Hell [Henri Barbusse, Edward J. O’Brien] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Hell (L’enfer) is a study of voyeurism written in by Henri. There are books to read for pleasure and then there are books that draw you into a world that is deep with emotion. Henri Barbusse’s The Inferno, or Hell, is one. Hell (L’enfer) is a study of voyeurism written in by Henri Barbusse. When it was translated into English in it ignited a scandal. A young man in a Paris.

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Hell by Henri Barbusse. Hell by Henri Barbusse. A young man staying in a Paris boarding house finds a barbuse in the wall above his bed. Alternately voyeur and seer, he obsessively studies the private moments and secret activities of his neighbors: Decades ahead of its time, “Hell” shocked and scandalized the A young man staying in a Paris boarding house finds a hole in the wall above his bed.

Decades ahead of its time, “Hell” shocked and scandalized the reviewing public when first released in English in Even so, the New Republic praised “the beauty of the book’s nervous yet fluid rhythms The book sweeps, away life’s illusions.

Paperbackpages. Published March 1st by Turtle Point Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Hellplease sign up. Lists with This Book. View all 9 comments. View all 6 comments.

The Inferno alternate title – Hell by Henri Barbusse makes for one strange reading experience. We have our first-person narrator, a thirty-year-old gent who takes up residence in a Paris rooming house only to discover a crack in the wall where he can remain undetected as he observes the happenings in the next room.

And what intriguing ch The Inferno alternate title – Hell by Henri Barbusse makes for one strange reading experience. Among others, two preadolescent fledgling lovers; a sentimental romantic and her tall mustachioed, stiff, jaundiced heartthrob; a pregnant young woman tending to a dying old poet who is her lover.

What exactly is it about being a voyeur? We all have had the legitimate experience of being watchers of films and plays and readers of books full to the brim with comedy and drama of character’s lives but what of observing real people in real situations?

Yet to be a viewer unbeknownst to those being viewed living their “real” lives is something else again, quite different from books or movies. The enchantment of this short novel provides us an opportunity to join the young voyeur as he peeps through a crack into the next room. Does reading a story told by voyeur make us voyeurs? By way of example, here is a snatch of dialogue from the next room: You could tell that they were speaking open-heartedly.

What a good thing it is to be frank and speak without reticence, without the shame and guilt of not knowing what one is saying and for each to go straight to the other. It is almost a miracle. Thus, we as readers are given two separate dramas: Toward the end of his stay at the rooming house, we read: I had seen men, groups, deeds, faces.


In the twilight I had seen the tremulous eyes of beings as deep as wells.

Hell (Barbusse novel) – Wikipedia

I had seen the mouth that said in a burst of glory, “I am more sensitive than others. I believe that that word does not point to our insignificance or our unhappiness, but on the contrary to our fulfillment heni our divinity, since everything is in ourselves. View all 10 comments. Apr 16, BlackOxford rated it really liked it Shelves: Rejecting Absolute Misery I think the reason I enjoy Barbusse is the chance to escape into another reality, an unexpected metaphysics.

I get the same sense while reading Poe. Both create an enclosed world in which things happen that are eternal and somehow immune from the trivial influences of everyday life.

Henri Barbusse

In the era of Trump I find this somewhat comforting. The reader sees only what the unnamed protagonist sees in The Inferno. And since this narrator barely interacts with the fellow residents i Barbusze Absolute Misery I think the reason I enjoy Barbusse is the chance to escape into another reality, an unexpected metaphysics.

Bg since this narrator barely interacts with the fellow residents in his Parisian boarding house, what he sees is almost all there is. He and abrbusse else are Leibnizian Monads, self-contained, self-conscious entities which bound and re-bound off one another like balls on a billiard table.

But these are Monads who suffer acutely because they have windows which allow the world to touch their consciousness directly. One window in particular, a chink between bricks allowing visual access to the room next door, is the one the narrator becomes obsessed by. Life, it seems, is a matter of which window we choose to observe it from. And this one allows life to be seen without the normal help conventions so that its duplicity and perversion can be seen for what they are.

Through this window the protagonist observes different versions of fear and love, or rather variations on an emotion of fearful love: The room he watches is some sort of heell sanctuary for people whose lives have been damaged, they believe, by circumstances, or by sin, or by painful memories, or by design. But if we share loneliness, we are not entirely alone. This hidden perspective on life makes the observer-protagonist god-like and he initially appears to have delusions abrbusse grandeur: It is because we are not self-contained that we suffer.

The problem of life however is not the removal of suffering; it the the realization of happiness within the suffering. What I want,’ she added, with perfect simplicity, ‘is to be happy, I, just as Uell am, and with all my suffering If everything that hurts us were to be removed, what would remain?

He directs the interactions among the human entities which are enclosed by their own experiences. His presumption is that none of us barbussw appreciate the innermost experience of any other, that we are permanently insulated from everyone else.

Given the obvious suffering abroad in the world such a philosophy makes God a sadist and human beings inert particles of self-consciousness who are condemned to Hell from birth.

Hell – Henri Barbusse – Google Books

But his very ambition to be god-like reveals something important to himself: This seems to me the key to escaping the inferno – the god-like quality of not individual human beings, but collectively of the entire human species.


This capacity mitigates suffering by diluting it with empathy for the suffering of others. People are like him. We are more than the mere individual desire not to die because we are somehow mutually contained within each other.

This is why “Every human being is the whole truth. There could hardly barbysse a more striking revelation than this in any religion.

View all 14 comments. Aug 15, Gaurav rated it it was amazing Shelves: Oh, I must, I must find an answer to this question, because another question hangs from it like a threat: What is to become of me?

There is no paradise other than what we ourselves take into the immense tombs of the churches. There is no hell other than our mad longing to live.

How do we decide it? What is the criterion for it? Whether we are living in one or we may enter to it after bqrbusse.

These are some basic questions which come to a typical mind when we th What am I? What we generally heenri about these two extremes is: As a spatial referent, Heaven is generally considered to be “above,” “higher” than the human or earthly plane.

On the contrary, Hell is generally regarded as a realm “below,” a meaning reflected in the derivation. Thus, Heaven is often symbolized by light or brightness as a realm of bliss, whereas Hell is characterized as dark or shadowy, a realm of anguish and suffering.

But if we get heaven only in after life- as suggested by our generally accepted norms- then this life here itself becomes hell- hell of existence, what is the purpose of going through it to get heaven in nether world which we are not very sure.

All these philosophical discussions seem to be futile, nothing can be checked, nothing can be proved to be true. After all, what is the meaning of truth? Our imagination seems to be better than reality; but can we live with imagination? Can we refute the reality? We have the divinity of our immense misery; and our solitude, with its burden of thought, tears and smiles, is inevitably divine by virtue of its universality.

Whatever our anguish and effort in the dark, and the futile toil of our incessant heart, and our ignorance and destitution, and the hurts which are other people, we must consider ourselves with a sort of devout respect.

It is this feeling which gilds our brows, uplifts our hearts, embellishes our pride, and will console us in spite of everything, when we have accustomed ourselves, in all our petty occupation, to take the place once held by God. Truth itself bestows an adequate gratification, both practical and so to speak mystical, on that supplicant from whom heaven springs.

The book sweeps away life’s illusions. The man leaves his home and life to hole up in the hotel where he is having a midlife crisis in extremis.

He becomes an obsessive voyeur.