By Patrick Modiano

Todo arranca con un nacimiento: un padre contempla tras el cristal de los angeles maternidad a su hija que duerme plácidamente. En los angeles mano, ese padre sostiene el libro de familia para inscribirla en el registro civil. Ese libro de familia es el punto de partida de una indagación en el pasado en l. a. que se entremezcla lo biográfico y lo novelesco. Una indagación en los angeles que se suman recuerdos, documentos oficiales, viejas fotografías, testimonios de otras personas y lugares revisitados. Una indagación que, siguiendo un quebradizo hilo de Ariadna, permite aventurarse en busca de las señas de identidad de un ser humano y en los rastros de su familia. Esta novela autobiográfica nos sumerge en el evanescente y melancólico universo Modiano. Y así, van apareciendo el acta del matrimonio de sus progenitores, en los angeles que su padre, judío, figura con un nombre falso porque Francia estaba en plena Ocupación nazi; los inicios de l. a. carrera cinematográfica de su madre a los dieciocho años en Amberes; el recuerdo de un viaje en tren con su padre, que vivía escondido para evitar las redadas; el instante en que saliendo de una librería en los años setenta el protagonista percibe de golpe que su juventud ha terminado; l. a. búsqueda de su partida bautismal en Biarritz... Y también asoman por estas páginas edificios, calles, cines y cafés de París, l. a. ciudad de Alejandría y una portentosa galería de personajes singulares, misteriosos, incluso fantasmagóricos, como aquella vieja estrella japonesa de Hollywood que vivía en el París ocupado... Historias, peripecias, recuerdos que van envolviendo al lector en esta prodigiosa pesquisa sobre l. a. identidad que se abre y se cierra con los angeles hija recién nacida, a l. a. que «nada le perturbaba el sueño. Todavía no tenía memoria»

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5 The romance subordinated bodily responses to the lasting attractions of soulmates, and readers understood that pants and sighs, perhaps the pressure of the hand, functioned only as choreography, culminating in the chaste embrace that signified the meeting of like with like rather than solely of lip with lip. Delia Cruscan poetry uses the available vocabulary of romance; as I will discuss later in this chapter, the exchange collected in The British Album follows with little deviation the plot conventions familiar to its readers, with the signal difference that it is entirely epistolary.

De Saint-Pelaie (or Palaye), but extensively annotated by Dobson. The two volumes demonstrate the more conflicted, fluid approach to the romance that will characterise the 1790s; Dobson's indecision regarding the overall benefit of chivalry to society finds its analogue in, in Duff's words, the 'fundamentally unstable' 'language of romance and chivalry' (133; Duff's emphasis). Even as Reeve's progress through the land of Romance is marked by her certainty of its beauties, Dobson's contemporaneous volumes mapping that same land betray a greater unease with its parameters - and its influence.

15 Hortensius begins by invoking the language of gentlemen: he wants to settle their 'dispute' through a kind of verbal duel. Sophronia's contribution, however, opens the possibility that the usual gender hierarchy will not be observed in this text, furthered by Euphrasia's subsequent metaphorical arming. As the first paragraphs progress, it emerges that Euphrasia has compared romances to epic poetry, which Hortensius cannot abide, insisting on an inherent literary inequality; when Sophronia finds she is unable to 'ward off his attack' she 'engage [s] her honour' that Euphrasia can 'give Hortensius full satisfaction' (3).

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