Redux: The Rapturous Monotony of Metal, Water, Stone



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

Simone de Beauvoir.

In honor of Bastille Day this past Sunday, The Paris Review is returning to its expatriate roots by highlighting some of the many French authors whose work resides within the archive. Read on for Simone de Beauvoir’s Art of Fiction interview, as well as Baudelaire’s poem “Parisian Dream” and Andre de Mandiargues’s brief story “The Bath of Madame Mauriac.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.


Simone de Beauvoir, The Art of Fiction No. 35
Issue no. 34 (Spring–Summer 1965)

When one has an existentialist view of the world, like mine, the paradox of human life is precisely that one tries to be and, in the long run, merely exists. It’s because of this discrepancy that when you’ve laid your stake on being—and, in a way you always do when you make plans, even if you actually know that you can’t succeed in being—when you turn around and look back on your life, you see that you’ve simply existed.



Parisian Dream
By Charles Baudelaire
Issue no. 82 (Winter 1981)

It is a terrible terrain mortal eye has seen
whose image still seduces me
..this morning as it fades …

Sleep is full of miracles!
..Some impulse in my dream
bad rid the region I devised
..of every growing thing.

and proud of the resulting scene
..I savored in my art
the rapturous monotony
..of metal, water, stone …



The Bath of Madame Mauriac
By Andre de Mandiargues
Issue no. 76 (Fall 1979)

I know a woman who takes mouse baths. It is true that they are white mice, that she is a singer, and that she only does so before going off to sing Thaïs.


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