The Delighted States: A Book of Novels, Romances, & Their Unknown Translators, Containing Ten Languages, Set on Four Continents, & Accompanied by Maps, Portraits, Squiggles, Illustrations, & a Variety of Helpful Indexes

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Mar 30, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 592 pages
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Having slept with a prostitute in Egypt, a young French novelist named Gustave Flaubert at last abandons sentimentality and begins to write. He influences the obscure French writer Édouard Dujardin, who is read by James Joyce on the train to Trieste, where he will teach English to the Italian novelist Italo Svevo. Back in Paris, Joyce asks Svevo to deliver a suitcase containing notes for Ulysses, a novel that will be viscerated by the expat Gertrude Stein, whose first published story is based on one by Flaubert.

This carousel of influence shows how translation and emigration lead to a new and true history of the novel. We devour novels in translation while believing that style does not translate. But the history of the novel is the history of style. The Delighted States attempts to solve this conundrum while mapping an imaginary country, a country of readers: the Delighted States.

This book is a provocation, a box of tricks, a bedside travel book; it is also a work of startling intelligence and originality from one of our finest young writers.


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The delighted states: a book of novels, romances, & their unknown translators, containing ten languages, set on four continents, & accompanied by maps, portraits, squiggles, illustrations, & a variety of helpful indexes

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Thirlwell presents a novel approach to the novel, a stylish consideration of style, literary criticism as creative nonfiction, and delectable brain candy. Thirlwell's subjects (Flaubert, Diderot ... Read full review


Volume I
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Volume II
Book 6
Book 13
Book 14
Volume V
Book 15
Book 16
Index of Themes and Motifs
Index of Real Life

Book 7
Book 8
Book 9
Volume III
Book 10
Book 11
Book 12
Volume IV
Short Chronological Index of Some of the Books in this Book
Index of Squiggles
Mademoiselle O
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About the author (2010)

Adam Thirlwell was born in 1978. His first novel, Politics, was translated into thirty languages. In 2003, he appeared on Granta's list of the best British novelists under forty. His second novel, The Escape, was published in 2009. He lives in London.

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