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About the book
  • Published: 31 May 2007
  • ISBN: 9780141441894
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $19.99

The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes)


Formats & editions


The Lost Estate is Robin Buss's translation of Henri Alain-Fournier's poignant study of lost love, Le Grand Meaulnes. This Penguin Classics edition also contains an introduction by Adam Gopnik.
When Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne, everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring and charisma. But when Meaulnes disappears for several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house - and his love for the beautiful girl hidden within it, Yvonne de Galais - his life has been changed forever. In his restless search for his Lost Estate and the happiness he found there, Meaulnes, observed by his loyal friend Francois, may risk losing everything he ever had. Poised between youthful admiration and adult resignation, Alain-Fournier's compelling narrator carries the reader through this evocative and unbearably poignant portrayal of desperate friendship and vanished adolescence.
Robin Buss's translation of Le Grand Meaulnes sensitively and accurately renders Alain-Fournier's poetically charged, expressive and deceptively simple style. In his introduction, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik discusses the life of Alain-Fournier, who was killed in the First World War after writing this, his only novel.
Henri Alban-Fournier (1886-1914), better known by the pseudonym Alain-Fournier, was born in La Chapelle d'Angillon, the son of a country school-master. He was educated at Brest and Paris, where he met the original Yvonne, who left a lasting impression on his life and work. Le Grand Meaulnes was published in 1912. Alan-Fournier joined the army as a Lieutenant in August 1914, and was killed in action on the Meuse less than a month later. Les Miracles, a volume of poems and essays, appeared posthumously in 1924.
If you liked Le Grand Meaulnes, you might enjoy Gustave Flaubert's Sentimental Education, also available in Penguin Classics.
'I read it for the first time when I was seventeen and loved every page. I find its depiction of a golden time and place just as poignant now as I did then'
Nick Hornby

  • Pub date: 31 May 2007
  • ISBN: 9780141441894
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Henri Alain-Fournier

Date: 2013-08-06
Alain-Fournier was born Henri Alban Fournier, the son of two school teachers, on 3 October 1886 in La Chapelle d'Anguillonin France. He studied at a boarding school in Paris, at the naval college in Brest, and also at the lycée Lakanalin Sceaux, where he met his lifelong friend, the critic Jacque Rivière. In 1905 Fournier had a chance meeting with Yvonne de Quiévrecourt and fell instantly in love. This meeting was the inspiration for Le Grand Meaulnes, though the novel was not finished until Fournier had completed his military service in 1913. While working as a columnist and private tutor, Fournier was called up to fight in the First World War. He was killed in action at Vaux-lès-Palameix in 1914, though his body was not formally identified until 1991. Le Grand Meaulnes is his only finished novel.

Valerie Lester is the author of Phiz, The Man Who Drew Dickens (2004) and Fasten Your Seat Belts!History and Heroism in the Pan Am Cabin (1996).She has published essays and poems in various venues including The Atlantic Monthly, Airways Magazine, and The New Dictionary of National Biography.She first tried translating Le Grand Meaulnes as a teenager at school in Switzerland, and finished the job half a century later.

Henri Alain-Fournier was born in La Chapelle d'Angillon in 1886. His first novel Le Grand Meaulnes was published in 1912. He was killed in action on the Lesuse in 1914. His second novel, Les Miracles appeared posthumously in 1924.

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