By Raymond Roussel
Qu'on ne s'attende pas à un roman d'aventures, encore moins à des souvenirs de voyage : Impressions d'Afrique, paru en 1909, est un laboratoire d'expérimentation littéraire, où l'histoire begin au chapitre I ou au chapitre X, selon le choix du lecteur ; chaque mot en recèle un autre, chaque word contient en germe un roman à venir. Edmond Rostand, le most efficient, fut fasciné ; puis Marcel Duchamp - il dit s'en être inspiré pour l. a. Mariée mise à nu -, Michel Leiris, André Breton,
Georges Perec... Et pourtant, ce texte magistral, où les excès de l'imagination n'ont d'égal que l'extrême
maîtrise de l'écriture, n'intéressa pas même les éditeurs Roussel dut le publier à son compte. Est-ce l'œuvre d'un fou mystificateur ? d'un hermétiste ? d'un oulipien avant l'heure ? Peu importe. Comme l'écrivait Paul Reboux : " C'est un livre extraordinaire, ahurissant, cocasse, chimérique ; donc, ce n'est pas un livre indifférent. "
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Additional info for Impressions d'Afrique
They seldom spoke together, these two; yet there seemed a strange bond of sympathy between them. At last the first of July arrived, and Oscar was dispatched to the railway station, four miles distant, to meet Miss Elizabeth De Graf, the first of the nieces to appear in answer to Jane Merrick's invitation. Beth looked very charming and fresh in her new gown, and she greeted her aunt with a calm graciousness that would have amazed the professor to behold. She had observed carefully the grandeur and beauty of Elmhurst, as she drove through the grounds, and instantly decided the place was worth an effort to win.
This is Louise, I suppose," said Aunt Jane, stiffly. " "Tell me how you are," continued the girl, kneeling beside the chair and taking the withered hands gently in her own. "Do you suffer any? " "Get up," said the elder woman, roughly. " Louise laughed gaily. "Never mind the gown," she answered. "Tell me about yourself. " Aunt Jane's countenance relaxed a trifle. To speak of her broken health always gave her a sort of grim satisfaction. "I'm dying, as you can plainly see," she announced. "My days are numbered, Louise.
Louise asked, smiling. "Surely, two girls will have a better time in this lonely old place 51 than one could have alone. " "Thank you," said Beth. "That's a nice thing to say, but I doubt if it's true. Don't let's beat around the bush. " queried Louise, evidently amused. "It's plain to me that Aunt Jane has invited us here to choose which one of us shall inherit her money—and Elmhurst. " "Oh, yes, she has" corrected Louise. " Louise spoke as calmly as if she had not mailed Patricia's defiant letter to Aunt Jane, or discovered her cousin's identity in the little hair-dresser from Madame Borne's establishment.