The Woman of the Pharisees

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Basic Books, 1993 - Fiction - 241 pages
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Book jacket/back: Francois Mauriac - who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1952 - is famous for his subtle character portraits of the French rural classes and for depicting their struggles, aspirations and traditions. The Woman of the Pharisees - one of Mauriac's most accomplished novels - is a penetrating evocation of the moral and religious values of a Bordeaux community. In Brigitte, we see how the ideals of love and companionship are stifled in the presence of a self-righteous woman whose austere religious principals lead her to interfere - disasterously - in the lives of others. One by one the unwitting victims fall prey to the bleakness of her "perfection." A conscientious schoolteacher, a saintly priest, her husband and stepdaughter and an innocent schoolboy are all confronted with tragedy and upheaval. But the author's extraordinary gift for psychological insight goes on to show how redeeeming features inevitably surface from disaster. The unfolding drama is seen through thediscerning eye of a young Louis - Brigitte's stepson - whose point of view is skillfully blended into the mature and understanding adult he later becomes.

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Review: The Woman of the Pharisees

User Review  - Helynne - Goodreads

This is a novel where Mauriac is really at his best describing something that he hates most of all--religious hypocrasy. This vice is embodied in Brigitte, an overbearing and self-righteous zealot who ... Read full review


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About the author (1993)

François Mauriac was born in Bordeaux, France on October 11, 1885. He was a novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright. He studied at the University of Bordeaux and the École Nationale des Chartes at Paris before leaving to focus on writing. His first published work, a volume of poems entitled Joined Hands, was published in 1909. He was better known as a novelist. His novels include Young Man in Chains, The Stuff of Youth, The Kiss to the Leper, The Desert of Love, Vipers' Tangle, The Frontenac Mystery, The Unknown Sea, and A Woman of the Pharisees. His plays include Asmodée and The Poorly Loved. Mauriac resisted the Nazi invaders and the Vichy regime consistently and courageously during World War II. He was elected to the French Academy in 1933 and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1952. He died on September 1, 1970.

Gerard M. Hopkins was born on July 28, 1844 in England, into a large and talented family. He attended Oxford, and entered the Jesuits in 1868. He later studied theology and, after destroying much of his youthful poetry, took up writing. In 1877, Hopkins was ordained as a priest. He was assigned to several churches and continued to write poetry, none of which was published until after his death. Hopkins's poems are noted for their intricate rhythm, which he labeled sprung rhythm. The poems are exemplified by their clever puns, wordplay and imaginative phrasing. His works include several series of sonnets, such as Pied Beauty and The Windhover, as well as "terrible" sonnets that explore the conflict between his sexual longing and his devotion to God. Gerard M. Hopkins died of typhoid fever on June 8, 1889, in Ireland.

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