February 26 , 2009

Madame De


An elegant fable for the modern age, Louise de Vilmorin's novella Madame de is a poignant tale of honour, deception and fate. This is the story of Madame de's earrings. It is a story of jewellery, of love, of denial, of pain, of delight, of society, that has the simplicity of a fairy tale, the elegance of an eighteenth century roman-a-clef and the particular echoing loneliness that is a phenomenon of the twentieth century: the circle of deceit that society allows proves fatal to the honesty of intense passion. This novella became The Earrings of Madame de, a 1952 film directed by Max Ophuls. Translated from the French by Duff Cooper, Louise de Vilmorin's Madame de is published by Pushkin Press '.. the most cherishable is the least familiar - Madame de by Louise de Vilmorin. De Vilmorin was a noted beauty whose lovers included Antoine de Exupery and Orson Welles; her glittering fable of passion and deception centres on a pair of diamond earrings. To make it even more of a gem, Madame de has an afterword by John Julius Norwich, whose father Duff Cooper was its translator. Cooper was one of Vilmorin's lovers while serving as British Ambassador to Paris... So this tiny volume (price £5) offers not just a story, but the story behind the story).' – Guardian
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