Thursday, June 2, 2016

Book of the Day: The most famous French novelist America ever produced

Green, Julien, Terre Lointaine (Love in America) (Paris: Bernard Grasset, Editeur, 1966). 

Julien Green (1900-1998), almost unknown in the United States, was an American writer who spent most of his life in France. His voluminous output of novels, memoirs and diaries won such favor in the francophone world that he was the first non-native elected to the French Academy. 

This book is the third of his autobiographical works and tells the story of an unfulfilled love affair during his time at the University of Virginia, 1919-22: "I believed I was the only one of my kind. I only discovered many years later what was going on there every day and night. `What, didn't you realize?' Yet all the proprieties were observed to the T and, having eyes that were apparently not meant to see, I persevered in my unbelievable ignorance. There is a great deal to be said about the effects of my blindness for it prolonged the end of my childhood and encouraged a late development which it was difficult to catch up with, yet it also helped to preserve many qualities which I would otherwise have lost: a way of looking at the world in all its newness, as if I had just discovered it and above all, I firmly believe, a living faith. . . ."And would I not feel rather ashamed about regretting all this physical delight that I never knew and which would have been so easy to procure? I would be lying if I wrote that I did not regret it. . . . I cannot pretend that a shameful lament for the passionate delights of which my youth deprived me did not well up from the darkest regions of my soul. I know that all that is most Christian in me protests, but mankind is nevertheless a structure of several stories. We praise God from the roof-tops, but what is going on in the gloom of the cellar?"
A convert to Catholicism at 14, Green wrestled all his very long life to reconcile his homosexuality with his faith, and many of his works of fiction deal with private moral failures and public hypocrisies. A personal crisis in the mid-1950s magnified his focus on spiritual issues. The French title is derived from a line in a poem by Villon: “In my country was a distant land.” This paperback (4.75” x 7.5”) is inscribed on the title page from Green to the late UNC-Charlotte dean Glenn S. Burne. Good Condition; some sun fading on the yellow cover boards. HBB price: $175.

Henry Bemis Books is one man’s attempt to bring more diversity and quality to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg market of devoted readers starved for choices. Our website is at Henry Bemis Books is also happy to entertain reasonable offers on items in inventory; for pricing on this or others items, kindly private message us. Shipping is always free; local buyers are welcome to drop by and pick up their purchases at our location off Peachtree Road in Northwest Charlotte if they like. #JulienGreen ‪#‎Autographs ‪#‎Book‬oftheDay ‪#‎RareBooks‬ ‪#‎HenryBemisBooks‬ ‪#‎Charlotte‬
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