The Beast, and Other Tales

Jóusè d'Arbaud author Joyce Zonana author

Format:Paperback

Publisher:Northwestern University Press

Published:30th Sep '20

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The Beast, and Other Tales cover

A classic of modern Provencal literature, Jóusè d'Arbaud's 1926 masterpiece The Beast of VacarÉs (sometimes titled The Beast of VaccarÈs, based on the French spelling) is a haunting parable about one man's heartbreaking encounter with a dying demi-god. Set during the fifteenth century, the tale is narrated by a solitary bull-herder - known as a gardian - who stumbles upon a starving creature that is half-man, half-goat. Terrified that he has met a devil or that his eyes are deceiving him, the gardian is nonetheless drawn to the eloquent Beast, who laments the loss of his glorious past even as he wields power over the animals around him. Torn between pity and fear, unable to understand his experiences and afraid he will be condemned for heresy, the gardian records his encounters in a journal, hoping that one day readers will make sense of what he cannot.

Set in the vast, lonely landscape of the Camargue delta, where the RhÔne meets the Mediterranean, The Beast seamlessly melds fantasy with realistic detail about the region's flora and fauna. Three additional stories - The Caraco, PÈire Guilhem's Remorse, and The Longline explore the lives of twentieth-century gardians in the region. Each man succumbs to fears and social pressure, tragically losing what he most loves.

The Beast should appeal to general readers as well as to those specifically interested in modern ProvenÇal literature, nature writing, environmentalism, and the fate of pagan classical gods in the modern era.

“D’Arbaud’s La BÈstio dÓu VacarÉs is a tragic parable particularly well suited to this moment, when humans believe they dominate nature. Working from both the ProvenÇal original and d’Arbaud’s own French translation, Zonana has captured in this collection the earthy, muscular flavor of an ancient language from a unique place and culture. This novella and the stories that accompany it hauntingly portray the erosion of a proud traditional way of life by the inevitable incursion of modernity.” —Michele Levy, author of Anna’s Dance: A Balkan Odyssey “D’Arbaud’s forgotten masterpiece, rendered here in Zonana’s vibrant, pulsing prose, opens our eyes to a region of France, the Camargue, and its astonishing natural beauty: landscape, animalscape, and humanscape. Whether bulls or cows, horses or their riders, drought or flood, or the bizarre, fragile half-human creature of the title story, ‘The Beast,’ d'Arbaud’s love for and knowledge of the Camargue come through in Zonana’s translation, which demonstrates her own love for and knowledge of the region and its languages.” —Alyson Waters, translator of Jean Giono’s A King Alone
  “Joyce Zonana has succeeded in channeling the earthiness, the nobility, and the ‘otherness’ of d’Arbaud’s impassioned paean to the Camargue and its denizens—human, natural, and divine. Like the knife wound that Jaume the bull-herder scores on his own arm, to confirm the reality of his dream-like encounter with the Beast, this pulsing narrative keeps drawing us ‘from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven.’” —Paul Eprile, translator of Jean Giono’s Melville: A Novel

“A long overdue translation of JÓusÈ d’Arbaud’s neglected ProvenÇal masterpiece. Zonana’s well-researched and creatively faithful translation captures the voice and retains the spirit and poetry of this mysterious and captivating work.” —Sandra Beckett, author of Crossover Fiction: Global and Historical Perspectives

ISBN: 9780810143128

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: 190g

120 pages