Mademoiselle de Malepeire
a new translation
"A highbrow classic that reads like a guilty pleasure."
Eleni N. Gage, Features Editor, O, the Oprah Magazine
"A clever, inspiring gem."
"A ripping yarn. Fans of 19th-century French literature will want to take a look."
"A compelling mystery that transports the reader to the early days of the French Revolution in search of a woman who reads radical books in secret."
Rebecca Romney, founder, Type Punch Matrix and book expert for HISTORY Channel's Pawn Stars.
Mademoiselle de Malepeire is a bibliophile's delight, centered around a misunderstood woman who reads forbidden books in secret while seeking forbidden love during the feverish lead-up to the French Revolution.
In the 1923 introduction to his translation of Charles Baudelaire's poems entitled "The Task of the Translator," German literary critic Walter Benjamin wrote that "a translation comes later than the original, and since the important works of world literature never find their chosen translators at the time of their origin, their translation marks their stage of continued life." In that spirit, Barbara Basbanes Richter translated this book for a modern audience in the hopes that a new generation of readers will rediscover Reybaud and while building a better understanding of nineteenth-century women writers in France.
This is an updated translation of Mademoiselle de Malepeire. The first edition appeared in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, when the world faced greater issues than resurrecting a nineteenth-century French author. But the translator felt that someday Fanny ought to have a second act, and which we hope this volume will achieve, however modest that resurrection may be. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the translator discovered new information about Fanny Reybaud that has been included in this new edition. Discursive footnotes have been added to provide the contemporary reader with the same background knowledge Reyabud’s readers would have had in 1854.
This new translation by Barbara Basbanes Richter reintroduces readers to a fabulous novel and an author worthy of rediscovery.