French Novel and Short Story
The Radiance of the King
Paperback ISBN: 1590174550
Clarence, a white man, has been shipwrecked on the coast of Africa. Flush with self-importance, he demands to see the king, but the king has just left for the south of his realm. Traveling through an increasingly phantasmagoric landscape in the company of a beggar and two roguish boys, Clarence is gradually stripped of his pretensions, until he is sold to the royal harem as a slave. But in the end Clarence’s bewildering journey is the occasion of a revelation, as he discovers the image, both shameful and beautiful, of his own humanity in the alien splendor of the king.
Candide or Optimism
Paperback ISBN: 0143039423
A classic, satiric novel, by the noted 18th century French author and philosopher chronicles the misadventures of the nave Candide, who continues to manifest her belief that "all is for the best" despite the injustice, despair, and suffering she encounters in life. Reprint.
The Memoirs of Two Young Wives
Paperback ISBN: 1681371251
Two very intelligent, very idealistic young women leave the convent school where they became the fastest of friends to return to their families and embark on their new lives. For Renée de Maucombe, this means an arranged marriage with a country gentleman of Provence, a fine if slightly dull man for whom she feels admiration but nothing more. Meanwhile, Louise de Chaulieu makes for her family’s house in Paris, intent on enjoying her freedom to the fullest: glittering balls, the opera, and above all, she devoutly hopes, the torments and ecstasies of true love and passion. What will come of these two very different lives? Despite Balzac’s title, these aren’t memoirs; rather, this is an epistolary novel. For some ten years, these two will—enthusiastically if not always faithfully—keep up their correspondence, obeying their vow to tell each other every tiny detail of their strange new lives, comparing their destinies, defending and sometimes bemoaning their choices, detailing the many changes, personal and social, that they undergo. As Balzac writes, “Renée is reason. . . Louise is wildness. . . and both will lose.
Paperback ISBN: 159017271x
Romantic provocateur, flamboyant bohemian, precocious novelist, perfect poet—not to mention an inexhaustible journalist, critic, and man-about-town—Théophile Gautier is one of the major figures, and great characters, of French literature. In My Fantoms Richard Holmes, the celebrated biographer of Shelley and Coleridge, has found a brilliantly effective new way to bring this great bu too-little-known writer into English. My Fantoms assembles seven stories spanning the whole of Gautier’s career into a unified work that captures the essence of his adventurous life and subtle art. From the erotic awakening of “The Adolescent” through “The Poet,” a piercing recollection of the mad genius Gérard de Nerval, the great friend of Gautier’s youth, My Fantoms celebrates the senses and illuminates the strange disguises of the spirit, while taking readers on a tour of modernity at its most mysterious. ”What ever would the Devil find to do in Paris?” Gautier wonders. “He would meet people just as diabolical as he, and find himself taken for some naïve provincial…” Tapestries, statues, and corpses come to life; young men dream their way into ruin; and Gautier keeps his faith in the power of imagination: “No one is truly dead, until they are no longer loved.”
The Essential Collection
Hardcover ISBN: 1631065025
This superb collection of classic science fiction features the best of Jules Verne’s epic adventure stories, including Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863), A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). Often called the “father of science fiction," Verne was a masterful storyteller and visionary, anticipating such technological marvels as the submarine and skyscraper. For nearly 150 years, his unusual characters, outlandish plots, and vivid descriptions have captivated readers, and now they are available--complete and unabridged--in this gorgeous slipcase edition. The stylish clothbound hardcover also features a ribbon marker, historical timeline, and comprehensive introduction, enlightening the reader on the author’s life and works.
Paperback ISBN: 1681370328
An NYRB Classics Original Olivier Bertin is at the height of his career as a painter. After making his name with his Cleopatra, he went on to establish himself as “the chosen painter of the Parisiennes, the most adroit and ingenious artist to reveal their grace, their figures, and their souls.
Paperback ISBN: 1681371375
Moby-Dick looms large in the world’s imagination. But until the mid-1930s—eighty years after it first appeared in English—it remained unavailable in French. The Provençal novelist Jean Giono fell in love with the book. He inspired his friend Lucien Jacques to join him in the project of rendering Melville’s stirring prose. After they finished, their publisher persuaded Giono to write a preface. Giono was unwilling at first to accept—the translation had taken a few years to complete, and he was eager to move on. But he was brought around by the desire to introduce Melville to the French public. The result, issued as a separate volume in French, is an unparalleled intercultural creation, part preface, part biography, part philosophical rumination, part romance, part unfettered fantasy. The French publisher continues to classify it as “un essai,” a literary experiment. Melville: A Novel is an intimate homage from one great writer to another, across time and space, a true meeting of French and American minds. Paul Eprile’s meticulous translation of this startling text brings the exchange full circle.
Paperback ISBN: 1400096278
Published more than sixty years following the author's death at Auschwitz, a remarkable story of life under the Nazi occupation includes two parts--"A Storm in June," set amid the chaotic 1940 exodus from Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion, and "Dolce," set in a German-occupied provincial village rife with jealousy, resentment, resistance, and collaboration. Reprint.
Paperback ISBN: 1590170636
At once truly appalling and appallingly funny, Blaise Cendrars's Moravagine bears comparison with Naked Lunch—except that it's a lot more entertaining to read. Heir to an immense aristocratic fortune, mental and physical mutant Moravagine is a monster, a man in pursuit of a theorem that will justify his every desire. Released from a hospital for the criminally insane by his starstruck psychiatrist (the narrator of the book), who foresees a companionship in crime that will also be an unprecedented scientific collaboration, Moravagine travels from Moscow to San Antonio to deepest Amazonia, engaged in schemes and scams as, among other things, terrorist, speculator, gold prospector, and pilot. He also enjoys a busy sideline in rape and murder. At last, the two friends return to Europe—just in time for World War I, when "the whole world was doing a Moravagine." This new edition of Cendrars's underground classic is the first in English to include the author's afterword, "How I Wrote Moravagine."
Balcony in the Forest
Paperback ISBN: 1681371391
It is the fall of 1939, and Lieutenant Grange and his men are living in a chalet above a concrete bunker deep in the Ardennes forest, charged with defending the French-Belgian border against the Germans in a war that seems unreal, distant, and unlikely. Far more immediate is the earthy life of the forest itself and the deep sensations of childhood it recalls from Grange’s memory. Ostensibly readying for war, Grange instead spends his time observing the change in seasons, falling in love with a young free-spirited widow named Mona, and contemplating the absurd stasis of his present condition. This novel of long takes, dream states, and little dramatic action culminates abruptly in battle, an event that is as much the real incursion of the German army into France as it is the sudden intrusion of death into the suspended disbelief of life. Richard Howard’s skilled translation captures the fairy-tale delicacy and existential dread of this unusual, elusive novel (first published in 1959) by the supreme prose stylist Julian Gracq.