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on 22 October 2008
This Nexus publication is a translation by Frank Pomeranz of a late nineteenth century French work (`Les Cousines de la Colonelle') often ascribed to Guy de Maupassant, although the publisher's note here belittles this notion. However, Hilary E Holt, in her scholarly introduction to the 1969 Brandon House (BH) two-volume translation by Henrik van Breda, more rationally entitled `The Cousins', supports de Maupassant's authorship of the original work. Amazon currently list a 1989 Red Stripe edition by Pomeranz, which may be identical to the Nexus edition. This may all sound like intellectual nit-picking, but while the two editions show just enough similarity to have a common origin, they are at the same time so wildly different that it needs some work to demonstrate this commonality. We're not talking translator's idiosyncrasies here! The BH edition is very spicy in parts, enough to maintain interest, but this Nexus edition continually tests the boredom threshold of anyone seeking stimulation! All scenes with any descriptive power have been totally excised. The erotic genre is replete with doubtful goings on, mostly related to authorship but by no means always for reasons of persecution and censorship. We have to see editorial mistakes like this book in such a light. The book has a particularly attractive cover, and calls its contents `a classic'. No doubt the French original is a true classic, but ...
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