THE STATUE WITHIN: An Autobiography
Francois Jacob; translated by Franklin Philip
Basic Books; New York; 326 pages; $22.95
Francois Jacob is the most illustrious of French scientists living today. His autobiography, La Statue Intérieure, has drawn wide attention in France. Now in its lucid English translation, The Statue Within should have an equally broad appeal in the U.S. As a work of literature, it evokes unmistakable overtones of Rousseau, Proust, and Sartre—it is hard to imagine French autobiography that would ignore those traditions—and the book shows a sure, lyric touch.
Scientists will have a particular interest in this remarkably intimate confession of the personal development of an outstanding figure in the history of modern molecular biology. Those outside that particular discipline will gain a good sense of the chase for the elusive concepts of gene regulation and messenger RNA, concepts that have guided the field for the past three decades....