French literature in translation
“Roger Ariew and Marjorie Grene, with the help of Hackett’s modest pricing scheme, have made this challenging, infuriating, ironic and hilarious classic readily available in a faithful and well-presented translation. . . . Scholars will find this volume a fine choice for introducing students to early modern philosophy. . . . This is a welcome publication.”
—Craig Walton, Philosophy in Review
“Raymond Mackenzie’s elegant new translation of Émile Zola’s Germinal captures the diction of the novel’s colorful characters and the restrained voice of a naturalist narrator. David Baguley’s introduction analyzes Zola’s personal background, his literary and scientific influences, and the historical circumstances of French workers in the 1860s as well as a spectrum of political acts and deeds in the 1880s when the novel was written. These features plus Zola’s notes on the town of Anzin that he studied prior to writing the novel, make this the edition of choice for course adoptions in history and literature."
—Stephen Kern, Humanities Distinguished Professor, Department of History, Ohio State University
"After his beautiful translation of Baudelaire's Paris Spleen, Raymond N. MacKenzie now offers us a fresh, superb version of Madame Bovary by Flaubert. Impeccably transparent, this new translation captures the original's careful, precise language and admirably conveys the small-mindedness of nineteenth-century provincial French towns. MacKenzie's tour de force transports the reader to Yonville and compels him to look at Emma with Flaubert's calm, disenchanted eyes."
—Thomas Pavel, Gordon J. Laing Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago
"A superb achievement, one that successfully brings together in accessible form the work of two major writers of Renaissance France. This is now the default version of Montaigne in English."
—Timothy Hampton, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley
"An excellent edition that will give students a clean, well-translated text without too much clutter. The introduction is magisterial."
—Srinivas Aravamudan, Duke University
“[Beaumarchais’] fame rests on Le Barbier de Seville (1775) and Le Mariage de Figaro (1784), the only French plays which his stage-struck century bequeathed to the international repertoire. But his achievement has been adulterated, for ‘Beaumarchais’ has long been the brand name of a product variously reprocessed by Mozart, Rossini, and the score or so librettists and musicians who have perpetuated his plots, his characters, and his name. The most intriguing question of all has centered on his role as catalyst of the Revolution. Was his impertinent barber the Sweeney Todd of the Ancien Régime, the true begetter of the guillotine? . . . Beaumarchais’ plays have often seemed to need the same kind of shoring up as his reputation, as though they couldn’t stand on their own without a scaffolding of good tunes. Yet, as John Wells’ lively and splendidly speakable translations of the Barber, the Marriage, and A Mother’s Guilt demonstrate, they need assistance from no one. [Beaumarchais] thought of the three plays as a trilogy. Taken together, they reflect, as John Leigh’s commentaries make clear, the Ancien Régime’s unstoppable slide into revolution.”
—David Coward in The London Review of Books
Based on the 1758 edition, this translation strives for fidelity and retains Montesquieu’s paragraphing. George R. Healy’s Introduction discusses The Persian Letters as a kind of overture to the Enlightenment, a work of remarkable diversity designed more to explore a problem of great urgency for eighteenth century thought than to resolve it: that of discovering universals, or at least the pragmatic constants, amid the diversity of human culture and society, and of confronting the proposition that there are no values in human relationships except those imposed by force or agreed upon in self-interested conventions.