‘The sweetness of her glance – or rather, my evil star already in its ascendant and drawing me to my ruin – did not allow me to hesitate for a moment’
So begins the story of Manon Lescaut, a tale of passion and betrayal, of delinquency and misalliance, which moves from early eighteenth-century Paris – with its theatres, assemblies, and gaming-houses – via prison and deportation to a tragic denouement in the treeless waste of Louisiana.
It is one of the great love stories, and also one of the most enigmatic: how reliable a witness is Des Grieux, Manon’s lover, whose tale he narrates? Is Manon a thief and a whore, the image of love itself, ora thoroughly modern woman? Prévost is careful to leave the ambiguities unresolved, and to lay bare the disorders of passion.
This new translation includes the vignette and eight illustrations that were approved by Prévost and first published in the edition of 1753.
Belief in the Blood
If it had not been for Puccini’s opera, I would never have heard of Manon Lescaut. As it was, finding a copy of the novel behind the opera wasn’t easy: it was not kept on the open shelves in my...Read more