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You're new here, aren't you? Legolas Send a noteboard - 19/02/2011 04:50:50 PM
Hi, sorry if this is slightly OT, but I have some questions about the level of French you need to read Madame Bovary in the original.

I can tell because you're worried about introducing something that may be OT. ;)

Hi and welcome, we're always glad to have new people here! I'm Paul, one of the three admins of this board (the others are Jacob and Rebekah). But what with many of the regulars being personal friends (online or offline) with each other and with the admins and webmaster, we tend to be fairly relaxed. And we certainly don't mind posts going off topic - in fact, one of the main reasons why we use this message board layout unlike so many other forums, is precisely to make it easy for people to carry on multiple parallel discussions within the same thread, be they on- or off-topic.

So, in short, not to worry. :)
I only have a basic "school" level of French, but am planning to undertake some self-study to improve my level - not just to read Madame Bovary, but to read more French literature in general, as well as get more out of trips to France. From reading this discussion I can see that Madame Bovary is one of the more difficult French novels to read, so I was just wondering how long you've been reading French literature - especially as you were able to pick up such nuances of tone as you describe above? What were some of the other books you've read in French? If you could recommend any novels that are an easier read (though still interesting and challenging), that would be more suitable for me to build up some French reading skills with, I would be really grateful.

I'm sure Tom will reply to this himself as well, but the author coming to mind, I think for many people here, when you ask for quality novels in easy French, is Albert Camus. L'Etranger is an easy but interesting read, albeit rather depressing.

You could also try to read Guy de Maupassant, not because he's particularly easy, he's not, but because much of his work consists of short stories. A number of stories of a few dozen pages each are just as good practice as one novel, but they have the advantage of being less daunting.

And I don't know if you much like crime/detective books, but if so, authors like Leroux (famous mostly for his Phantom of the Opera, but he wrote detectives too) and Leblanc might be doable. I'm currently reading a book by the latter, should have a review up soon.
It's heartening to see that there are others who aim to read as much European literature in the original as possible - it makes it seem like not such an impossible dream for me! I have intermediate(ish) Italian (though I can only read Italian literature very slowly and with lots of recourse to the dictionary), basic French, German and Portuguese, and with that background I imagine Spanish wouldn't be too much of a stretch. I've never touched Russian - would love to one day. I find it pretty easy to pick up the rudiments of a language, but much more difficult to put in the sustained effort necessary to get to the level of reading literary works. But even if it takes me the rest of my life to get there (I work full time in a non-literary field so the time I have to devote to it is limited), I think it will be worth it.

Yeah, with Tom it's not just European literature he reads in the original. ;) He can be a bit intimidating to the rest of us in his language knowledge.
This message last edited by Legolas on 19/02/2011 at 04:51:14 PM
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/Discussion: Madame Bovary - 20/01/2011 06:22:50 PM 7178 Views
Re: /Review: Madame Bovary - 20/01/2011 07:20:36 PM 1468 Views
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You're new here, aren't you? - 19/02/2011 04:50:50 PM 1447 Views

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