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Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost

Manon Lescaut (1731)

by Abbé Prévost

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (28)  German (3)  French (3)  Italian (2)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (39)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Maybe even 1.5*…

A more complete review will come but here are some thoughts I have upon finishing this French classic. I disliked the main character and also the manner in which the story is related. He is forever talking in extremes - stuff like "I was the most wretched creature that ever existed". Despite all his attention to Manon and talk about her beauty and virtues, I never got any feeling for her character; all the reader gets is how the Chevalier sees her. ( )
  leslie.98 | Feb 2, 2018 |
I disliked this novel quite intensely at the beginning but I'd mellowed toward it somewhat by the end.

There's a lot of tell-don't-show going on with regards to the feelings of the characters, I guess because it was written at a time when the novel as a representation of a character's inner self was in its infancy. The reviews I've read complain of failing to believe in Manon's love for the Chevalier des Grieux but, to me, this seems beside the point.

Given that she is the title character, Manon has very little direct dialogue in the novel. Everything she says is paraphrased in the Chevalier's narration, and it's only in the final pages that she is given a decent sized paragraph of her own words. To me, she feels stifled, which, I guess, is appropriate to her character. She is in the process of being forced into a life of religious slavery when des Grieux, on the strength of a single glance, approaches and declares his undying love for her. Eloping with him being the better of two options, she attempts to make a life with her overbearing, jealous lover. She feigns relationships with wealthy men in order to rob them, which the Chevalier interprets as her being truly unfaithful. These cons are prematurely aborted when he interrupts them in pitiful jealous rage and they flee from the scene swiftly followed by guards, servants, jilted lovers etc. Poverty, prison and infamy ensue.

It's the story of a resourceful, cunning, amoral, young woman making the best of her bad circumstances pursued by the most hapless of lovers. She might be Bonnie Parker but he ain't no Clyde Barrow. ( )
  AaronPt | Sep 6, 2017 |
I ain't saying she a golddigger, but yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. ( )
1 vote mel.davidoff | Dec 1, 2016 |
It's a love story, but to me, Manon didn't seam to be capable of true love. ( )
  parp | Aug 29, 2016 |
If you want something melodramatic, this book delivers more melodrama than you can imagine. I was pleasantly surprised reading this and can see why it has always been so popular.

A quick summary of the plot: Nice boy meets beautiful girl. They run away together and everything that could go wrong goes wrong for them. Manon gets shipped to 1715 New Orleans as her punishment and the nice young man follows her where things continue to go wrong for them.

I wanted to read it prior to seeing the Puccini opera but found out that Puccini did not follow the story very well. It was easy to see why Puccini and Massenet felt compelled to make operas out of this story. However, for all of those that read the story with their great music in the ear, I ended up singing "the House of the Rising Sun" to myself the whole time. ( )
1 vote M_Clark | Apr 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (75 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Prévost, AbbéAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ballestra, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coulet, HenriPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deloffre, FrédéricPostfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deloffre, FrédericEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Görke, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hédouin, EdmondIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leloir, MauriceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maupassant, Guy dePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Picard, RaymondEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandfort, J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scholar, AngelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tancock, LeonardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Quanta laboras in Charybdi, digne puer meliore flamma.
First words
I am obliged to take my reader back to that time of my life when I met the Chevalier de Grieux for the first time.
If it is true that the assistance of Heaven is at every moment equal in strength to the force of the passions, then explain to me by what fateful influence we find ourselves suddenly swept far away from our duty, without being capable of the slightest resistance, and without feeling the slightest remorse.
It was one of those unique situations to which one can find nothing in one's experience that is even slightly similar. Such feelings cannot be explained to other people, because other people have no idea of them; and it is difficult enough to clarify them to oneself, since, being unique, they are unconnected to anything else in one's memory, and cannot even be compared with anything similar.
However, at the same time, as I claimed to hold the good things in life in such low esteem, I felt that I could have done with at least a small portion of them, so as to despise in even more sovereign a fashion the rest. Love is stronger that abundance, stronger than treasure and riches, but it does need help from them; and nothing is a greater cause of despair for a lover with any delicacy of feeling than seeing himself dragged down by this necessity to the level of the coarsest and basest souls.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140445595, Paperback)

When the young Chevalier des Grieux first sets eyes on the exquisitely beautiful and charming Manon Lescaut they fall passionately in love. But his happiness turns to bitter despair when he discovers that Manon is mercenary and immoral, and has taken a rich lover to pay for their life of pleasure. A broken man, he swears to stay away from her, but cannot. Just as the Chevalier is helpless to end their relationship, so Manon is incapable of giving up the source of her income, and the lovers enter a destructive cycle that can only end in tragedy. Manon Lescaut (1731) is a devastating depiction of obsessive love and a haunting portrait of a captivating but dangerous woman.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"'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 wastes 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, or a thoroughly modern woman? Prevost 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 Prevost and first published in the edition of 1753."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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