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Adolphe is a privileged and refined young man, bored by the stupidity he perceives in the world around him. After a number of meaningless conquests, he at last encounters Ellenore, a beautiful and passionate older woman. Adolphe is enraptured and gradually wears down her resistance to his declarations of love. But as they embark on an intense and tortured affair, Ellenore gives way to a flood of emotion that only serves to repel her younger lover - yet he cannot bring himself to leave her and his procrastination can only bring tragedy. Partly inspired by Constant's own stormy affair with Madame de Staël, Adolphe (1816) is a penetrating psychological depiction of love that plumbs the depths of the passions, motives and inconsistencies of the human character.
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Benjamin Constant (1767-1831) Margaret Mauldon has translated several French novels for OWC including Zola's L'Assommoir, Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma, and Huysmans, Against Nature, winner of the Scott-Moncrieff prize 1999. Patrick Coleman has edited Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality and Confessions for OWC.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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