A Word from the Editor
In case you haven’t picked it up already, this month’s Buzz, Laurent Binet’s Seventh Function of Language, should get you rushing to your local bookstore. As our reviewer Michael Mulvey, myself, and all the people I know who have read it can vouch, this irreverent and sometimes over-the-top send-up of 1970s semiotics will have you in stitches and leave you wondering why the author isn’t in jail for libel.
In Maybe Missed, Dan Hobbins assesses Jean-Christophe Rufin’s The Dream Maker, a novel about Charles VII’s ill-fated treasurer Jacques Coeur. For Rufin Coeur is a romantic at heart, enamored with the East, who wishes France to increase its trade with the Ottoman Empire and cultivate closer ties. He pursues profit recklessly and becomes immensely wealthy at the expense of a resentful nobility. Hobbins questions the modernity Rufin sees in Coeur, which, as the author concedes, may be more a portrait of himself than that of a fifteenth-century adventurer and financier.
In the Classics section, Rosemary Peters-Hill revisits René Clément’s 1956 film Gervaise, based on Emile Zola’s L’Assommoir. While Zola’s novel depicts alcoholism in its manifold horrors, Clément shifts the attention to the fate of artisans in mid-nineteenth-century Paris. If the preview presents the film as a romp and jolly ménage à trois –if not quatre– the film is in reality a much more sober depiction of the hardships men and especially women endured to survive.
Rosemary Peters-Hill graciously undertook this review after the death of Rachel Fuchs who was the original reviewer.
University at Buffalo, SUNY