Madame de

Louise de Vilmorin, Author, Duff Cooper, Translator, Louise De Vilmorin, Author
Louise de Vilmorin, Author, Duff Cooper, Translator, Louise De Vilmorin, Author Helen Marx Books $12.95 (80p) ISBN 978-1-885983-27-5
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-1-901285-20-8
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A pair of costly, heart-shaped diamond earrings entangles an aristocratic Parisian family in a destructive chain of deceit in this 1951 drawing-room bagatelle best known for the Max Ophuls film it inspired. The fashionable Madame de-- sets the plot in motion when she sells the wedding gift her husband gave her in order to pay her debts and then announces that the jewels have been stolen or lost. The jeweler who purchased them informs the husband, who buys back the jewels and promptly gives them to his Spanish mistress as a send-off. She, in turn, sells them, and they make their way back to Madame de__ in the form of a gift from an admirer. De Vilmorin (1902-1969), a jet-setter best known for her literary lovers (Saint Exup ry, Andr Malraux and the translator herself), writes very much in the tradition of cultured ladies of letters entertaining their upper-class audience (""Elegance rather than beauty was accounted the mark of merit in the circle of society to which Madame de-- belonged""); this genre has included major works of fiction (stretching back to The Princess de Cl ves), but de Vilmorin's contribution to it is decidedly superficial. This repackaging of a hard-to-find translation may nevertheless attract a new generation of readers to de Vilmorin's stylish ways. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
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