By C.F. Ramuz
Translated by Olivia Baes
The first English translation of a classic by Switzerland's most formative writer—a masterful exploration of societal pressure's explosive effects.
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Jean-Luc Persecuted follows the ill-fated life of an unhappily married man. When Jean-Luc’s wife pursues an affair and leaves him with their child, Jean-Luc’s behavior becomes more and more erratic. He falls to drinking, behaving recklessly, and squandering his money. The narrative follows the explosive downfall of a lone man and his unstoppable mental collapse, surrounded by villagers unable to effect real change. This novel, never before translated, exemplifies the earthy, realistic, often allegorical style of iconic Swiss writer Ramuz.
Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz (born Sept. 24, 1878, Cully, Switz.—died May 23, 1947, Pully, near Lausanne) was a Swiss novelist whose realistic, poetic, and somewhat allegorical stories of man against nature made him one of the most iconic French-Swiss writers of the 20th century. As a young man, he moved to Paris to pursue a life of writing, where he struck up a friendship with Igor Stravinsky, later writing the libretto for The Soldier’s Tale (1918). Ramuz pioneered a common Swiss literary identity, writing books about mountaineers, farmers, or villagers engaging in often tragic struggles against catastrophe. His legacy is remembered through the Ramuz Foundation, which grants the literary award Grand Prix C.F. Ramuz.
"Through the telescope of time, it is easy to see how navigating both fluidity and fragmentation allowed Ramuz to join those twentieth-century novelists who redefined literature—Proust, Woolf, and Mann." —Patti M. Maexsen, Asymptote Journal
"Mankind in Ramuz's view can perpetually self-generate instead of self-destruct by embracing an inner beauty that is the source of our self-worth and empathy. He reminds his readers that an eternal state of flux is the only way to uncover those hidden layers and webs of selves, where we can stretch ourselves among others for a more whole and transcendent being." —Jennifer Kurdyla, Music & Literature
"Jean-Luc descends into alcoholism and madness, wandering into the village wearing the helmet of a papal Swiss Guard and carrying a burden that, as the gendarmes chase him into the mountains, transforms the novel into a painful tale of isolation and woe … . Plainly, even matter-of-factly written, the story is a downer but an affecting one that leaves readers wishing that Jean-Luc had had better luck. Translated for the first time in English, Ramuz’s slender story will interest students of early European modernism." —Kirkus Reviews
"Rich with pastoral scenes and the beauty of nature, Ramuz creates an authentic world where everyday people face some of life’s most extraordinary challenges and tragedies. Giving particular attention to the decline of Jean-Luc’s mental health, Ramuz genuinely portrays a heart-wrenching demise that fully envelops the reader." —Beth Mowbray, The Nerd Daily