In defence of letters. New York: The Greystone Press, 1939
8vo. 248 pp. Portrait of author tipped-in on half-title. Original red cloth, dust-jacket lightly sunned at spine and very slightly chipped. $35.00
First American edition. The present work "constitutes a complete survey, from the point of view of a Frenchman, of the art and craft of literature as it is today." Divided into four parts, it deals with the function of literature in civilization, with the writer in relation to his work, and with the technical and artistic problems of writing.
French doctor, essayist, novelist, poet and playwright, Duhamel (1884-1966) earned a licence in science, and then studied medicine. While he found employment in the pharmaceutical industry, he decided to follow his literary aspirations as well. In charge of surgical ambulances during World War I, Duhamel afterwards wrote Vie des martyrs about this experience, which was noted for its compassionate accounts of human suffering. After the war, he gave up medicine and devoted his full efforts to writing. He earned the Grand-Croix of the Légion d'honneur, was a member of the Académie de médecine, the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques, and of the Académie Française.
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