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Pierre Boulle

Pierre Boulle

(1996)
A non fiction book by

 
Pierre Boulle's oeuvre is unique in French literature. There are few contemporary writers whose novels reflect in such faithful detail the spirit and structure of our time. But his work is much more than a reflection on the fate of the individual in the great political, social, and intellectual upheavals of the modern world; it is also a philosophical inquiry into the mystery of human existence. In Pierre Boulle, Lucille Becker analyzes this diverse body of work. She traces in the author's three autobiographical works the background of his fiction as well as the source of his major themes. Becker shows how Boulle's early adventures as a rubber planter in Malaya in the 1930s and then as a member of the French Resistance, a secret agent, and a prisoner of war in Indochina during World War II supplied the background and atmosphere for the novels that he sets in Southeast Asia. The best known of his works, and the most outstanding, is The Bridge over the River Kwai, which was awarded the Prix Sainte-Beuve in 1952. In this novel all of the elements of the writer's literary art converge against the background of Southeast Asia. Boulle's skill as a storyteller is nowhere more apparent than in this remarkable novel, where we find, together with certain autobiographical elements, variations on several of his most important themes, among them the transformation of a man under the pressure of circumstances, the inevitable corruption of all human enterprise, and the relativity of good and evil. Boulle's scientific education inspired a series of science fiction novels and short stories - which Becker places within the context of the genre - the most acclaimed being Planet of the Apes. Here, as in her discussion of The Bridge over the River Kwai, she provides in-depth analysis of the relationship between the novel and the film adaptation.

 
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Hardback Editions

January 1996 : USA Hardback
Title: World Authors Series: Pierre Boulle
Author(s): Lucille Frackman Becker
ISBN: 0-8057-8272-9 / 978-0-8057-8272-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Twayne Publishers
Availability: Amazon   



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