Saturday, January 16, 2016

"Francis Carco: The Career of a Literary Bohemian" by Seymour S. Weiner (Columbia University Press, 1952, O.P.)




"Francis Carco: The Career of a Literary Bohemian" by Seymour S. Weiner (Columbia University Press, 1952, O.P.)


I have only read two books by Francis Carco.  "Perversity" and "Streetcorners."   He's the poet of the criminal underground - which means the world of sleazy Parisian bars, the home of whores and their pimps, and a landscape full of alcohol and drugs.   A remarkable world, of course!    Compared to what he wrote in his native language and published in France, there is very little of his works translated into English, and all, I believe is out of print.  Which is a horrible shame, because he is clearly an important and major voice in French literature.



Through the Los Angeles library system, I found a copy of the Seymour S. Weiner's book of Carco, which is both a biography and a literary study on the writer.   It's a wonderful book, but on the other hand, it's a weird way to be introduced to Carco, considering there is literary analysis on books I have never read or even heard of.  It is very much like reading on a phantom writer that doesn't exist.

Carco clearly knew what he was writing about.  He understood the world of criminals and their needs and wants.   He is sort of a combination of Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski - in the fact that both writers cover their territory to the fullest.   Weiner, who wrote this book in 1952 or therefore, and published that year, is not meant to be a public general reading matter, but as an academic study on a man and his writing.   The best part of the book for me, since I haven't read that much of Carco's work, is the chapter devoted to authors who influenced Carco.  Especially François Villon, the criminal poet.  Worth tracking down, but a must to read Carco's works.   I recommend the two books I have read, both "Perversity" and "Streetcorners" (published by the great Los Angeles located press, Green Integer).  


- Tosh Berman

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