century, encompassing a wide range of investigation into all spheres of human activity. His work explores the arts, the sciences, philosophy, history and politics, investigating linguistic, psychological and social issues, all linked to the central questions, relentlessly posed: ‘what is the human mind and how does it work?’, ‘what is the potential of thought and what are its limits?’
But we encounter here too, Valéry the writer: exploratory, fragmentary texts undermine the boundaries between analysis and creativity, between theory and practice. Neither journal nor diary, eluding the traditional genres of writing, the Notebooks offer lyrical passages, writing of extreme beauty, prose poems of extraordinary descriptive power alongside theoretical considerations of poetics, ironic aphorisms and the most abstract kind of analysis. The concerns and the insights that occupied Valéry’s inner voyages over more than 50 years remain as relevant as ever for the contemporary reader: for the Self that is his principal subject is at once singular and universal.


Contents: Valéry’s Notebooks, the nearest modern equivalent to the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci – Valéry, one of the most outstanding French thinkers of the twentieth century – A wide range of investigation into all spheres of human activity – Self – Writing – Poetics – Language – Science – Mathematics – Art – Psychology – Dream – Philosophy – History – Politics.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editors: Brian Stimpson is Professor of Twentieth-Century French Literature at the University of Surrey Roehampton.
Paul Gifford is Buchanan Professor of French at the University of St Andrews.
Robert Pickering is Professor of French Literature at the Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand.
Brian Stimpson, Paul Gifford and Robert Pickering have published a number of books about Paul Valéry.


«Editing the ‘Cahiers’ is a monumental undertaking, and Brian Stimpson, Paul Gifford, and Robert Pickering have acquitted themselves honorably. The first two volumes of the projected series give every indication of meticulous research and scholarship. The books are handsome; the typeface is delicate but readable; and the endnotes are what endnotes are supposed to be: enlightening addenda served up in pithy, eloquent prose.» (Arthur Krystal, Harper’s Magazine)