- 165,213 ratings
- October 29th 2013
(first published November 25th 1864)
- Date of birth: September 14, 1926
- Died: August 24, 2016
- Born: in Mons-en-Barœul, France.
- Description: Michel Marie François Butor was born in Mons-en-Barœul, a suburb of Lille. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, graduating in 1947. He has taught in Egypt, Manchester, Thessaloniki, the United States, and Geneva. He has won many literary awards for his work, including the Prix Apollo, the Prix Fénéon; and the Prix Renaudot.
Journalists and critics have associated his novels with the nouveau roman, but Butor himself long resisted that association. The main point of similarity is a very general one, not much beyond that; like exponents of the nouveau roman, he can be described as an experimental writer. His best-known novel, La Modification, for instance, is written entirely in the second person. In his 1967 La critique et l'invention, he famously said that even the most literal quotation is already a kind of parody because of its "trans-contextualization."
For decades, he chose to work in other forms, from essays to poetry to artist's books to unclassifiable works like Mobile. Literature, painting and travel are subjects particularly dear to Butor. Part of the fascination of his writing is the way it combines the rigorous symmetries that led Roland Barthes to praise him as an epitome of structuralism (exemplified, for instance, by the architectural scheme of Passage de Milan or the calendrical structure of L'emploi du temps) with a lyrical sensibility more akin to Baudelaire than to Robbe-Grillet.