Alien Hearts

Alien Hearts

By Guy de Maupassant; Richard Howard (Translator)

New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590172605, 177pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2009

"Alien Hearts "was the last book that Guy de Maupassant finished before his death at the early age of forty-three. It is the most original and psychologically penetrating of his several novels, and the one in which he attains a truly tragic perception of the wounded human heart. Andre Mariolle is a rich, handsome, gifted young man who cannot settle on what to do with himself. Madame de Burne, a glacially dazzling beauty, wants Mariolle to attend her exclusive salon for artists, composers, writers, and other intellectuals. At first Mariolle keeps his distance, but then he hits on the solution to all his problems: caring for nothing in particular, he will devote himself to being in love; Madame de Burne will be his everything. Soon lover and beloved are equally lost within a hall of mirrors of their common devising.
Richard Howard's new English translation of this complex and brooding novel--the first in more than a hundred years--reveals the final, unexpected flowering of a great French realist's art.

About the Author
de Maupassant was born of upper-middle-class parents in Normandy. He lived with his motehr at Etretat, a newly fashionable seaside resort. Having enrolled as a law student in 1869, he was called up after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and served as a quartermaster's clerk in Rouen. Following the war he left the army and eventually secured a post as a minor civil servant.

Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was one of the most influential French writers of the second half of the twentieth century. His seminal works include "Writing Degree Zero," "Mythologies," "Criticism and Truth," "S/Z,"" The Pleasure of the Text," and "The Rustle of Language," Richard Howard is the author of eleven volumes of poetry, including "Untitled Subjects," for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. He has published more than 150 translations from the French, including Baudelaire's "Les Fleurs du mal," for which he received the 1983 American Book Award for translation.

Praise For Alien Hearts

“A novel containing such inconceivably beautiful sentences, I would have liked to memorize some. Its psychology sees to the very core of people and, in spite of that, touches them as if with the hand of a kindly old physician.” —Walter Benjamin

“Alien Hearts is perhaps the book that one likes Maupassant best for. The author’s conception of love has sublimed itself into very nearly the true form of
the Canticles and Shakespeare.” —George Saintsbury

"Eminent translator Howard gives a leavened, modern feel to Maupassant's weary tale of a young aristocratic loser infatuated with an on-the-rise Parisian salon hostess." --Publishers Weekly

“Maupassant is the world’s most accomplished of narrators.” –Joseph Conrad

“[Maupassant] is brilliantly clever.” –Henry James

“[Maupassant] is so relentlessly artistic that he puts the fear of philosophy in your heart.” –The New York Times

"This is classic Maupassant, beautifully rendered by Howard." –Harper’s