Marguerite Audoux (1863-1937): Marie Claire.
(1910, English translation, 1911.)
Translated by John N. Raphael
With an Introduction by Arnold Bennett and an Afterword by the Translator
A semi-fictionalised autobiographical novel by a seamstress, who was discovered by Octave Mirbeau, this book won several prizes and is notable for the beauty of its language.
“The first part of the novel tells the story of her mother's death, of her father's departure, and of the nine years she spent in the orphanage of the convent Hôpital Général de Bourges. It was a dark period, made brighter however by the guiding presence of Sister Marie-Aimée. The second part of the novel takes place on the farm in Villevielle where Marie-Claire's first employers Master Sylvain and Pauline surround the young shepherdess with good-hearted affection. In the third part, Marie-Claire, now a young woman, falls in love with Henri Deslois, the brother of the farmer's wife who followed Pauline. The young man's mother forbids Marie-Claire to see her son again. Marie-Claire returns to the convent where she sees Sister Marie-Aimée before leaving again for Paris.”
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