|Ian Beck's frontispiece to 1986 OUP ed|
|John Minton, book cover, 1947|
|Frontispiece, Roger Chapelain-Midy, 1977|
|Pt1 ch2 After 4 O'clock, Hermine David, 1930|
|Pt 1 ch4 The Flight, Nelly Degouy, 1943|
|Pt1 ch9, Wellington's Room, Marianne Clouzot, 1949|
|Pt1 ch14 The Strange Fete cont., Claude Delaunay, 1952|
|Pt1 ch15 The Meeting, Laura Carlin, 2008|
|Pt1 ch17 The Strange Fete (conclusion), Michel Terrasse, 1949|
|Pt2 ch3 The Vagabond at School, Claude Delaunay, 1952|
|Pt2 ch4 Which Deals with the Mysterious Domain, John Minton|
|Pt2 ch6 A Dispute Behind the Scenes, Guy Bardone, 1989|
|Pt2 ch9 In Search of the Lost Trail, Ian Beck|
|Pt2 ch10 Wash Day, Michel Terrasse|
|Pt3 ch2 At Florentin's, Andre Dignimont, 1942|
|Pt3 ch9, Les Gens Heureux, Albert Uriet 1925|
|Pt3 ch11, Conversation in the Rain, Claude Delaunay|
|Pt3 ch16 The Secret, Hermine David|
To celebrate the centenary of one of my absolute favourite books I ordered a copy of the 1986 OUP edition illustrated by the wonderful Ian Beck. I love it. Then I discovered that there are many many other illustrated editions out there, and put together the selection above. The pictures don't really tell the story, but you do get an idea of the different ways artists have approached the challenge.
Obviously this is a personal selection, made with a great deal of help from this French website. If you're interested in Alain-Fournier or illustrated books I urge you to visit the site.
Next year I suppose we have to commemorate the author's death, so soon after his novel was published. At least it did well. I've read the book umpteen times, but the curious thing is that I only ever remember up to the end of Part II. The last part always comes as a bit of a shock.
I don't know why people worry so much about translating the title. None of the Englishings work, although they're less bad than some of the German and Italian versions. The book is about Meaulnes, who is much more than a wanderer; he is 'Grand' because from the start he is a creature altogether bigger, stronger and nobler than anyone the narrator has ever known. He's like a knight from a grail quest, but born in a humdrum age.
|Bonus picture: cover by Edward Gorey, 1953|