New Book | The Gods Want Blood

Posted in books by Editor on July 14, 2014

A new English translation of the 1912 novel, published last year and recently released in paperback from Alma Classics:

Anatole France, The Gods Want Blood, translated by Douglas Parmée (Richmond, Alma Classics, 2013), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1847493194, $15.

740_largeSet in Paris during the years of the Reign of Terror, The Gods Want Blood centres on the rise to power of the Jacobin sympathizer Évariste Gamelin, a young painter who becomes a juror on a local Revolutionary tribunal. Caught up in the bloodthirsty madness surrounding him, he helps to dispense cruel justice in the name of his ideals, while at the same time succumbing to his own petty instincts of revenge when he jealously pursues a rival for the affections of his lover Élodie.

Benefiting from Anatole France’s meticulous historical research, this fascinating and timeless novel sheds light on a complex world of rival factions and institutions of state terror and vividly portrays the lives and psyches of ordinary people who are complicit in acts of public barbarity.

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From The TLS Blog:

Adrian Tahourdin, “Anatole France and Proust,” The TLS Blog (19 September 2013).

A new translation of Anatole France’s novel Les Dieux ont soif is being published next month by Alma Classics, as The Gods Want Blood. First published in 1912, the book is set during the Terror of 1793–4 and features, fleetingly, both Marat and Robespierre. As its translator Douglas Parmée writes in his introduction, the novel has contemporary resonance: its main character, the mediocre painter (pupil of Jacques-Louis David) and revolutionary fanatic Évariste Gamelin “would surely make a first-rate suicide bomber.” France did his research thoroughly, with the result that his novel, in Parmée’s words, “bears throughout the stamp of historical authenticity.” . . .

The full posting is available here»



New Book | How to Ruin a Queen

Posted in books by Editor on July 14, 2014

From John Murray (a publishing house with its own eighteenth-century history: founded in 1768, the company remained under the Murray family’s control until 2002). . .

Jonathan Beckman, How to Ruin a Queen: Marie Antoinette and the Diamond Necklace Affair (John Murray, 2014), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-1848549982.

How-to-Ruin-a-Queen_590_590_90A tale of greed, lust, deceit, theft on an extraordinary scale, charlatanry, kidnapping, assassination and escape from prison.

On 5 September 1785, a trial began in Paris that would divide the country, captivate Europe and send the French monarchy tumbling down the slope towards the Revolution. Cardinal Louis de Rohan, scion of one of the most ancient and distinguished families in France, stood accused of forging Marie Antoinette’s signature to fraudulently obtain the most expensive piece of jewellery in Europe—a 2,400-carat necklace worth 1.6 million francs. Where were the diamonds now? Was Rohan entirely innocent? Was, for that matter, the queen? What was the role of the charismatic magus, the comte de Cagliostro, who was rumoured to be two-thousand-years old and capable of transforming metal into gold?

This is a tale of political machinations and extravagance on an enormous scale; of kidnappings, prison breaks and assassination attempts; of hapless French police disguised as colliers, reams of lesbian pornography and a duel fought with poisoned pigs. It is a detective story, a courtroom drama, a tragicomic farce, and a study of credulity and self-deception in the Age of Enlightenment.

Jonathan Beckman is senior editor of Literary Review. He has degrees in English from the University of Cambridge and Intellectual and Cultural History from Queen Mary, University of London. In 2010, he won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction.

New Book | Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade

Posted in books by Editor on July 14, 2014

From Assouline:

Jean-Pascal Hesse, Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade (Paris: Assouline, 2014), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-1614282020, $75.

9782759407293Man of letters, philosopher, and politician, the Marquis de Sade is one of the most controversial figures since the eighteenth century, but recently psychology, theater, cinema, and literary criticism have shed new light on his life and works. Lacoste Castle in the South of France, one of the properties of the Sade family, became the refuge of the Marquis between periods of incarceration. Thanks to the Sade family opening its archives for the first time, historian Jean-Pascal Hesse examines Sade’s story through previously unpublished documents and imagery and walks in the Marquis’ footsteps in his beloved château.

Originally from the region of Lacoste, historian Jean-Pascal Hesse is the author of a number of books, including Pierre Cardin: 60 Years of Innovation (2010), Maxim’s: Mirror of Parisian Life (2011), and The Palais Bulles (2012), all in close collaboration with Pierre Cardin and published by Assouline. He also serves on the Paris city council, and directs cultural events for the mayor of the 16th arrondissement.

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