Terra Amata (novel): Wikis


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Terra Amata  
Author J. M. G. Le Clézio
Original title Terra Amata
Translator Barbara Bray
Country France
Language Frenchtranslated into English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher France Gallimard
Atheneum ,New York
Publication date 1969
Published in
Media type Print (Paperback
Pages 248 pp
ISBN 2070238253
OCLC Number 248775313

Terra Amata is an early fictional novel by French author and Nobel laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio


Plot introduction

Terra Amata is about a man named Chancelade, and his detailed view of an otherwise ordinary life, [1]from his early childhood to his grave.

What makes it more than just boring ultra-realism is how the story is told. See, Chancelade likes details. Right from the beginning, even as a small child, we see him extrapolating entire worlds from the smallest things, trying to understand his world by submerging himself in it, trying to put words to everything he sees and feels... the whole "cosmos in a grain of sand" bit

Archaeological site

Terra Amata is an archaeological site near the French town of Nice.


Romanic Review

The work centers on the perceptions and activities of its protagonist, Chancelade, whose pronounced interest in small, seem- ingly insignificant things leads him and the novel's narrator through numerous sensorial and contemplative adventures which yield unexpected insights on humankind's situation in the universe[3]

Racevskis, Roland


Le Clézio’s delivery is a hyperreal tour de force, lush and dense, designed to obverload the senses. His focus is on the minute, regularly picking up on grains of sand, pebbles on beaches, and insects in their nests, inverting the microscopic worlds they inhabit to cosmic concerns[4]


Times Literary Supplement(TLS)

Terra amata is another heady collection of M. le Clézio's cosmic cuts able to pass without hesitation from the ant-sized to the astronomical. (...) (H)e seems more obviously talented when he is being young and terrestrial than when he is being prophetic and ubiquitous

TLS 1967-11-09 [5]

The New York Times Book Review

These adolescent outpourings sound like cries of woe between bites of eclair. There is nothing in the novel to indicate that Chancelade is worth listening to. He has done nothing, suffered nothing, experienced nothing to make him worth our regard

Thomas Lask, The New York Times Book Review 3/4/1969 [5]


I doubt that Terra Amata will be a bestseller in this country, but it has its charms. (Unaided, incidentally, by its stupid cover. Penguin seems on a mission to do ghastly covers these days. Why?) The story is that of Chancelade, from childhood to death; he sees the world in minute detail and ... er ... He talks with a girl his own age (12) after a swim and has a sort of rudimentary fumble with her.

Nicholas Lezard of The Guardian [6]

the Wall Street Journal

But Mr. Le Clézio's most impressive book may be a brief one he published at age 27, when he was still a combative modernist. "Terra Amata," translated into English in 1967, combines his game-playing as the author with a savage lyricism reminiscent of Thomas Hardy.
Chancelade is a boy so involved with nature that the world of girls and parents hardly matters. When his father unexpectedly passes away, he remembers a pet lizard that died, and the thought gives him solace: "from that moment Chancelade began to understand that he would never be alone."
Meditations on extinction and on the ineffable (a lovely section describes two deaf girls signing to one another) are interrupted with questions for the readers: "Are you happy? Why are you reading this book?"
And when it comes time for a now elderly Chancelade to pass on, the author views his death as cosmic justice for the aimlessly destructive acts he -- and all omniverous creatures -- commit: "For countless years, devouring years, day after day he committed all these murders. Hour by hour he burned, uprooted, sliced, crushed, drowned, raped. He drank the blood, he ate the body of others. Now he must pay the price. . . . The dread game will go on, but he will be playing no longer. He will be divided up, and the blind worm will have this part, and the roots of the briar that.
In an epilogue, the narrator sounds relatively content: "There. That's more or less what I wanted to say. In a few minutes now you'll shut the book and go away."

Richard B Woodward,the Wall Street Journal Books , [7]

Publication History


First French Edition

Le Clézio (1967). Paris: [Éditions Gallimard]],. ISBN 9782070238255.  

First English Edition U.S.A

Le Clézio; translated from the French by Barbara Bray (1969-01-01) (in English). Terra Amata (Hardcover). New York: Atheneum Publishers. pp. 217. ISBN none.  

First English Edition United Kingdom

Le Clézio; translated from the French by Barbara Bray (1969) (in English). Terra Amata. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 9780241016336.  

Second English Edition

Le Clézio, J.M.G.; Translated by Barbara Bray (2008-11-27). Terra Amata (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback). London: Penguin Classics. pp. 224. ISBN 978-0141191416.  

External links

Book Sources

Terra Amata By Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio at Google Books


  1. ^ HILLEL ITALIE, Associated Press (2008-10-10). "Author Le Clézio wins Nobel". thestar.com. http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/515178. Retrieved 2008-10-16.  
  2. ^ "J.M.G. Le Clézio: Terra Amata". Bjorn Moderator. World Literature Forum. 2008-10-15. http://www.worldliteratureforum.com/forum/european-literature/5691-j-m-g-le-clezio-terra-amata.html. Retrieved 14 January 2009.  
  3. ^ "Le Clezio's Terra Amata: A micro-fictional affection for the real". Racevskis, Roland. Romanic Review. 1999. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3806/is_199905/ai_n8830850. Retrieved 16 December 2008.  
  4. ^ "J.M.G. Le Clézio: Terra Amata". Stewart. Booklit. 2008-12-07. http://booklit.com/blog/2008/12/07/jmg-le-clezio-terra-amata/. Retrieved 16 December 2008.  
  5. ^ a b "Terra Amata:". TLS (9/11/1967). The Literary Saloon. 2008-10-09. http://www.complete-review.com/saloon/archive/200810a.htm#hi6. Retrieved 16 December 2008.  
  6. ^ Nicholas Lezard (2008-12-20). "Terra Amata The Nobel laureate as Martian". Romanic Review (an academic publication providing coverage and analysis of Romance literature). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/dec/20/jmg-le-clezio-review-lezard. Retrieved 2008-12-30.  
  7. ^ Woodward,Richard B. (2008-10-20). "A Nobel Undertaking: Getting to Know Le Clézio". By RICHARD B. WOODWARD). http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122532947829282765.html?mod=googlenews_wsj. Retrieved 2008-12-30.  


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