Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Although the novels of Blaise Cendrars (SAHN-drawr) had many admirers, including Henry Miller, his most critically respected work is his poetry. Combining his adventurous autobiography with complex, strong imagery and powerful emotion, Cendrars’s most praised books of poetry are his extraordinary early efforts, Les Pâques à New York (1912; Easter in New York, 1966); La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France (1913; The Trans-Siberian Express, 1964); and Le Panama: Ou, Les Aventures de mes sept oncles (1918; Panama: Or, The Adventures of My Seven Uncles, 1931). His poetry is most important for its audacious expression of modernism. Other important collections include Dix-neuf Poèmes élastiques (1919); Kodak (1924; English translation, 1976); and Feuilles de route (1924, 1927). Une Nuit dans la forêt (1929) and Vol à voiles (1932) were alleged by Cendrars to be autobiographical nonfiction, but critics assert they are largely fictionalized. His nonfiction “novels” and short stories, as well as his prose poems, are difficult to categorize using conventional terms. Cendrars was also an editor, essayist, journalist, translator, screenwriter, film director, ballet scenarist, and radio dramatist.