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Review: “Moravagine” by Blaise Cendrars

Open Book

Blaise Cendrars is well-known in the Anglo-Saxon world, no doubt about it. But perhaps he deserves to be even more so. This Swiss author was unimaginably talented and prolific. But one of his greatest achievements, or dare I say, the greatest one, is “Moravagine”, his magnum opus he was working on for nearly a decade.

With complex narratives, the novel shares a good deal of features with postmodernism, anticipating it for quite an impressive amount of time. So, what’s so special about it and how we can relate to it. We’ll talk about it in our article.

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What the Name of Moravagine Means

If we take the French word “Moravagine”, we see at once how we should tackle its rendering in English: “mort” means “death”. And taken as a whole, we have “death to vagina”. The relation to womanhood in the book is special indeed. Moravagine, one of the main characters, kills women in vast numbers.  

Image(s) of Moravagine: Alter Ego

It all comes down to being the alter ego of the author. As he pointed it out, he wanted to put his dark “Hyde” side into exile by means of writing. So, Moravagine is an image that accumulates all the dark sides of the soul of the author. That is definitely worth attention: not just because of the curiosity but because nearly everyone can relate to a certain extent to it and extend it into some personal images and meanings.

Concept of Traveling in the Novel

That’s one of the main motifs in the book. The main characters travel throughout Europe without forgetting South America, Russia, and the US. It’s no wonder that people often dream of mind-blowing trips with lots of adventures (and some people even called the novel an “adventure story”), letting their own somewhat anarchic side move to the forefront.

So, Who Is Moravagine to the Reader?

Well, it really is an open question, but I’m inclined to think that firstly, every reader can come up with his or her own conclusion about it, as trivial as it sounds.

Secondly, if we do try to single out one special interpretation, that will rather be similar to the author’s very suggestions: the expulsion of Other from the inner self. The fact is, for everyone of us this “Other” is different.

Reading the novel, one unavoidably thinks about all things he or she projected into this mysterious image, some mad dreams and projects undone, able to make one’s own life fulfilled. That’s definitely the emotional background that makes reading this novel such a fascinating experience.

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Rated 4.5 | 431 votes.

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