Literary Classics

Histoires naturelles by Jules Renard

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By Jules Renard

De ses promenades à travers les prés, les routes et les jardins de sa Nièvre natale. Jules Renard, chasseur d'images ", ramène dans sa gibecière des images croqués sur le vif: insectes et animaux des bois, volailles des basses-cours et bêtes domestiques, rien n'échappe à l'oeil de l'écrivain, qui sait faire surgir le trait saillant, drôle, inattendu mais juste, d'une précision "mathématique", comme il aimait à le dire lui-même. Les Histoires naturelles, assortment de images cocasses et attendris, trésor d'humour et de délicatesse, sont le résultat d'un sens de l'observation qui tient à los angeles fois du naturaliste et du poète.

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This air of realism was heightened by a promotional stunt Irving pulled off with the help of Henry Brevoort and James Kirke Paulding. In the weeks prior to publication, he published a report in the New York Evening Post that an elderly gentleman by the name of Knickerbocker had wandered off from his lodgings without paying his rent, leaving behind only a collection of papers in manuscript. In a subsequent issue, a letter to the editor reported that a gentleman matching Knickerbocker舗s description had been seen in the Hudson River Valley, walking north toward Albany.

Thus accoutred, he gravely walked into the room, with his ivory-headed ebony cane in one hand, and gently swaying his three-cornered beaver with the other.

374). This hoax was remarkably successful, so much so that for a time Irving舗s narrator gained greater notoriety than the author himself. The historical accuracy of his narrative of New York舗s history as the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam made his mock-heroic epic more than a Swiftean satire. It provided the newly formed nation with a basis for history that was free of associations with British colonial rule. 舡 America舗s need to declare its cultural independence from Britain intensified in the decade following the War of 1812.

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