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Claude Cahun: The Soldier with No Name by [Bower, Gavin James]
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Claude Cahun: The Soldier with No Name Kindle Edition

2.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 46 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product description

About the Author

Gavin James Bower is a writer and editor. He was born in Lancashire and lives in London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2199 KB
  • Print Length: 46 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (30 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ENH4HU0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #499,731 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The claim that it 'represents the first explicit attempt in English to posit Cahun as an important figure in her own right' is beyond a joke. There are plenty of other good books and essays on Claude Cahun that have interesting things to say and have been fact-checked more thoroughly than Bower's pamphlet. You'd do better to source Wikipedia than this.
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I am a fan of the Zero imprint, and when I came across a reference to their study of the OuLiPo group, I ordered it promptly. While doing so, I browsed their current list and noticed an intriguing title by someone I had known only as a novelist, about someone I had never heard of.
Claude Cahun turned out to be a Surrealist writer and photographer, at the heart of the movement yet keeping a distance, which maybe accounted for her relative obscurity - obscure not only to me, I gather. Looking up her name on Amazon, I discovered quite a number of books on her, mostly published after the turn of the millennium, some books of her photography, some her own writings, some academic analyses; all of them substantial and expensive. So where better to start than this extended introductory essay?
I found it elegantly produced, as all Zero books are, and elegantly written. Both Bower's novels have their own distinct style, fitted to their themes and subjects; this also has its particular style and approach.
It certainly has an academic heft to it, a convincing authority. But it is also convincingly personal, describing Bower's own discovery of Cahun's peculiar work and her unconventional and surprisingly heroic life. This combination of fascinating subject and personal engagement is what made the book so readable for me, enabling me to share that same sense of discovery.
And it was a very welcome discovery; after years of familiarity with Surrealism in both its literary and arts forms, it was refreshing to discover someone - and a woman at that - who combined both forms, produced some stunning imagery, not least of which was her own persona, stood up the Pope (Breton) and even more importantly, to the Nazis on the occupied Channel Isles.
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This is an essay, not a book, and a very studenty one at that. It's mere 32 pages rehash information that is widely available about the amazing Cahun elsewhere, dressing up humdrum analysis with flowery language. The author's suggestion that he is part of a small coterie of people to know of the French artist and writer is silly, given the prominence she has in contemporary art and queer/feminist circles.
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This "book" (really more of a pamphlet) is only 34 pages long. It reads like little more than a brief biography of Cahun, of a quality which you'd expect to find on her English-language wikipedia page, not to pay a normal book RRP for, and in fact as another reviewer has pointed out, there's scarcely anything here which you can't already piece together for yourself from a little while browsing the internet. It's a real shame, as to be honest this felt like it could have made a not bad first chapter or introduction to an *actual* book about Cahun's work, and I'm at a loss to think why this project wasn't pursued in more depth. Simply seems like it wasn't worthwhile to publish in the current state and so my recommendation would be to spend the money on a work of Cahun's own like the translation of her "Disavowals", which is a rather fine volume and can be found on amazon for only £1 more than Bower's meagre effort.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The title with nothing new 16 Sept. 2013
By AleVale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I directed and created the play The Soldier With No Name, in The Blue Elephant Theatre in London in February 2009. The play was based on Claude Cahun's life and work. I think the writer could have been a bit more delicate with the title as it is really disspointing.
Thanks
Alevale
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