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Le Grand Meaulnes

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  4,076 ratings  ·  318 reviews
When Meaulnes first arrives in Sologne, everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring, and charisma. But when he attends a strange party at a mysterious house with a beautiful girl hidden inside, he is changed forever. This evocative novel has at its center both a Peter Pan in provincial France-a kid who refuses to grow up-and a Parsifal, pursuing his love to the ends o...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by Penguin Classics (first published 1912)
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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryLes Misérables by Victor HugoThe Stranger by Albert CamusThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Best French Literature
41st out of 540 books — 952 voters
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Metamorphosis by Franz KafkaPeter Pan by J.M. BarrieHowards End by E.M. ForsterA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Best Books of the Decade: 1910's
54th out of 197 books — 312 voters

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Community Reviews

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Esteban del Mal
Sep 21, 2010 Esteban del Mal rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who wonder what Cirque du Soleil would sound like if they talked
Dear Henri Alain-Fournier,

Some people claim you had great talent as a novelist. Many more would claim I don't. Is it fair that you died in World War I while I live, free to write this review and feeling like I'm having a bad morning because I didn't have all the usual ingredients for my breakfast shake? Your remains weren't identified until 1991, true, but do you know that without yogurt, steel cut oatmeal, goji berries and banana congeal like pond scum when blended with almond milk? I guess in...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 21, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, french, ya, classics
Alain-Fournier was the pseudonym of Henri Alban-Fournier (1886-1914), a French author and soldier. Le Grand Meaulnes (1913) was his only novel, filmed twice and is now considered one of the greatest works of French literature. He was a friend to Andre Gide (1869-1951) who wrote The Fruits of the Earth (1897), Strait is the Gate (1909), The Counterfeiters (1927) among many others. Alain-Fournier started work on a second novel Colombe Blanchet in 1914. However, that same year, he joined the army a...more
Eddie Watkins
When I was about 10 I spent what felt like an entire summer playing in a marsh with a friend. The marsh was a gradual discovery. Each day, as our courage increased, we penetrated deeper into it, crawling and hopping from tree mound to tree mound, until we had mapped out quite a large area in our imaginations. And of course we were the only two who knew about it. This area of the marsh became our sprawling fort, with significant crossings and islands given names from my primary reading matter of...more
MJ Nicholls
Le Grand Meaulnes is supposed to be untranslatable, and this translation by French classics legend Robin Buss doesn’t convince me otherwise. The novel hinges upon the titular Meaulnes being such a charming force of character in a lower-class school, his name echoes down the ages and his antics and adventures make him a much-beloved geezer in the province. Doesn’t quite work. But the narrator François is certainly smitten and describes Meaulnes’s first love in fits of florid descriptive prose wor...more
Although Le Grand Meaulnes (sometimes translated as The Wanderer or The Lost Estate) was written in 1913, which was more in the decadent or modernism era, this lovely, mysterious novel falls definitely into the category of late Romanticism. Just one year after publishing his one and only novel, young Henri Alain-Fournier was killed in a World War I battle at Epargnes in 1914. The literary world is so much the poorer for his loss as well as for the loss of many more novels he surely would have w...more
Mi ricordo l'inverno nei corridoi della Statale, tra un corso e l'altro a volte c'erano "buchi" lunghi da riempire e il cielo era grigio e cupo a Milano.
Ecco, ricordo di averlo letto, divorato, in uno di quei momenti.
Non importa quello che oggi potrei pensare di questo romanzo, voglio continuare a pensarlo con tutta la tenerezza che mi ha trasmesso, con tutti i voli della fantasia che mi ha permesso, con quei corridoi freddi che voglio ricordare per sempre.
Most French people read this book at school and a recent poll in France made it the sixth best book of the 20th century.

Unlike the average French person, I came to this story of adolescent love in my early 50s. Would the book's charms work for the older reader? The answer is an emphatic yes. It perfectly captures that magical period when emotions are at their most intense.

Le Grand Meaulnes, the protagonist, is an adventurous, charismatic wanderer who stumbles across a lost chateau where partyg...more
Le Grande Meaulnes, by Alain –Fournier

I loved this book, which will make me pay more attention to The Le Monde top of 100 best novels…up to know I placed emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon critics’ lists of The Guardian and TIME…

Le Grande Meaulnes is “one of France’s most popular novels…much loved yet little read”
F. Scott Fitzgerald borrowed its title for The Great Gatsby (some think even the characters).

All the life of the author was influenced, moved round a single afternoon, when he met Yvonne, whic...more
Fatema Hassan , bahrain

/ مولن الكبير /
* نقلها للعربية إدوار البستاني *

رواية ( آفاق الصبا / مولن الكبير ) للفرنسي الآن فورنييه / ١٨٨٦-١٩١٤/
نشرها ١٩١٣ قبل عام من وفاته على الجبهة الفرنسية في الحرب العالمية الأولى عن مايقارب ال٢٨ عام ، لذلك تجد هذه الرواية الفرنسية الأكثر شعبية من ناحية القراءة بين الأجيال الفرنسية و الأكثر شيوعاً في مراحل الصبا فهي تناقش قضية عناقيد المغامرة الشهية والمغرية للإكتشاف في أول ربوع الصبا ، و هي الأكثر تدارساً على ما يبدو فهي تحوي النسق الوصفي المثالي للواقعية الفرنسية في ذلك الأوان ، ناه...more
Jim Coughenour
Alain-Fournier's novel evokes a lost world, not only the inevitable loss of childhood but also a lost world of fiction, specifically 19th century boy's fiction: adventure stories full of treasure, mysterious maps, mysteries barely glimpsed, adolescent hero worship, and love that knows nothing of lust. David Copperfield; Kidnapped; Kim. A year after it was published, its young author disappeared into the carnage of the first world war, buried in a mass grave. Unlike Swann's Way (also published in...more
An elegy to lost love, an evocation of the sad inevitability of time, in the form of a modern chivalric romance: a questing youth stumbles upon an engagement party that seems an enchanted otherworld, falls in love therein, tries forever to return, but is foiled by the slow, dread entanglements of the everyday world and his own failings—he finds the woman, but never again the enchanted moment. The tale is told with an almost minimalist delicacy. Magical and melancholy.

Favorite quote: Weeks went b...more
A strange, haunting book about adolescence and growing up, and about the enchantment and madness of spending your life on supposedly grandiose but ultimately self-absorbed romantic quests at the expense of your happiness and especially that of other people.

I must say I did not like the character of Meaulnes at all. I think he's obnoxious, self-absorbed and empty, and there's no reason for everyone to be worshipping him as much as they do. It didn't detract my enjoyment of this book, though, beca...more
Never have I found it more difficult to finish a lovelier book. My first attempt was derailed five years ago; the second was ultimately successful only after a three-month hiatus. And this little volume carried so much weight by now, as a favourite of several people - exes, friends, the hard-to-label - from different times and places in my life ... all of which have something of the partially-lost domain about them.

I started reading it again in a sunny May garden surrounded by birdsong - the fir...more
A unique and dream-like book about youthful ardour and longing. The story of Meaulnes and his search for his lost love is unforgettable. Impulsive, reckless and heroic, Meaulnes embodies both romanticism and a search for the elusiveness of the world between childhood and adulthood. I found this book both enjoyable and thought-provoking in its exceptional depiction of romantic feeling. The result was a haunting ability to remain in my memory with a sort of nostalgia for the reading that I have ra...more
Is this an ironic title? Not sure what was so magnificent about Augustin Meaulnes. Let's see some of the magnificent thing this guy did shall we. Takes off from school which his mother is bordering him to go to, gets lost with a borrowed horse and buggy, crashes a party for three days, falls "in love" with a girl he met for like 30 seconds, then loses touch with her and pines for her for years, then he falls in love with the girl's brother's ex-fiancee but wait a minute he finds the first girl a...more
I read "Le Grand Meaulnes" at school when I was ca 16, the book stood in its own category, the impression it left hard to describe. And then it disappeared - from my life, but strangely enough, also from public interest in Poland. I remembered it again after coming back home from Duino two years later, and wanted to get it, to go back, to decipher it better, but nobody I asked knew it. I kept looking in libraries, book-shops, in vain, not even on the internet for a long dozen of years did anythi...more
Apparently this novel is big in France while it's not very well-known in the English-speaking world. The author died in World War I at the age of 27.

Childish and flawed, it's nonetheless fascinating, mysterious, whimsical and magical. Set in the provinces of France, it is primarily the story of two young men who met at school and are friends. There is a light and plaintive touch to the writing and I think it is very special, for its obvious flaws in structure and characterisation; but some of t...more
THIS BOOK GIVES ME FEELINGS. UGH. *sobs with abandon*
"Man, this book is so French." That's the recurring thought I had as I read The Lost Estate. It seems many critics over the years have responded to this book as a elegy on the loss (or, more specifically, the leaving behind) of childhood. This is entirely accurate, of course, but to me it seems even moreso a classic French meditation on sadness.

This is not to say that French authors have a lock on depressing books, but aside from the works of Alexandre Dumas and Stendhal, most of the other Frenc...more
Claire McAlpine
Impossible to read without some comprehension of the short life and ambitions of Alain-Fournier and thanks to an excellent introduction by Hermione Lee, we are given that context through which to read his story.

It is a story of a childhood and adolescence told through one who observes, follows and understands. His friend Meaulnes, the dreamer, the adventurer runs away from school and encounters a grand estate in the throes of festivity and meets a beautiful girl, thereafter he is consumed by bot...more
This book, along with a few others in various languages, is a real test of the very idea of translation. A challenge to those who believe in the inherent capacity of any language to absorb and present the feelings, impressions, beliefs and atmosphere of works originally expressed in another language. Myself, I only have two languages: English and French. I was raised with both and have some idea how each of them works. I read Le grand Meaulnes in French, of course. (No one should read anything i...more
Oh, this book. Where do I even start? It's known to most English speakers as "The Lost Estate" or "The Wanderer", but actually translates to "The Great Meaulnes". From what I understand, you either love this novel or hate it. It is one of the few books I've given 5 stars to, but it deserves each one as I absolutely adore it.

It is told by a young (and maturing) Francois Seurel about a childhood friend (Meaulnes) who turned out to have one of the biggest impacts on his life. First love, coming of...more
David Rain
Alain-Fournier was the pseudonym of a French writer, real name Henri Alban, who died in the First World War at the age of twenty-seven. The narrator of this, his only novel, is a young boy, the son of a schoolmaster in provincial France in the late nineteenth century. The story begins when a new pupil comes to the school, the extraordinary Augustin Meaulnes. Taller than the other boys, stronger, more daring, Meaulnes seems destined for adventure, and adventure soon comes when he absconds from sc...more
Set in rural France in the late 19th century, the story is narrated by Francois Seural, sheltered son of a schoolmaster. Young Seural describes how has life was altered with the appearance of Augustin Meaulnes, an older boy who has a worldiness about him that is attractive to both Seural and his classmates. During an escapade of Meaulnes' he found himself in another part of the countryside where he met a beautiful young woman. Upon returning to school he is unable to forget the girl and grows ag...more
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A fantastic illustration of how poisonous nostalgia can re-shape your reality for the worse. The protagonist of "The Lost Estate" wants to relive a particular event from his adolescence so badly that his present is dedicated to manipulating reality in order to meet his romantic vision of the past. While this sounds heavy, the writing is deceptively light and simple, and hits the right note for a perfect coming-of-age adventure tale. The melodramatic elements of the book mask, or maybe support, t...more
One of France's most beloved books - as mysterious, fascinating, elusive, and romantic today as when you read it as a teenager. The writer died very young during WWI, so it's impossible to know what else he would have written. But his only novel is such a treasured book that he ranks among the great French novelists of all times. Richly atmospheric and evocative, his story has the same dreamlike quality as some impressionist paintings, and evokes the complexities of childhood and the painful pas...more
I'm just listening to Julian Barnes and Hermione Lee visiting locations from Henri Alain-Fournier's childhood, which inspired this elegaic dream of childhood and adolescent love.
I first read this for my A-Level French, and then again at least twice later. I find it sad to hear at the end of the first programme that it is no longer on the academic syllabus because it does not fit easily into literary history.

1. A childhood in Sologne
I, ok. I don't think I am smart enough to have enjoyed this book. To see the beauty in this novel.

Is it because it's the quintessential French novel, and I'm not French? Like, at all?


This, at the end of the day, was just dull. "The Great Meaulnes" was, in fact, just a boy who refused to commit and instead gloried in wallowing in self-pity.

Moira Russell
Jul 16, 2010 Moira Russell marked it as amazon-wishlist  ·  review of another edition
'This novel--the only ever written by the author, who died on a French battlefield in 1914--reminds one of The Magus for good reason. Fowles himself has stated that he wrote The Magus "very much under the influence" of The Lost Domain. This was Fowles' favorite book growing up, and the parallels between the two books are obvious. The 1986 edition includes an afterword by Fowles.' Okay, must have.
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Alain-Fournier was the pseudonym of Henri-Alban Fournier (October 3, 1886 – September 22, 1914[1]), a French author and soldier. He was the author of a single novel, Le Grand Meaulnes (1913), which has been twice filmed and is considered a classic of French literature. Alain-Fournier was born in La Chapelle-d'Angillon, in the Cher département, in central France, the son of a school teacher. He stu...more
More about Alain-Fournier...
The Lost Domain:  Le Grand Meaulnes Poèmes Sur Mesure Miracles Et Autres Textes Encyclopédie visuelle des races de chiens Paul Claudel

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“This evening, which I have tried to spirit away, is a strange burden to me. While time moves on, while the day will soon end and I already wish it gone, there are men who have entrusted all their hopes to it, all their love and their last efforts. There are dying men or others who are waiting for a debt to come due, who wish that tomorrow would never come. There are others for whom the day will break like a pang of remorse; and others who are tired, for whom the night will never be long enough to give them the rest that they need. And I - who have lost my day - what right do I have to wish that tomorrow comes?” 20 likes
“Weeks went by, then months. I am speaking of a far-away time - a vanished happiness. It fell to me to befriend, to console with whatever words I could find, one who had been the fairy, the princess, the mysterious love-dream of our adolescence - and it fell to me because my companion had fled. Of that period ... what can I say? I've kept a single image of that time, and it is already fading: the image of a lovely face grown thin and of two eyes whose lids slowly droop as they glance at me, as if her gaze was unable to dwell on anything but an inner world.
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