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Book Cover for: The Rock of Arles, Richard Klein

The Rock of Arles

Richard Klein

Founded 2,600 years ago on a massive limestone eminence, the city of Arles has been the home of Roman emperors and captured slaves, pagan temples and Christian spires, bloody revolutionaries and powerful papists. In The Rock of Arles Richard Klein relays the history of the city as told to him by the Rock, its genius loci, which infallibly remembers every moment of its existence, from the Roman conquest of Gaul to the fall of feudal aristocracy, from the domination of the Catholic Church to the present French representative democracy. The Rock's contrarian and dissident history resurrects the memory of three of the city's most radical yet largely forgotten revolutionary minds: Hellenistic philosopher Favorinus, medieval Hebrew poet Kalonymus ben Kalonymus, and subversive aristocrat Pierre-Antoine Antonelle. For the Rock, each figure represents a freethinking current running through Arlesian history which countered the reactionary, bigoted forces that governed the city for fifteen centuries. Erudite, witty, and opinionated, the Rock tells the story of Arles in order to sketch the broader canvas of European history while invoking the city's possible future.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publish Date: Feb 13rd, 2024
  • Pages: 176
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.37in - 0.98lb
  • EAN: 9781478025726
  • Categories: European - FrenchSemiotics & TheoryEurope - France

About the Author

Richard Klein is Professor Emeritus of French Literature at Cornell University and author of Cigarettes Are Sublime, also published by Duke University Press, Jewelry Talks: A Novel Thesis, and Eat Fat.

Praise for this book

"An engaging, enjoyable read. A brief but pithy, informative piece of work, representing a unique approach to history writing."-- "Kirkus Reviews" (10/1/2023 12:00:00 AM)
"In The Rock of Arles, Richard Klein revels in the role of an immensely imaginative ghostwriter. His fearlessly spirited prose records the views of the Rock--a grand personification that mixes semi-omniscience with interrogation and speculation--on an Arles that rivals Rome as the emblematic City of Humanity. The daringly revelatory result is a mock history--at times extravagantly and hilariously fictionalized yet at moments urgently compelling--of the Western world."--Philip Lewis, Professor Emeritus of French Literature, Cornell University
"The Rock of Arles is an urban history we didn't know we needed and a history we wouldn't have known at all except through its opinionated and often very funny orographic narrator. We take seriously what the Rock tells us about the past and our possible future not despite but because of its charmingly brazen fictiveness. This delightful book thwarts expectations; its queer history is of the moment and its form entirely sui generis . . . at least until other rocks decide to follow the Rock's example."--Andrew Parker, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University