Title: The Inferno
Publisher: Boni & Liveright
Publication Date: 1918
Edition: 1st Edition.
New York. 1918. Boni & Liveright. 1st American Edition. Previous Owner's Name In Front, Otherwise Good.No Dustjacket. 30. 251 pages. hardcover. keywords: May 17. inventory # 31551. FROM THE PUBLISHER - In introducing M. Barbusse’s most important book to a public already familiar with ‘Under Fire,’ it seems well to point out the relation of the author’s philosophy to his own time, and the kinship of his art to that of certain other contemporary French and English novelists. ‘L’Enfer’ has been more widely read and discussed in France than any other realistic study since the days of Zola. The French sales of the volume, in 1917 alone, exceeded a hundred thousand copies, a popularity all the more remarkable from the fact that its appeal is based as much on its philosophical substance as on the story which it tells. Although M. Barbusse is one of the most distinguished contemporary French writers of short stories, he has found in the novel form the most fitting literary medium for the expression of his philosophy, and it is to realism rather than romanticism that he turns for the exposition of his special imaginative point of view. He perceives that each man is an island of illimitable forces apart from his fellows, passionately eager to live his own life to the last degree of self-fulfilment, but continually thwarted by nature and by other men and women, until death interposes and sets the seal of oblivion upon all that he has dreamed and sought. And he has set himself the task of disengaging, as far as possible, the purpose and hope of human life, of endeavouring to discover what promise exists for the future and how this promise can be related to the present, of marking the relationship between eternity and time, and discovering, through the tragedies of birth, love, marriage, illness and death, the ultimate possibility of human development and fulfilment. ‘The Inferno’ is therefore a tragic book. But the attentive reader will find that the destructive criticism of M. Barbusse, in so far as it is possible for him to agree with it, only clears away the dead undergrowth which obscures the author’s passionate hope and belief in the future. Although the action of this story is spiritual as well as physical, and occupies less than a month of time, it is focussed intensely upon reality. Everything that the author permits us to see and understand is seen through a single point of life-a hole pierced in the wall between two rooms of a grey Paris boarding house. The time is most often twilight, with its romantic penumbra, darkening into the obscurity of night by imperceptible degrees. . Previous Owner's Name In Front, Otherwise Good.No Dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 31551
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