State University of New York Press

SUNY series, Women Writers in Translation

Marilyn Gaddis Rose

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series, Women Writers in Translation

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Become Who You Are

Hedwig Dohm (1831–1919) was a thinker and writer significantly ahead of her time. She championed women’s rights in Germany and criticized with acerbic wit the social, political, and familial inequities inherent in gender relationships at the time of the first wave of the women’s movement. Her novella Become Who You Are is about a woman, Agnes Schmidt, whose husband has died and who is grappling with finding an identity for herself as an aging widow—reflecting the restrictions imposed especially on aging, widowed women who often yearn for a life and identity of their own. Also included here is the English translation of Dohm’s essay, “The Old Woman,” which is a compelling call for women to resist the social, intellectual, psychological, and physical restraints placed on women of Dohm’s time.

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Church of Solitude, The

The Church of Solitude tells the story of Maria Concezione, a young Sardinian seamstress living with breast cancer at the cusp of the twentieth century. Overwhelmed by the shame of her diagnosis, she decides that no one can know what has happened to her, but the heavy burden of this secrecy changes her life in dramatic ways and almost causes the destruction of several people in her life. This surprising novel paints the portrait of a woman facing the unknown with courage, faith, and self-reliance, and is the last and most autobiographical work of Grazia Deledda, who died of breast cancer in 1936, shortly after its publication. An afterword by the translator offers additional information on the author and examines the social and historical environment of that time.

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Devil's Pool and Other Stories, The

Newly translated into English, “The Devil’s Pool” is the most popular of George Sand’s novellas and her best-selling work in France today. Illustrating Sand’s brevity, liveliness, and exemplary storytelling, the tale deals with many of her characteristic themes—the relations between the sexes, the plight of the underprivileged, and the role of fantasy in human life—making it an ideal introduction to her work. Also included are translations of two of Sand’s most admired short stories, “Lavinia” and “The Unknown God,” as well as various relevant essays and documents.

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Drunk from the Bitter Truth

The Poems of Anna Margolin

The poems of Anna Margolin (1887–1952), appearing here both in the original Yiddish and in English translation. Born Rosa Lebensboym in Belarus, Anna Margolin (1887–1952) settled permanently in America in 1913. A brilliant yet largely forgotten poet, her reputation rests on her volume of poetry published in Yiddish in 1929 in New York City. Although written in the 1920s, Margolin’s poetry is remarkably fresh and contemporary, dealing with themes of anxiety, loneliness, sexual tensions, and the search for intellectual and spiritual identity, all of which were clearly reflected in her own life choices. Sensitively and beautifully translated here, the poems appear both in the original Yiddish and in English translation. Shirley Kumove’s fascinating critical-biographical introduction highlights Margolin’s tempestuous and unconventional life. An exceptionally beautiful and gifted woman, Margolin adopted a bohemian and an eccentric lifestyle, and threw herself into both intellectual pursuits and romantic attachments beyond her two marriages.

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Five Comedies

Best known as a novelist, George Sand (1804–1876) was also arguably the most successful woman dramatist in history. More than twenty of her plays were staged in major Paris theaters to widespread popular and critical acclaim. Translated here for the first time into English are her two most famous full-length comedies, The Marquis de Villemer and Françoise, as well as her three major one-act plays, The Paving Stone, The Japanese Lily, and A Good Deed Is Never Wasted. Noted for their lively characterization, sparkling dialogue, and deft constructions, her plays reflect the passion and generosity of her own character, as well as a quick-witted sense of humor. The translations are preceded by an introduction outlining Sand’s theatrical career, the main themes and characteristics of her plays, and critical appraisals from her own generation to the present day. The translations are followed by notes and a bibliography.

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My Beloved Toto

Letters from Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo 1833-1882

My Beloved Toto, a collection of letters written by Juliette Drouet to her lover, Victor Hugo, tells the story of a life and of the great love affair that shaped it. From 1833 until her death half a century later, Drouet wrote to Hugo twice daily on average, resulting in thousands of letters. The 186 translated here—most appearing in English for the first time—offer insights into nineteenth-century French culture as well as an insider’s look at the character, behavior, working habits, and day-to-day life of France’s most monumental man of letters.

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Nelida

First published in 1846 under the pen name Daniel Stern, Nelida tells the story of a beautiful French heiress who surrenders everything—marriage, reputation, and an aristocratic way of life—for the love of a talented young middle class painter. Based on the author’s own ten-year relationship with the pianist and composer Franz Liszt, the novel quickly became the scandalous bestseller of its day. Its author, Marie d’Agoult, has emerged as one of the most remarkable women of her time. An aristocratic Parisian woman who left her husband and child to become the companion of Liszt, d’Agoult became an accomplished woman of letters whose works included a major history of the 1848 revolution in Paris. In Nelida, her only major novel, she brings to life the deeply intimate parts of her own story and the era in which it took place. Written with a keen sensitivity to social mores and psychological nuances, the novel reveals the primal cry of a woman determined to control her own destiny without betraying her womanhood. Appearing here for the first time in English, Lynn Hoggard’s translation of Nelida is ripe for rereading by today’s readers.

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Valvedre

An astonishingly modern novel, George Sand’s Valvèdre questions traditional Romantic representations of women and exposes the disastrous consequences such notions of femininity have for both male and female characters at a time when divorce was illegal. This first English translation by Françoise Massardier-Kenney shows Sand’s control of style and her understanding of the major tensions of early modern France: the role of women in society, the nature of motherhood, the relations between science and art, and the nature of prejudice.

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