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Le Grand Meaulnes (French) Mass Market Paperback – Jun 1 1963

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Livre de Poche; poche edition (January 2000)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2253005274
  • ISBN-13: 978-2253005278
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.3 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,575,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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 the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Lire Le Grand Meaulnes c'est aller à la découverte d'aventures qui exigent d'incessants retours en arrière, comme si l'aiguillon du bonheur devait toujours se refléter dans le miroir troublant et tremblant de l'enfance scruté par le regard fiévreux de l'adolescence. Le merveilleux de ce roman réside dans un secret mouvement de balancier où le temps courtise son abolition, tandis que s'élève la rumeur d'une fête étrange dont la hantise se fait d'autant plus forte que l'existence s'en éloigne irrévocablement.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
I had to read this book in college for a German literature course - which doesn't make much sense since it was originally writen in French and takes place in France. But hey, one character does briefly go to Germany during the course of the story so maybe that was the justification.
Anyway, I have always remembered the book as being fantastic and one of the most emotionally powerful things I had ever read. So much so, that a water stained, yellowed papaerpack copy had come with me over 25 years and 10+ moves to three continents.
So finally last week, I mad the time to read it again both to try to remember the specifics of what was so good and also so I could share it with my teenage daughter. Imagine my surprise to find it somewhat simplistic both in storyline and wtiting. The passion of the characters that caused them to make bad decisions in their lives must have seemed heroic to me as a 20 year old but sure seem transparently stupid to me now.
The general theme that you lose what ever you most passionately desire if you actually acheive it, does not really resonate with me now. Sometimes I find it to be true; other times not and in any case most older people don't desire things with the passion of the young.
Anyway, interesting book. Differet from most other things you might read. Worth the time; especially if you are 20 years old.
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Format: Paperback
Henri Alain-Fournier was lost in the early days of World War I; like the artist August Macke, he was cut down in youth and his artistic potential comes down to us in this youthful novel of great promise.
The story centers around François Seurel, whose father runs the local boys' school and his friend, an older boy, Auguste Meaulnes . Tall and commanding, Meaulnes is soon the class leader, and gets the nickname "Le Grand Meaulnes" which translates perhaps as "Meaulnes the Great" --hard to put into English. One day, the headmaster sends a student off to the railway station to fetch a visiting relative, and Meaulnes, not chosen for this excursion, bolts out the window and presumably tries to hire a faster horse and carriage and beat the other student to the station. But Meaulnes gets lost, or goes in another direction deliberately, and fails to return that evening.
What happens next is filled with mystery and possibly magic or delusion. Meaulnes tries to find "the lost domain"--a mansion where he meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman. But the way is hidden from him, the map incomplete, and Meaulnes desperately tries to find his path again. The tone of somber mystery is dark and magical, and evokes a mood of ineffable sadness and delight. The novel is like reading a fairy tale mixed with a romantic novel, and we can only guess what Alain-Fournier would have done had he lived.
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Format: Paperback
"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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