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French Short Stories 1: Parallel Text
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French Short Stories 1: Parallel Text (French Short Stories #1)

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The eight short stories in this collection, by Marcel Ayme, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Raymond Queneau and other French writers, have been selected for their literary merit and as representative of twentieth-century French writing. The English translations that are printed in a parallel text are literal rather than literary, and there are additional notes on the text.

This volume
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 30th 1966 by Penguin Books (first published 1966)
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I read four stories – in a mix of French and English. The first, a sparse little Robbe-Grillet, astonished me because, typically dry in English, it was absolutely sparkling in the French. Well…, maybe that’s the wrong word, but it had a resonance – so that I could see suddenly why he is so well-regarded. The quality, the *tone* of his prose doesn’t transfer into English… but oh! it's there in the French.

The second story was by Marcel Jouhandeau. It was delightfully naturalistic – until the last
I used to think I could understand the nuances and style of an English translation better than the original French. If these translations are anything to go by, that is not the case at all. Some are better than others, but overall the translations lack an absurd amount of specificity. Even if they don't leave out specific descriptions, they still use less specific words than were in the original, even when there's a good equivalent. I don't really understand why. Maybe it would sound clunky in E ...more
I read all but the last story. Parallel texts are not for me. I'm not sure why I dislike them. There is something de-motivating about having the English translation just across the page from the original; it makes me think, why bother with the French, or whatever language? Certainly, I don't find them particularly helpful. I've given the book away now and don't remember the French titles of the stories. I thought "Hanged, cuckolded and happy" was rather insulting to women, in much the same way t ...more
A highly entertaining and diverse collection of French short stories, which I believe to represent the themes and techniques explored in French literature in the 20th century, I enjoyed these stories for both their high literary value and creativity, their moral and social allusions about 20th century France and the diverse texture of the writing styles I experienced in the collection. Above all, reading this is really helpful for a French student to both gain new vocabulary and begin to underst ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Summer Readers
Fun summer read. Foreign reads = less guilt over fluff ;) Good variety... would recommend.
Parallel text idea is helpful for advanced readers who want to tackle an unadapted French fiction. The problem with this book is that most of the stories are either excruciatingly boring, or pretentious, or both because the decisive factor for the stories inclusion into this book was their availability in public domain (free copyright). The only excellent story is the one by Marcel Ayme who also happens to be the only widely known author in this selection.
Imad Ahmed
The book jacket states that the volume is intended to help English speakers learn French. But the way the stories are translated, it fails at doing just that. 'Vache' is translated as 'swine', and not 'cow'; 'deux mille cinq cents metres' is translated as 'eight thousand feet', rather than 2500m; 'il fut presque en quarantaine' as 'sent to Coventry'. Massive fail.
Marina Sofia
Perhaps not the most representative selection of stories (nor the most contemporary), but an interesting premise - to have literal rather than literary translations.
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