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Le Grand Meaulnes (Le Livre de Poche) (French Edition) (French) Mass Market Paperback – August 20, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Alain-Fournier was killed in battle on the Meuse in 1914, he left behind Le Grand Meaulnes, a novel of wistful enchantment. The tale is recounted by François Seurel, whose father heads the village school where Augustin Meaulnes comes to board. A tall, somber youth of 17, he instantly becomes the class ringleader, and is soon known as le grand Meaulnes. When the youth sets off on an impetuous errand of a few hours and doesn't return for several days, events take a darker turn.

After Meaulnes's reappearance, Seurel notices his companion's unrest, and tries to uncover its source. He wakes in the midwinter nights to find Meaulnes pacing the room "like someone rummaging about in his memory, sorting out scraps." Meaulnes remains disconsolate, but finally reveals the nature of his travels, and the strange days of revelry at his unintended destination--the "lost domain" to which he is desperate to return and doesn't know how to find. Seurel rightly guesses that Meaulnes met a young woman there, and that he is in love. "Often afterwards, when he had gone to sleep after trying desperately to recapture that beautiful image, he saw in his dreams a procession of young women who resembled her ... but not one of them was this tall slender girl." The two friends set about retracing Meaulnes's path, and their journeys take them into manhood, when Meaulnes finds at last a way to bring his quest full circle.

Alain-Fournier pairs his tightly twisting plot with a poignant nostalgia. His descriptive powers bring to the reader the sights and sounds--the icy winter winds and rattling carriage wheels--from an earlier time, all the while weaving a brilliant affirmation of loyalty and lasting friendship. --Joannie Kervran Stangeland --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Le Livre de Poche (Book 1000)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette; New edition (August 20, 2008)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2253082643
  • ISBN-13: 978-2253082644
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,330,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Le Grand Meaulnes" is, simply put, a beautiful novel. A friend recommended it to me recently, and after reading it once I know I will keep it to read over and over again. Alain-Fournier has written, with heartbreaking poignance, about a magical period between boyhood and manhood; a time that once gone can never be recaptured. The book's title has shifted over the years from "The Grand Meaulnes," to "The Wanderer," and then "The Lost Domain." Alain-Fournier writes about a boy who is called "Le Grand Meaulnes" by his friends and fellow schoolmates. What does "Grand" mean? The novel's translator writes: "No English adjective will convey all the shades of meaning that can be read into the simple word 'grand' which takes on overtones as the story progresses. 'Le Grand Meaulnes' can be 'the tall,' 'the big,' 'the almost-grown-up,' even 'the great Meaulnes' - or with schoolboys, even 'good old Meaulnes.' But when the book has been put down, that phrase evokes in retrospect the image of someone not only tall or big, but also daring, noble, tragic, fabulous." And Augustin Meaulnes is all those things - as he is also a wanderer, searching for a lost domain.
The tale is set in France in the late 1800s. Our narrator is Francois Seurel, the somewhat sheltered, adolescent son of Sainte-Agathe's secondary schoolmaster. A new border comes to the school, Augustin Meaulnes, bringing adventure and a breath of fresh air into Francois' peaceful, rather sedate life. The charismatic young man easily becomes the leader of the schoolboys and much admired by all. He is definitely not flamboyant nor a show-off, but a rather quiet, serious and sometimes introspective young man.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on October 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of those little remembered novels whose remaining fans firmly believe it to be one of the unacknowledged masterpieces of the 20th Century. Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy and Halldor Laxness's Independent People inspire similarly fanatical devotion in small groups of faithful adherents. In this case though, one of the devoted fans just happens to be the great novelist John Fowles who proselytizes relentlessly for it, including writing the afterword to the edition I read, and crediting it as the inspiration for his first novel, The Magus (itself a Modern Library Top 100 entry). I don't know that I'm willing to join them yet, but all three of these cults may have a point. At any rate, The Wanderer, or, Le Grande Meaulnes, to give it the original French title, is certainly a unique and wonderful book.
The Wanderer of the title is Augustin Meaulnes, a charismatic, restless, youth who transfers to Sainte Agathe school in Sologne and befriends Francois Seurel, whose parents are teachers at the school. Meaulnes quickly earns the nickname Le Grand, or The Great, both because of his height and because he is the kind of natural leader who other boys flock to and emulate. The author portrays the school as an island, cut off from the rest of the world, and Meaulnes as the castaway who is most anxious to get off. He runs away several times and on one occasion has a mystical experience which will shape the course rest of the rest of the boys' lives.
When Francois's grandparents come to visit, another boy is chosen to accompany the cart to town to get them, but Meaulnes sneaks off in the carriage. Irretrievably lost, he stumbles upon a pair of young actors who take him to a dreamlike masquerade ball at a sumptuous estate.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on December 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This little novel is the kind of literature that has everything to be appealing and unforgettable. It is set in one of the most beautiful parts of France, a distant, remote land of forests, lagoons and castles. It recounts a tale of childhood and adolescence, a time of innocence long lost and of hazy adventures in the long evenings and vacations of school times. It involves a glimpse of total bliss and the dream of permanent and absolute happiness. It verges on the border between reality and fantasy.
The story is told by Francois Seurel, the son of the schoolmaster in a small, secluded town in la Sologne (Central France). One day a new kid comes to study and live with Francois's family. He is called Le Grand (the great) Meaulnes. He's a natural leader and an independent kid who one day steals a carriage in order to go pick up Francois's great parents. He gets lost in the woods and loses the carriage, which forces him to wander around the countryside where, after some time, he comes to an ancient domain, a big, decaying house where a huge party is about to begin. He notices everybody seems to be welcome and after a nap in a bedroom he finds old-style clothes seeminlgy ready for him to wear. So he does and he goes to the party. At some point he meets "the" girl, the most beautiful living being he's ever seen, and of course he falls madly in love with her. But she's mysterious and they will only have chance to exchange names. The day after, the party ends on enigmatic circumstances and Meaulnes gets a ride home at night, and so he is unable to figure out the way back to the house. The rest of his life will be one long and tragic search for the place and the girl of his dreams, and to reveal more would be unkind to potential readers.
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