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Seducer (It Is Hard to Die in Dieppe; A Novel) Paperback – July 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An obscure 19th-century Danish man of letters is the hero of this biographical fiction from Danish novelist Stangerup ( The Road to Lagoa Santa ). Critic, journalist, poet and novelist, Peder Ludvig Moller died in a French mental asylum in 1865 at the age of 51, having squandered his gifts and energy in sensual pursuits. In tracing the demons that chase Moller throughout Europe and eventually destroy him, Stangerup seamlessly incorporates his research into the narrative: descriptions of European capitals in the 19th century are intensely atmospheric; the speeches of his Moller are direct citations. But he fails to vivify the obsessions that drive his character, chief among which is hatred of arch-nemesis Soren Kierkegaard. Readers without an understanding of the intellectual currents of the time (Hegel's systematic philosophy; Kierkegaard's prefiguration of existentialism and engagement with Christianity) will not grasp the significance of Moller's fatal ambitions and appetites; for them, the novel will lack the necessary urgency.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Stangerup, in a preface to this English translation of his Danish novel, insists that it is a novel, not a biography disguised as a novel. Peder Ludwig Moller was a Danish writer and critic, a contemporary of Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen, and the novel follows him on a kind of drunk and debauched European tour. He lacked Joyce's strength of "exile, silence and cunning." He was a realist, and fought against the waves of romanticism and idealism. But like many realists, he could not bear much reality. He went wild on hashish, alcohol and unsafe sex and died of syphilis in Dieppe. He spent much of his tour in Germany, and like most Danes today, he felt that the Germans knew absolutely nothing about food. He found the boys "dimwitted, clumsy and loutish," the men had "hands like shovels and belched and farted," while the women had "gross feet and piss-colored hair." Berlin was the pits, and Weimar was worse. He wrote articles and letters in vitriolic disgust and sent them back to Denmark to earn money. We might well say so what to all this cultural and culinary kvetching were it not for the lively style of Stangerup, who seduces us into a sympathy for this latter day literary Viking by the sheer quality of the writing. Moller was a critic, who could discern the power of a Baudelaire or a Hans Christian. Sean Martin's translation reads with ease and enhances the rightful position of the Danish language on the European mindscape. -- From Independent Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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