- Lettres de Mon Moulin is a collection of short stories and Provençal folk-tales published in 1869. Some of the stories were featured earlier in Le Figaro and L’Evénement.
- This book is considered to be Daudet’s most important work.
- 3 stories that especially appealed to me were:
- “Les Etoiles”,
La Mule du Pape”
“La Mort du Dauphin”.
- They illustrate Daudet’s ability to combine the tragedies of life, touched with irony and a sense of humor.
- His writing style is simple and a perfect selection for anyone wishing to start reading a book in French. Daudet’s gift of observation of human kindness and simple acts of life will leave an impression on you for sure.
- I must admit that I never heard of Daudet before I began my Classic Book Challenge. Alphonse “Daudet reste pour moi la première étoile découverte sur le ciel de la littérature française.”
Facts about Alphonse Daudet: ( 1840 -1897)
- Daudet lived in a large country home near Paris, in Draveil ( le quartier Champrosay) with 4 generations ( Daudet and his in-laws Allard) One can imagine that all these people would get on his nerves. ( picture of Daudet with daughter Emée en son Lucien)
- Frederic Mistral son of wealthy landed farmers and related to the oldest families in Provence visited Paris and met Daudet. Mistral offered Daudet a place to rest and recuperate in his beloved Provence. Here we see Daudet with Mistral who received the Nobel Prize for Literature 1904. I intend to add Mistral to my Classic Book List!
- Daudet: “Le Moulin du mon Coeur”`
- Born in Nimes in 1840 he spent his childhood in de local countryside of Provence.
- Started writing at the age of 14 and after his parents’ textile business had totally failed moved to Paris on his own.
- 1863 he spent many months in Fontvieille near Arles as guest of F. Mistral. There he assembled many notes for his series of short stories actively reviving Provençal literature.
- Daudet was far from faithful, and was yet ( just as other great writers of his generation, Flaubert, De Maupassant) one of the French literary syphilitics.
- Daudet would undergo several painful treatments and operations for his subsequently paralyzing disease.
- Daudet died in Paris on 16 December 1897, and was buried at that city’s Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Père Lachaise Cemetery Paris ( 26e division)
My thoughts along the way….
Here is my very first review in French! It’s a small step, just four sentences, but I hope to improve “au fur et à mesure ” ( along the way….) :
Après avoir lu Bel -Ami ( j’ai mis 5 semaines à lire ce livre )et Madame Bovary (…3 mois!), je me suis engagée dans un recueil des petites histoires d’Alphonse Daudet. Franchement, j’ai eu besoin d’un livre simple et facile à comprendre. Je dois reconnaître que les histoires sont brèves, mais qu’elles me touchent en plein coeur, notamment “Les étoiles”, “La mort du Dauphin”, et “La mule du Pape”. Alphonse Daudet reste pour moi la première étoile découverte sur le ciel de la littérature française.
1. Wonderful choice of book to read in french! Stories about Daudet’s native Provence in serial form for a newspapers. Prose of Flaubert can be exhausting, Daudet seems like a breath of fresh air à la Provence!
2. Epuisé ( exhausted)…but reading Daudet just makes me laugh, rabbits and owls who are surpirsed to see him as the new owner of the windmill!
3. Daudet’s book is a real gem. The language is familiar, easy to comprehend. As Daudet steps out of the diligence…”ma coline verte avec le moulin dessus comme un gros papillion” ( my green hill with above the windmill like a big butterfly).”
4. So nice to end the day with a simple and sweet story in french. Le Secret de maitre Cornille. One man’s fight to keep a “moulin à vent” (wind) turning while the “moulin à vapeur” (steam) is the future. ”Il faut avant tout que j’aille donner a manger a mon moulin”( I must take care to feed the mill). Times change, unfortunately …”il faut croire que le temps des moulins a vent était passé…”
5. Not all ”les petits histories de La Provence” have a happy ending, “La Chèvre de M. Seguin”.
6. Simple sweet story “Les Etoiles” . Just 4 pages but Daudet swept me off my feet with this “petite histoire”. That is something Maupassant could never do. Who is Alphonse Daudet? I will investigate and get back to you!
7. Le Figaro, 10 Oct 1868 “La Mule du Pape” is published.
Daudet sets out to expain the saying:(warning to others about, vindictive person)
“Méfiez-vous ( beware), il est comme la mule du Pape , qui garde sept ans son coup de pied!” I’m curious what this all means.
8. Stormy day here in The Netherlands, time to finish this book. Reading about..sheep coming down from the hills in autumn, elderly rural folk, the struggling milling trade, folk tales: the goat who wouldn’t listen to reason and went up on a mountain where there was a wolf; the monk getting addicted to the elixir he started brewing to provide an income for his order.