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Comment: Aside from being ex library, Hardcover copy is in good, solid, condition, DJ is nice under mylar,unmarked text, a good copy. We take great pride in accurately describing the condition of our books, ship within 48 hours and offer a 100% money back guarantee.
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Belle du Seigneur: A Novel Hardcover – May 1, 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First published in Paris in 1968, Belle du Seigneur is considered the masterpiece of Albert Cohen, a Jew who served the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, who became Israel's first Prime Minister, and worked for the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees after World War II. This tortuous love story revolves around an adulterous affair between Sola, the ostentatious son of the Chief Rabbi of Cephalonia and Ariane d'Auble, a beautiful, blonde, Protestant aristocrat. Threatened by impending war and the growing anti-Semitism of Europe in the mid-1930s, the two struggle to keep passion alive. While Ariane molds herself into the perfection of femininity, Sola takes on a bitter cruelty that translates into revenge against the ostracism of himself and his people.

From Publishers Weekly

A vast, astonishing satire of modern life, Cohen's continuously digressive comic novel, set in Geneva in the 1930s, skewers, above all else, the emptiness of middle-class existence, its worship of power and money. Its antihero is Solal, Under-Secretary of the League of Nations, who risks his reputation over an obsessive love affair with the rebellious, bored wife of a pompous League official. Like Cohen himself, Solal is a Mediterranean Jew, an outsider. He mocks his own deep religious faith and expresses skepticism about the League's idealistic internationalism?which he nevertheless makes his personal mission. Tracing Solal's path, Cohen swings from slang to grandiloquence and pure stream-of-consciousness, mixing low farce, high comedy, rapturous erotica and acid satire on the rise of fascism. His gleefully observed gallery of fools exposes a catalogue of human failings?pretense, envy, snobbery, machismo, conformity?all typified by the man Solal cuckolds, Adrien Deume, a hypocritical, bigoted bureaucrat whose narrow-mindedness contrasts with the League's grand ambitions. Bumbling through this sprawling canvas, meanwhile, are "the Valiant," five picturesque cousins from Corfu whose Chaplinesque antics and open embrace of their Jewish roots counterpoint Solal's brooding. Cohen takes in his giant stride such themes as the psychological battlefield of marriage, humanity's bestiality beneath its civilized veneer, the persecution of Jews across the ages and the terrible brevity of each life. Readers of this magnificent conclusion to a trilogy that also includes Solal (1930) and Mangeclous (1938) will understand why, upon its publication in 1968 in France, it won the French Academy's Grand Prix du Roman, and why it has gone on to sell more than one million copies in Europe alone.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; Reprint edition (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067082187X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670821877
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,408,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Albert Cohen's masterpiece is intimidating both for its size and chapter-long sentences. But, please, do not be discouraged. This is one of the most insightful novels I have read. It delves into the bureacratic labyrinth of international institutions, mocks their functionaries, and is a haunting critique of European virtues on the eve of the Second World War. (Particularly funny for those familar with the World Bank, UN, or government anywhere).
But, most importantly, it portrays the relationship between men and women in a profound yet comic way. The book's difficulty is quite worth the struggle, especially when you reach the chapter where Solal seduces his beloved. A chapter that is hard for me to forget, for it shows just how stupid and cruel we are.
This is not for the lazy readers, but if you have any guts, read this one. Its worth the while.
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Format: Paperback
This magnificent opus of Albert Cohen is much more than The story of love. It is the story of the dream of love (not only personal, but also in its abstract form) and its impossible realization. It offers an original view of both male and female human nature in matters of love and life. It also contains some of the funniest chapters describing bourgeois society (Swiss, French, Belgian, German, Jewish - you name it) and its values and prejudices, and diplomatic life. Some may find it exaggerated and longwinded, but others will enjoy every single word, and re-read this book every so often. If you can't read it in the original French, don't miss this opportunity and read the English translation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my favorite book, has been since it came out in French more than 40 years ago. No one writes like Albert Cohen and Belle du Seigneur is the ultimate love story: glorious and completely impossible. His writings are for the happy few who are willing to plunge into his elaborate stream of conscious and savor his wit and the sublime melange of romanticism and cynicism. He imitates on purpose Proust, Joyce and others, which makes the reading even more delightful. Not to be missed!
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Format: Paperback
Albert Cohen is an excellent writer and you can keep read him on and on and on and love the way he writes. However, the characters are shallow and you would find yourself spending an hour or so reading about some woman who has the brain of a 13 year old kind. Why are the women so ditzy? The author should not take advantage of the reader and keep him captive audience to reading him for hours talking about silly stuff, just because he knows he has a gift for writing. As readers, we still have to fall in love with the characters in the same way we did with Oliver Twist and King Lear and feel like we really want to more and more. The author can keep talking about a small issue and you find yourself reading for hours and you can't help but wonder, "Come on! It is a light post. Does it have to talk this many pages to describe it and tell us how you feel about it?"
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By A Customer on February 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
What an amazing book. I can't think of many books that can trace the story of a love affair the way this book does. Like an arc, it starts with animosity and goes through flirtation, infatuation, love, obsession, and descends into distate, resentment, morbidity. This book exhausts emotionally and absorbs intellectually. Solal and Ariane are so complicated and interesting as characters; and what an utter twit Ariane's husband is!
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Format: Hardcover
That they are made for each other is an understatement, that they have nothing better to do with their lives than destroy each other is also a given, this is a story of self-absorbed directionless rich people who throw away all their potential before Hollywood discovered a way to make money off them through summer movies.

To me it seemed like Solal was dissatisfied with his place in the world and he took it out by increasing his sado-maso obsession with Ariane. I mean, you are rich, handsome, have the love of your life beside you, what more could you possibly want? There was a hole in his heart he just could not fill.
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Format: Paperback
Cohen's stream of consciousness - beautiful- style leaves us no escape from this absolute, uncompromising love. I have read the book many times, and it never fails to overwhelm me...although I should add that I have never been able to read the last 20 pages... Ariane and Solal are the most beautiful lovers since forever, unconcerned by others - it is the history of love from start to, ufortunately, the end..
(By the way, the novel does not take place in France, but Switzerland)
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Format: Leather Bound
a truly beautiful story
at the total destruction of the human soul.
the characters are caricatures, heightened,
nad yet so real--
even the most minor of them.
they are human,
more human that maybe we want to admit
about the people around us.
maybe you might even find yourself in the book.
but the book is long,
and unless you learn to love wathcing their sadness,
you will find difficult to read.
it is a love story,
but of people desperate for love.
it is not a happy story.
but it might be very very wise.
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