Miss Herbert

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 2009 - Fiction - 558 pages
3 Reviews

The secret history of novelists is often a history of exile and tourism - a history of language learning. Like the story of Gustave Flaubert and Juliet Herbert, it is a history of loss and mistakes. As Flaubert finished Madame Bovary, Miss Herbert, his niece's governess, translated the novel into English. But this translation has since been lost.

Miss Herbert provides a map to the imaginary country shared between writers and readers. For translation, and emigration, is the way into a new history of the novel. We assume that we can read novels in translation. We also assume that style does not translate. But the history of the novel is the history of style. Miss Herbert explores the solutions to this conundrum.

This book demonstrates a new way of reading internationally - complete with maps, illustrations, and helpful diagrams. And it includes a slim appendix: 'Mademoiselle O', a story by Vladimir Nabokov, which he worked on in three languages, over thirty years, and whose original French version is now translated into English by Adam Thirlwell.

Adam Thirlwell was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013.

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User Review  - Poquette - LibraryThing

The Delighted States is a book about writers and writing — but not about just any writers. It concentrates on those innovative writers of fiction whose work put a mark on the art of imaginative ... Read full review

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User Review  - mykl-s - LibraryThing

Lit-crit pretending to be a novel. An extended, maybe too extended, essay on story and the novel. A discussion of style in literature. Not a linear book; any page is a good page to start on, and the ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Adam Thirlwell is the author of two novels, Politics and The Escape; a novella, Kapow!; and a project including an essay-book - which won a Somerset Maugham Award - and a compendium of translations edited for McSweeney's. His work is translated into thirty languages. He has twice been selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.

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