New Impressions of Africa: Nouvelles Impressions d’Afrique
by Raymond Roussel (translated by Mark Ford)
Princeton University Press (Footprint Books), $47.95 hb, 253 pp, 9780691144597
Like all of his earlier books, Raymond Roussel’s final work, New Impressions of Africa, published in 1932, was printed at his personal expense, and only after he was satisfied that the poem was as good as possible. He claimed that each line took fifteen hours to compose. Roussel wanted his work to have enduring importance, and wrote a book entitled How I Wrote Certain of My Books to help readers who might otherwise misunderstand his method (it appeared in 1935, two years after his suicide). Roussel, thanks to his vast inherited wealth, was a writer who answered to no one and nothing, except his own inimitable vision.