Belle du Seigneur (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)

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9780140188714: Belle du Seigneur (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)

Set in Geneva in the 1930s, Albert Cohen's endlessly inventive satire of middle-class manners and ambition revolves around Solal, a man of remarkable gifts and disappointed ideals. As Under-Secretary-General of the League of Nations, he has become disillusioned with a world dominated by personal and national interest. His one hope for redemption is through love, and he embarks on the seduction of the beautiful Ariane, wife of the dull-witted Adrien Deume, who works for Solal.

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Review:

First published in Paris in 1968, Belle du Seigneur is considered the masterpiece of Albert Cohen, a Jew who served the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, who became Israel's first Prime Minister, and worked for the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees after World War II. This tortuous love story revolves around an adulterous affair between Sola, the ostentatious son of the Chief Rabbi of Cephalonia and Ariane d'Auble, a beautiful, blonde, Protestant aristocrat. Threatened by impending war and the growing anti-Semitism of Europe in the mid-1930s, the two struggle to keep passion alive. While Ariane molds herself into the perfection of femininity, Sola takes on a bitter cruelty that translates into revenge against the ostracism of himself and his people.

About the Author:

David Coward is a translator from French, whose translations include works by authors such as Alexandre Dumas,Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, and the Marquis de Sade.

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