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On the Trail of the Alleged Werewolf

Lorna Scott Fox: Fred Vargas’s romans policiers, 9 April 2009

Un lieu incertain 
by Fred Vargas.
Viviane Hamy, 385 pp., €18, June 2008, 978 2 87858 285 7
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Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand 
by Fred Vargas, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Vintage, 388 pp., £7.99, January 2008, 978 0 09 948896 5
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This Night’s Foul Work 
by Fred Vargas, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Vintage, 409 pp., £7.99, February 2009, 978 0 09 950762 8
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The Chalk Circle Man 
by Fred Vargas, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Harvill Secker, 247 pp., £12.99, February 2009, 978 1 84343 272 2
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... Fred Vargas is a woman. Said to be the sixth best-selling author in France, she is unusual there in being a female crime writer, in contrast with women’s dominance of the genre in Britain. Vargas also writes like a woman, if that implies an interest in character, feeling and motive, rather than ‘brutality and eroticism’ (Queneau’s description of the polar – a contraction of policier – a genre inspired by the Série noire’s postwar translations of American crime novels ...

Braudel’s Long Term

Peter Burke, 10 January 1983

Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: Vol. I. The Structures of Everyday Life 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Collins, 623 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 00 216303 9
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Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: Vol. II. The Wheels of Commerce 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Collins, 670 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 9780002161329
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Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe-XVIIIe siècle: Vol. III. Le temps du monde 
by Fernand Braudel.
Armand Colin, 607 pp., frs 250, May 1979, 2 253 06457 2
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... on ‘society’ in the widest sense, the ensemble des ensembles – neatly translated by Sian Reynolds as the ‘set of sets’ – which discusses the influence on the economy of the social hierarchy, politics and culture. Taken by itself, the analysis offered in Braudel’s second volume appears too static, and its readers should be aware that Braudel ...

Down with Occurrences

Erin Maglaque: Baroque Excess, 3 December 2020

Out of Italy 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Europa, 295 pp., £12.99, July 2019, 978 1 78770 166 3
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... it reapppeared in French in 1989, four years after his death, as Le Modèle italien. Siân Reynolds translated it into English in 1991 as Out of Italy, a version that has now been reissued. In it, Braudel applies his method to a period which might otherwise be understood as a mere two hundred years of ‘surface disturbances’. The ...

Ladurie’s Talents

G.R. Elton, 1 October 1981

The Mind and Method of the Historian 
by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Sian Reynolds and Ben Reynolds.
Harvester, 310 pp., £20, July 1981, 0 85527 928 1
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... This is the second collection of essays by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie to appear in English. The first was called The Territory of the Historian and up to a point justified its title by describing a landscape of historical investigation – rural France peopled by a peasantry engaged in earning a living and undergoing birth, disease and death, the whole benignly directed by techniques of quantification ...

Beyond the ‘New History’

Theodore Zeldin, 16 March 1989

The Identity of France. Vol I: History and Environment 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sian Reynolds.
Collins, 432 pp., £20, December 1988, 0 00 217773 0
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... Shortly before his death, I talked to Braudel about the motives that lay behind his final book, The Identity of France. He had made his reputation as a universal historian, with a global curiosity. Why should he seek to crown his achievement in such a parochial fashion, proclaiming that it was France, after all, that he really loved? ‘I am a Frenchman, just like any other,’ he said ...

Nation-States and National Identity

Perry Anderson, 9 May 1991

The Identity of France. Vol. II: People and Production 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sian Reynolds.
Collins, 781 pp., £25, December 1990, 0 00 217774 9
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... into an integrated narrative history of his country. Perhaps incredulous of such ambition, Sian Reynolds has taken the liberty of suppressing the full extent of it in her graceful English translation.What were the aims of this vast design? Braudel’s previous themes were virtually invented by him – strikingly original quarries from the past little mined ...

A Girl and a Gun

Jenny Turner: Revenge Feminism, 10 October 2013

Apocalypse Baby 
by Virginie Despentes, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Serpent’s Tail, 338 pp., £8.99, June 2013, 978 1 84668 842 3
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... WOMEN! Are you dull, plain, boring, approaching forty, with no talents or interests in particular and no idea whatsoever what to do next? Do you ‘inspire a slight revulsion in people’ to the point that everybody ignores you, probably because you’re so ‘ill at ease’ in yourself? You might do worse than get into the surveillance industry, Virginie Despentes suggests in Apocalypse Baby, spying on the unhappy teenage children of rich Parisians ...

Quite a Show

Tim Parks: Georges Simenon, 9 October 2014

A Man’s Head 
by Georges Simenon, translated by David Coward.
Penguin, 169 pp., £6.99, July 2014, 978 0 14 139351 3
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A Crime in Holland 
by Georges Simenon, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Penguin, 160 pp., £6.99, May 2014, 978 0 14 139349 0
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... In​ 1974, aged 71, having announced the end of a writing career that had produced nearly two hundred novels, and having retreated from a mansion with 11 servants to a small house in Lausanne where he lived with his second wife’s ex-maid, Georges Simenon dictated his Letter to My Mother, Henriette Simenon née Brüll, who had died four years earlier ...

Maigret’s Room

John Lanchester: The Home Life of Inspector Maigret, 4 June 2020

... and Schwartz, Anthea Bell, Linda Coverdale, David Coward, Howard Curtis, William Hobson, Sian Reynolds, David Watson – but, or and, one of the remarkable features of the project is how consistent the tone is across the books. When you look at the range of tones and voices in the same publisher’s multi-translator edition of Proust, it’s striking how ...

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