Books

The Lost Estate

Henri Alain-Fournier

'He too began to chase the great pierrot through the corridors of the château...'

A novel of desperate yearning and vanished adolescence, the story of Meaulnes and his restless search for a lost, enchanted world has the atmosphere of a dream and the purity of a fairy tale.

A new series of twenty distinctive, unforgettable Penguin Classics in a beautiful new design and pocket-sized format, with coloured jackets echoing Penguin's original covers.

The Magnificent Meaulnes (Le Grand Meaulnes)

Henri Alain-Fournier (and others)

When Augustin Meaulnes arrives in François' home, he changes everything. Life in the little town where they both go to school suddenly becomes far more adventurous and exciting. On one of his escapades, Meaulnes gets lost in the countryside finds himself at an extraordinary party where he meets the girl of his dreams. From this point on he is haunted by her memory and devotes his life, with François' willing help, to finding her again.

The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes)

Henri Alain-Fournier (and others)

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

Biography

Alain-Fournier, christened Henri Alban, was born in La Chapelle d'Angillon (Cher) in 1886, the son of a country school-master. He was educated at Brest and in Paris, where he met and fell in love with the original Yvonne, who influenced his whole life and work. The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) was published in 1912. Les Miracles appeared posthumously in 1924. Alain-Fournier's important correspondence with Jacques Rivière and his letters to his family were published in 1926 and 1930 respectively. Alain-Fournier was killed in action on the Meuse in 1914.