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Thread: Maupassant: Best Editions/Translations?

  1. #1
    the unnameable promtbr's Avatar
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    Maupassant: Best Editions/Translations?

    I need suggestions from those of you who have read him more than I have. I had the older Selected Stories Penguin edition translated by Colet.

    The swooshy arrow logo bookseller lists various translations of selected works, but I am after Collected stories...

    It does not look like any larger contemporary literary publisher has tried to re-issue his collected works or his novels.

    I am after all his stories and his novel, Bel Ami

    I have a VERY old tattered 1905 ed NY books hardcover of what appears to be most of his stories. I am not sure of the quality of the english translation. I am picky about translation versions.

    To you experts out there, do older, english idiom translations butcher his prose? There are a couple of paperback "Collected Stories" edditons listed but they don't even list the translator so I am leary...
    Last edited by promtbr; 02-05-2009 at 11:19 AM.

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    the unnameable promtbr's Avatar
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    Thank you for moving this to where it will NEVER EVER be answered.

    I am fully aware of the author forum. If you see the activity level here, you can understand. I am not going to wait 12 months for a response

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by promtbr View Post
    I need suggestions from those of you who have read him more than I have. I had the older Selected Stories Penguin edition translated by Colet.

    The swooshy arrow logo bookseller lists various translations of selected works, but I am after Collected stories...

    It does not look like any larger contemporary literary publisher has tried to re-issue his collected works or his novels.

    I am after all his stories and his novel, Bel Ami

    I have a VERY old tattered 1905 ed NY books hardcover of what appears to be most of his stories. I am not sure of the quality of the english translation. I am picky about translation versions.

    To you experts out there, do older, english idiom translations butcher his prose? There are a couple of paperback "Collected Stories" edditons listed but they don't even list the translator so I am leary...
    Thank God that, at last, someone has taken an interest in Maupassant, one of the foremost literary figures in 19th century French writing.
    Years ago, when I didn't speak French, I came across a translation of Boule de Suif and was hooked. Later, I bought a two volume copy of Bel Ami simply on account of the sumptuous leather binding, in what turned out to be a poor translation. In spite of the translation, the storyline was absolutely riveting and told me much about French society that I would never have known. However, after I learned to speak and read French, I dispensed with English versions of French literatrure and just read them in the original language.
    Yes it is difficult to get hold of English translations approriate to your search, but perhaps other Lit Netters are more informed in this respect.
    Last edited by Emil Miller; 02-05-2009 at 08:09 PM.

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    After reading about de Maupassant on this site, I recently bought a couple of his books. I haven't read them yet, but I can say that my copy of Bel-Ami cost me the princely sum of 90p on Amazon. I thought I had misread it, as it's a Penguin Classics edition. I don't know if you're in the Uk, but have a look if it's still there at that price. I went for the cheap Wordsworth edition of The Best Short Stories, as I usually like to buy Penguin or Oxford World Classics, but thought as I hadn't read him, I would go for the cheapo version. I bought a lot of Wordsworth classics at the same time, as for the price, I got more than double the amount I would get with my nice, glossy editions.

    The translation of Bel-Ami is by Douglas Parmee, if that's any help, but I can't find a translator in the Wordsworth one.

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    the unnameable promtbr's Avatar
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    Thankyou both for responding. I have a great appreciation for Maupassant as well as the other 19th century Classical French authors. I just completed a re-visit, re-read of this period and literature in Dec/Jan: Balzac's Black Sheep, Pere Goriot, Flaubert's Madame Bovary and both of Stendhals masterpieces. I had read a bit of Maupassant back in the day and (as the others I have read above, it was so long ago and so many brain cells in the past etc...) upon re-reading them, it might as well be the first time.

    I did find in my old stored boxes of books, an acceptable copy of Bel Ami in the edition that Wessex girl refered to. I also have the old Colet translated Penguin Selected Stories and supposedly that is a respected translation, but its in too sad shape so I will do some more research. I may try to get a copy of his first novel 'Un Vie' or something to that affect. Available in Oxford Classics as A Life

    I am currently reading In Search of Lost Time, and may "take a break" between volumes reading Maupassant short stories. Interesting after reading a Proust bio, he met Maupassant in the salons of Paris. I am guessing just before the older writer went over the edge...

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Une Vie is a must read for anyone interested in Maupassasnt's writing and, although it isn't quite as good as Bel-Ami, it runs it a very close second.
    The other novels are variable in quality but are all very readable.
    You have probably come across Alphonse Daudet already but ,if not, he writes in a vein that is somwhere between Zola and Maupassant and is also a great writer from that period when Paris must have seemed like the centre of the universe.

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    I did not notice it until now, but I have no idea who translated my copy of the complete short stories of Maupassant. It comes from the International Collectors Library, and I found it as a great translation, having read a few of his short stories in their original French. Online, I have found several copies for sale, at a relatively good prices, but how odd that they should not list a translator.
    Good luck!

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