Museum Visits

Éric Chevillard


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Yale University Press
27 February 2024
ISBN: 9780300254112
152 pages

From the publisher

The daring, mischievous micro-essays of award-winning French humorist Eric Chevillard, published in English for the first time

Eric Chevillard is one of France's leading stylists and thinkers, an endlessly inventive observer of the everyday whose erudition and imagination honor the legacy of Swift and Voltaire-with some good-natured postmodern twists.

This ensemble of comic miniatures compiles reflections on chairs, stairs, stones, goldfish, objects found, strangers observed, scenarios imagined, reasonable premises taken to absurd conclusions, and vice versa. The author erects a mental museum for his favorite artworks, only to find it swarming with tourists. He attends a harpsichord recital and lets his passions flare. He happens upon a piece of paper and imagines its sordid back story. He wonders if Hegel's cap, on display in Stuttgart, is really worth the trip.

Throughout, Chevillard's powers of observation chime with his verbal acrobatics. His gaze-initially superficial, then deeply attentive, then practically sociopathic-manages time and again to defamiliarize the familiar with a coherent and charismatic charm. Daniel Levin Becker's translation deftly renders the marvels of the original, and a foreword by Daniel Medin offers rich contextual commentary, making a vital wing of French literature and humor newly accessible in English.