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The Confession of a Child of the Century

The Confession of a Child of the Century

Author: Alfred de Musset
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Recently made into a film starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pete Doherty and Lily Cole, this French novel of love and betrayal is now available in a new English translation for the first time in over a hundred years. Inspired by his scandalous real-life affair with the flamboyant woman who called herself George Sand, Alfred de Musset's Confession is a searingly honest, passionate account of a young man's rite of passage. It tells the story of Octave, desperate to be more than an 'average man', who searches for happiness first as a debauched libertine, until his mistress Elise is unfaithful, and then in an austere life in the countryside, where he falls in love with the selfless Brigitte. But as he becomes consumed by insane jealousy and convinced that Brigitte will betray him, Octave brings about his own destruction. A vivid, opulent portrayal of obsession and despair, this is also a philosophical portrait of a man and his times, expressing the failed idealism of the Romantic generation of the early nineteenth century. David Coward's vibrant translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing de Musset's affair with Sand and his work's place in the confessional genre. This edition contains a chronology, notes and further reading.

Author description

Alfred de Musset was born in 1810 in Paris. He attempted careers in medicine, law and drawing before publishing his first collection of poems, Contes d'Espagne et d'Italie (1829). He subsequently wrote numerous plays, and the erotic novel Gamiani, or Two Nights of Excess (1833) is sometimes attributed to him. From 1833 to 1835, he had an affair with the novelist George Sand, which became the basis for his most famous novel La Confession d'un Enfant du Siecle (1836). Sand herself also fictionalized the affair in her novel Elle et lui. Musset died in 1857 and was buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. David Coward is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Leeds. He won a Scott-Moncrieff prize for his edition of Albert Cohen's Belle du Seigneur, and has also translated Moliere for Penguin Classics.

Stock Information

General Fields

  • : 9780141391854
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Penguin Classics
  • : May 2013
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 18mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : July 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 320
  • : 843.7
  • : 1
  • : Paperback
  • : Alfred de Musset