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The General's Mistress

A reader asks, "Do you think the real people you've written about would approve of what you write?"

At least one would!

‘My life is like that of no other. The life of a loose woman, a vagabond, passionate, extravagant, intrepid, mocking, and with no care for the future. Addicted to pleasure and with a fervor only few lovers are worthy of. A life that seems hardly proper for a woman, whatever period she lives in; a life made so singular by the emotions of war.’

This is what Elza said of herself. I think she'd adore The General's Mistress!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
*g* She would! I have absolutely no doubt that she would think it was a total blast!
Dec. 15th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
Okay, that lady was so incredibly awesome there aren't words! I know, or at least I think I remember, that you originally read her memoirs in French? Unfortunately, I can't read French, and I was wondering: is there a good English translation, because I now want to read them very, very much!
Dec. 15th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
She is indeed awesome! :)

Sadly, there is no good translation. There is the 1902 British translation which is long, long out of print and consequently quite expensive as a used book. It's also a Victorian abridgement, cutting what is, in the modern French edition, 700 pages of 10 point type to 200 pages in 12 point! It's...occasionally adequate? About things that are purely military? But it frankly cuts all the good stuff, not just the sexy parts but also most of the interesting spy bits and renders her prose dull. It's such a pale shadow of the original. There is a modern French edition, 2004, which is what I primarily use. I also have an 1870s abridged French edition which is less complete but has wonderful plates. And I have the scanned 1827 edition, courtesy of shezan above! I haven't afforded an original edition myself, as they run $500 up, but oh how I want one!

And do you really want to spoil yourself for all the good parts? ;)
Dec. 15th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
Well, she did live through some quite extraordinary times - not to mention the people, she met! It is such a fascinating period.
Dec. 15th, 2011 10:45 am (UTC)
Oh yes! Extraordinary times, and she certainly knew extraordinary people.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )