Author(s): Louis Guilloux
Louis Guilloux's novel Blood Dark tells the story of a brilliant philosopher trapped in a provincial town and of his spiraling descent into self-destruction. Cripure, as his students call him, the name a mocking contraction of The Critique of Pure Reason, despises his colleagues, despairs of his charges, and is at odds with his family. The year is 1917, and the First World War continues its relentless course, with French soldiers not only dying by the tens of thousands but also beginning to desert in protest. Cripure, having seen student after student go to his death, finds himself literally up in arms at the complacent patriotism of his fellow teachers as he challenges one of them to a duel. Unfolding over the course of a single day, Blood Dark describes how Cripure manages to embroil himself in this ridiculous oaffair of honor.o Guilloux's novel, an important inspiration to the young Albert Camus, is an unflinching attack on the hypocritical pieties of a middle-class society and a tragic portrait of a man at war with the world and himself.
Set during World War I, this monumental philosophical novel about human despair inspired Albert Camus' own writing and prefigured the greater existential movement.
Louis Guilloux (1899-1980) spent most of his life in Brittany. He worked as a left-wing organizer, a literary translator, and an interpreter for the American army in France.Alice Kaplan is the author of French Lessons- A Memoir and The Collaborator- The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. She is also the author of a book on Louis Guilloux, The Interpreter, and Looking for the Stranger- Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic, which was finalist for the Prix Medicis and the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. Her translations from the French include Another November and The Difficulty of Being a Dog, both by Roger Grenier. She is the John M. Musser Professor of French, Yale University.Laura Marris is a writer and translator. Her work has appeared in The Cortland Review, Asymptote, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. Her recent translation projects include Christophe Boltanski's The Safe Houseand, with Rosmarie Waldrop, Paol Keineg's Triste Tristan and Other Poems.