Opium: The Diary of His Cure


Jean Cocteau - 1930
    It also contains reminiscences of some of Cocteau's closet friends, including Nijinsky and Marcel Proust, and provides revealing insights into the creation of such masterpieces as Orphee and Les Enfants Terribles.

L'Homme foudroyé


Blaise Cendrars - 1945
    From Africa to South America, Cendrars encounters everyone from Gallic gipsies to Piquita, the Mexican millionairess. And to all his encounters he brings the vitality, savage humour and vivid observation that characterize his dazzling writing.

Renoir, My Father


Jean Renoir - 1958
    Recounting Pierre-Auguste's extraordinary career, beginning as a painter of fans and porcelain, recording the rules of thumb by which he worked, and capturing his unpretentious and wonderfully engaging talk and personality, Jean Renoir's book is both a wonderful double portrait of father and son, and in the words of the distinguished art historian John Golding, it "remains the best account of Renoir, and, furthermore, among the most beautiful and moving biographies we have." Includes 12 pages of color plates and 18 pages of black and white images.

Hard Times: Force of Circumstance, Volume II: 1952-1962 (The Autobiography of Simone de Beauvoir)


Simone de Beauvoir - 1960
    Beauvoir recounts her difficult long-distance romance with novelist Nelson Algren and her involvement with Claude Lanzmann (the future director of Shoah). She also vividly describes her travels with Sartre to Brazil and Cuba, reveals her private sense of despair in reaction to French atrocities in Algeria, and confronts her own deepening depression. Simone de Beauvoir's outstanding achievement is to have left us an admirable record of her unceasing battle to become an independent woman and writer.Introduction by Toril Moi

Letters of Marcel Proust


Marcel Proust - 1949
    Mina Curtiss especially chose them as apt illustrations of Proust's growing sensibility and intellectual power during the gestation of the novel.Indeed, many of the characters in the book are drawn from the men and women we meet here. The letters are also exciting as an unfolding panorama of the Belle Epoque and for their superb insights into literature, art and music.Published by Helen Marx Books and Books & Co.

Letters to Felice‎ (Schocken Classics)


Franz Kafka - 1967
    Energetic, down-to-earth, and life-affirming, the twenty-five-year-old secretary was everything Kafka was not, and he was instantly smitten. Because he was living in Prague and she in Berlin, his courtship was largely an epistolary one--passionate, self-deprecating, and anxious letters sent almost daily, sometimes even two or three times a day. But soon after their engagement was announced in 1914, Kafka began to worry that marriage would interfere with his writing and his need for solitude.The more than five hundred letters Kafka wrote to Felice--through their breakup, a second engagement in 1917, and their final parting in the fall of that year, when Kafka began to feel the effects of the tuberculosis that would eventually claim his life--reveal the full measure of his inner turmoil as he tried, in vain, to balance his desire for human connection with what he felt were the solitary demands of his craft.

Writing


Marguerite Duras - 1993
    Written in the splendid bareness of her late style, these pages are Marguerite Duras's theory of literature: comparing a dying fly to the work of style; remembering the trance and incurable disarray of writing; recreating the last moments of a British pilot shot during World War II and buried next to her house; or else letting out a magisterial, so what? To question six decades of storytelling, all the essays together operate as a deceitful, yet indispensable confession.

My Mother's House & Sido


Colette - 1930
    Vividly alive, fond of cities, music, theater, and books, Sido devoted herself to her village, Saint-Saveur; to her garden, with its inhabitants and its animals; and, especially, to her children, particularly her youngest, whom she called Minet-Chéri. Unlike Gigi and Chéri, which focus largely on sexual love and its repercussions, My Mother's House and Sido center on the compelling figure of a powerful, nurturing woman in late-nineteenth-century rural France, conveying the impact she had on her community and on her daughter -- who grew up to be a great writer.

The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time


Phyllis Rose - 1997
    As Rose learned, you don't have to live through an unhappy childhood or celebrity adulthood to write an autobiography. You just need patience, candor, and a close-to-scientific passion for truth. She begins to learn how to navigate the intricacies of Proust's novels, at the same time reflecting on the course of her own life.With striking honesty, Rose writes about marriage, friendship, childbirth, and her own mortality. As she moves from daily experience to what she's read and back again, she illuminates how the close reading of her own life reveals truths for the rest of us and how such a subtle celebration of books can help us live.

Manhood: A Journey from Childhood into the Fierce Order of Virility


Michel Leiris - 1939
    "Not only one of the frankest of autobiographies, but also a brilliantly written book, Leiris' Manhood mingles memories, philosophic reflections, sexual revelation, meditations on bullfighting, and the life-long progress of self-discovery."—Washington Post Book World "Leiris writes to appall, and thereby to receive from his readers the gift of a strong emotion—the emotion needed to defend himself against the indignation and disgust he expects to arouse in his readers."—Susan Sontag, New York Review of Books

The Tale of the Rose: The Love Story Behind The Little Prince


Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry - 2001
    He was large in his passions, a fierce loner with a childlike appetite for danger. She was frail and voluble, exotic and capricious. Within hours of their first encounter, he knew he would have her as his wife.Their love affair and marriage would take them from Buenos Aires to Paris to Casablanca to New York. It would take them through periods of betrayal and infidelity, pain and intense passion, devastating abandonment and tender, poetic love. The Tale of the Rose is the story of a man of extravagant dreams and of the woman who was his muse, the inspiration for the Little Prince’s beloved rose—unique in all the world—whom he could not live with and could not live without.

My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood


Marcel Pagnol - 1957
    But he never forgot the magic of his Provencal childhood, and when he set his memories to paper late in life the result was a great new success. My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle appeared on the scene like a fresh breeze, captivating readers with its sweet enchantments. Pagnol recalls his days hunting and fishing in the hill country, his jaunts about Marseilles, his schoolboy diversions, and above all his family: his anticlerical father and sanctimonious uncle, his mild and beautiful mother, and many others. This bright and lively book sparkles with the charm and magic that were Marcel Pagnol's own.

Memoirs of Napoleon - Complete


Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne - 1832
    You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1914-1920


Anaïs Nin - 1978
    "An enchanting portrait of a girl's constant search for herself" (Library Journal). Preface by Joaquin Nin-Culmell; Index; photographs and drawings. Translated by Jean L. Sherman.

Ariel or the Life of Shelley


André Maurois - 1923
    His friends unanimously testify that his character was one of gentleness, purity, generosity and strong affection. As a poet, he stands in the front rank and in some of his shorter poems he is unsurpassed. During his short life of 30 years, he was not the object of much severe judgment and his poetic power was recognized by only a few.