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Le Baiser au lépreux
Jean Péloueyre est riche, mais d'une laideur peu soutenable. Or voici que pour des raisons pécuniaires on arrange son mariage avec la jolie Noémie d'Artiailh. Les deux jeunes époux vont connaître un conflit parallèle, lui entre son amour et la conscience de sa laideur, elle entre son désir d'être une authentique épouse chrétienne et sa répugnance physique pour le mari ...more
Paperback, 187 pages
Published August 1st 1967 by Livre de Poche
(first published 1922)
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I can accept, even admire belief, when it is accompanied by a sense of struggle and a dose of doubt. A French Catholic intellectual tradition, stretching from Pascal on down to writers like Mauriac and Bernanos, has precisely this spirit. For example, Mauriac, in this novel, struggles with Christian imagery and teaching that can be disturbing: the challenge to love, really love, the unlovable and, moreover, to recognize and somehow surmount our own ugliness before God. Mauriac also confronts ...more
I actually read this in the English translation, translated as "A Kiss for a Leper." The basic story is of a deformed rich man who is given a beautiful young wife. This wife is repulsed by his body, and they never consummate the marriage. That's it. The psychological depth Mauriac gives to the characters is quite amazing. He's a bit like Doestoevsky in that the character's voices (although it's inner dialogue) become the narrative engine, and a bit like Tolstoy in that the Landes of Bourdeaux ...more
One of Mauriac's earlier works, this short novella already betrays the author's penchant for deft, incisive characterizations, pastoral scenery, and unflinching depictions of psychic and spiritual torment. It is the story of a horribly unhappy arranged marriage between a rich but desperately ugly young man, and a beautiful but naive and simple young woman. With his singular human insight, Mauriac penetrates through the morass of their loathing and self-recrimination to touch at the deep ...more
Intriguing plot (though it’s only possible in some earlier ages, if then). As for the character of Jean P. (cross between Thomas Mann’s Herr Friedmann and Dalibor Cvitan’s Ervin), level of spinelessness is too damn high. The character of Neomi is too sloped towards the ideal and it’s (sadly) making her quite unrealistic .
François Charles Mauriac was a French writer and a member of the Académie française. He was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life." Mauriac is acknowledged to be one of the greatest Roman Catholic writers of the 20th century.More about François Mauriac...