Michel Butor  

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Michel Butor (14 September 1926 – 24 August 2016) was a French writer. His best-known novel, La Modification is written entirely in the second person.


Life and work

Michel Marie Francois Butor was born in Mons-en-Baroeul. He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, graduating in 1947. He has taught in Egypt, Manchester, Salonika, the United States, and Geneva. He has won many literary awards for his work, including the Prix Apollo, the Prix Fénéon and the Prix Renaudot.

Journalists and critics associated his novels with the nouveau roman, but Butor himself has long resisted that association. The main point of similarity is a very general one: not much beyond that, like exponents of the nouveau roman, he can be described as an experimental writer. His best-known novel, La Modification, for instance, is written entirely in the second person.

For decades now, he has chosen to work in other forms, from essays to poetry to artist's books to unclassifiable works like Mobile. Literature, painting, travel, are subjects particularly dear to Butor. Part of the fascination of his writing is the way it combines the rigorous symmetries that led Roland Barthes to praise him as an epitome of structuralism (exemplified, for instance, by the architectural scheme of Passage de Milan or the calendrical structure of L'emploi du temps) with a lyrical sensibility more akin to Baudelaire than to Robbe-Grillet.


His works include...




  • "Répertoires [I à V]" (1960-1982)
  • "Essais sur le roman"


  • Le Génie de lieu (1958)
  • Mobile : étude pour une représentation des États-Unis (tr. Mobile: Study for a Representation of the US.) (1962)
  • Portrait de l'artiste en jeune singe (1967)
  • Niagara(1969)
  • Matière de rêves (1975-1985)
  • Retour du boomerang (1988)
  • L'embarquement de la reine de Saba (1989)
  • Transit A, Transit B (1992)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Michel Butor" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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