Tag: French literature

Madame Bovary: the Everest of translation

Adam Thorpe’s translation of Madame Bovary was published by Vintage in 2011. Prior to its release, he wrote a piece for The Guardian explaining his approach to translating the text, and justifying what he believed set his translation apart from that of Lydia Davis, whose own translation predated Thorpe’s by only a year.


Julian Barnes reimagines the end of Madame Bovary…

Writing for The Guardian in 2006, Julian Barnes reimagined the end of Flaubert’s iconic novel and provided Emma with opportunity to “correct” her story. This alternative ending was originally published in The Guardian on 30th September 2006 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first part of Madame Bovary in the Revue de Paris.

Zola’s La Bête humaine: Excerpt #3

But by now every telegraph bell along the line was ringing, and every heart beat faster at the news of this ghost train that had just been seen passing through Rouen and Sotteville. People were afraid: there was an express travelling further up the line, it would surely be caught. Like a wild boar charging through a forest, the train continued on its way, oblivious to red signals and detonators alike. At Oissel it nearly collided with a pilot-engine; it brought terror to Pont-de-l’Arche, for its speed showed no sign of slackening. Once more it vanished, and on it raced, onward and onward into the dark night, bound they know not where, simply onward. What did it matter what victims it crushed in its path! Was it not, after all heading into the future, heedless of the blood that was spilled?
— Émile Zola, La Bête humaine (1890), ch. 12

Zola’s La Bête humaine: Excerpt #2

In the frenzy of his desire to have her, and excited by her caresses, Jacques, having no other weapon, was already stretching out his fingers to strangle Severine when she herself, from habit, turned and put out the lamp. Then he took her, and they lay together. It was one of their most passionate nights of love, and best of all, the only time when they had felt completely merged together, completely obliterated each in the other.
— Émile Zola, La Bête humaine (1890), ch. 11