Re: RARA-AVIS: Slang (Carco - Le Breton)

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 21 Jun 2003

At 16:27 20-06-03 -0400, Mark Sullivan wrote:
>>Etienne wrote:
>>"(see Francis Carco for instance, or even parts of the memoirs written
>by Vidocq)."

>I've got but never read a Black Lizard od Carco's Perversity (translated
>by Jean Rhys). Is it a good book?

I didn't read this book (Perversit頭 1927). It was never republished in French after 1955. From what I know it had a rather good reputation, considered as one of the good novels by Carco. A novel about the lower end of the underworld, it seems it also handles some characters having drug problems (??) - opium and its derivates were popular amongst the French intelligentsia of the early 20th century. The sources for drugs where already to be found with the underworld, low grade show people, special bars... which explain why this kind of surroundings were still haunted by upper middle-class artists in search of drugs, and not only by poor painters, poets or writers like the legend of Montmartre reports. His best novels are "Jesus la Caille" (1914) and "L'homme traqu馱uot;-1922-
(literally:the chased man) both having the underworld as background. Pure slang works by Carco are to be found in his songs and in some of his poems; in his novels slang was only partially used, and not at all in some others. He was rather prolific, as we have to add plays, essays on art, documents about the low or forgotten classes of French society, and several volumes of memoirs on his long bibliography.

>>"Another one was   Andr頌e Breton starting with his famous "Du
>>rififi chez les hommes"-1953 (slang for : 'Clash amongst the Though
>>Guys'), and followed by many more."

>I take it that this is not surrealist Andre Breton?

Mark, You're right Le Breton has nothing to do with Andr頂reton (writer and
"Pope" of the French surrealists before WW2). I made a lapsus (of the calami kind...)in my previous message: the HB writer's full name is *Auguste* Le Breton. Sorry for the confusion!

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries

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