Hemon, Louis: Maria Chapdelaine
(researched by Courtney Salthouse)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

The Macmillan Company, 1921, in New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Macmillan & Co., Limited in London, Bombay, Calcutta, and Melbourne. The Macmillan Co. of Canada, LTD. in Toronto.

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?


3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

150 leaves, pp. 3 - 288

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

No, but translated by W. H. Blake.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?


7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The blue cloth cover of the book was probably originally very bright. The front cover has a raised pattern framing the title and author's name, whi
ch are printed in gold. The spine shows a smaller version of the cover art, also in gold. The back cover is blank. The cover and chapter graphics details suit the book well. The chapter headings are accented with blue, which contrasts with the standar
d black printing of the rest of the book.
The margins are wide (2.3 cm are allowed on each side of the text; 3.7 cm remain below the text), making the text very easy to read.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The paper is yellowed with age, but the type is still very dark and contrasts effectively. The
edges of the paper are torn and slightly cracked, but the paper is still flexible.

11 Description of binding(s)

The binding is brittle but strong. The paper inside the covers is glued tightly without curling, but it is torn apart from the first page of the book as the binding gaps
when held by the cover.

12 Transcription of title page


13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings


15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

work was published posthumously, as he was killed (July 1913) shortly after mailing the story. The book was first printed in 1916 in French, and it was translated to English by both W. H. Blake and Andrew Macphail in 1921. Hemon's story was retranslate
d to English in 1980.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

1922 (London), Macmillan and Co., limited (translated by W. H. Blake) 1923 (New York), Macmillan French Series (edited with introduction, notes, questionnaire, exercises, and vocabulary by Hugo B. Thiere of University of Michigan, illustrated) 1924 (New York), Macmillan Company, Children's books (first edition, illustrated by Wilfred Jones) 1927 (New York), Macmillan 1928 (New York), Macmillan (translated by W. H. Blake, illustrated by Wilfred Jones) 1931 (Toronto), Macmillan of Canada (translated by W. H. Blake) 1938 (Toronto), Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd. (translated by W. H. Blake, introduction by Hugh Eayrs, illustrated by Thoreau Macdonald, 174 pp.) 1938 (Toronto), Macmillan Company of Canada (translated by W. H. Blake, introduction by Hugh Eayrs, 288 pp.) 1942 - Macmillan 1958 (Toronto), Macmillan (translated by W. H. Blake, illustrated by Thoreau MacDonald) 1980 (Toronto), Macmillan of Canada (translated by W. H. Blake, illustrated by Thoreau MacDonald, 161 pp.)

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

1922 (New York), Macmillan, first American edition 1923 (New York), Macmillan, 13th printing (translated by W. H. Blake) 1925 (New York), Macmillan

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

1921, 1924 - Grosset & Dunlap 1934 - Modern Library 1934 - Classic Images 1991 - Tundra Books

6 Last date in print?

1991, Tundra Books - English, illustrated juvenile reading

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

Not yet found.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

Not yet found.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

Within an ad for books by The Macmillan Company, under the section "Good New Novels," the entry for Maria Chapdelaine is as follows: MARIA CHAPDELAINE / A Tale of the Lake St. John Country / By Louis Hemon / Translated by W. H. Blake / "An idyll of French Canada; a / story of the patient, pure-hearted / Canadian farmers and of a simple / girl whom love illumines, and on / whom tragedy
shuts down as in- / exorably as the implacable cana- / dian winter. $2.00
The bottom of the section reads: AT ALL BOOKSTORES OR FROM / The / Macmillan Company / 64-66 Fifth Avenue, New York

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

None found. Note the author's death before publication, which precluded any promotions in which he would have participated.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Three movies have
been made based on the book, Maria Chapdelaine. The first, a french film of the same name, was released in 1934 in black and white. The second release was in France and the United Kingdom. It was filmed in English, and was promoted also as "The
Naked Heart." The most recent version of Hemon's story was released in 1983, in Canada and France. The version runs 107 minutes and is in French.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Maria Chapdelaine was originally written and published in French, but it appeared in English soo
n after. These two languages are appropriate given the book's setting: French Canada.
All English versions of the book are translations, so there are clear distinctions based on interpretation of the author's words or meaning. The first English edition was translated by William H. Blake, who, according to his introduction to one edition,
attempted to follow Hemon's intentions rather than vocabulary.
Included among translations are Amsterdam 1952 and France 1989.

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A

The story of Maria Chapdelaine was first published in the French magazine, Le Temps, in January and February of 1914.

15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

There were no sequels or prequels to this work.

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Louis Hemon, born in Brest, France (October 12, 1880), is often considered a Canadian author because of the setting of his most famous book, Maria Chapdelaine . Born to Louise LeBreton and Felix Hemon (th e inspector-general of public education), Hemon studied oriental languages at the University of Paris before moving to England at age 23. It was in England that Hemon fathered a child and may have married - sources disagree as to this union and to the sa nity of Lydia O'Kelley, the woman with whom he lived while in London. In 1911 Hemon left his home and his position as a journalist to serve as a translator in Montreal. After a year, he moved in with the Bedard Family in Northern Quebec. His job as a laborer (which paid $8 per month) and the nearby Lake St. John and village of Peribonka were the basis for Maria Chapdelaine , which he completed after 6 months. Hemon mailed his manuscript to a Parisian newspaper for syndication and set out on f oot headed westward. Shortly thereafter his path crossed with that of a train and he was killed (July 8, 1913). Six months later, in January and February of 1914, Le Temps , ran what was to become Hemon's greatest success. The acclaim was not immediate. A limited edition book of Maria Chapdelaine was published in Montreal in 1914, but it was not until the book was released in Paris that the world embraced the Canadian story. That edition sold over 400, 000 copies and led the way for the posthumous publication of all that could be found from Hemon's pen: his previous novel, Lizzie Blakeston (1908); La Belle que voila (1923, translated to My Fair Lady ); Colin-Maillard (1924, translated to Blind Man's Buff); Battling Malone, pubiliste (1925, translated to Battling Malone and Other Stories Monsieur Ripois and Nemesis (1925 translation, published in original French as Monsieur Ripois et la Nemes ; Recits sportifs (1982); Itineraire de Liverpool a Quebec (1985); and even a compilation of personal corres pondences , L. H., lettres a sa famille (1968). The location of Hemon's manuscripts is unknown.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The early-twentieth-century publication of Maria Chapdelaine preceded the use of non-print media for book promotion, so the key to finding contemporary reviews is finding contemporary journals. Even then,
the book's original French transcription is much more a subject of criticism (in French) than the later translation by W. H. Blake. This translation, in fact, is used as an explanation as to why an English reading of the story of French-Canada leaves "[
the reader] wondering why a million copies of this should sell, half of them in France, and why the French Government should be zealous in a search for its missing author in order to do him public honor" (Dublin Review). The article of 1922 suggests that
French patriotism is lost in translation; a Canadian perspective suggests that "the original is superior to any possible translation" because "the books abounds in . . . untranslatable vernacular, and herein lies much of its enchantment" (Canadian Forum)
Critics also compliment Hemon's "perfect sincerity and restraint which in not exaggerating Maria's grief has the effect of poignantly adding to its reality" and "delicacy of observation . . . which makes his writing seem like the quiet, moderate bearing
of witness by one who has perceived in a compact vision the drama of men's minds and motives" (Dublin Review).
Although generally praised for his realistic descriptions of countryside and settings, Hemon is criticized because he "idealized somewhat the scene . . . [D]isagreeable details are left out or merely referred to later" (Yale Review).
Among the English articles found about Hemon's Maria Chapdelaine:
J., F. C. A. "Our Book-Shelf: Fiction." Canadian Forum. v2 1921
M., V. "Some Recent Books." Dublin Review. v171 1922
Cross, Wilbur. "Novels Out of the General Run." Yale Review. v11 1922
Others to try:
Zieman, Margaret K. The Origins of Maria Chapdelaine.
Maria Chapdelaine. Review by A. M. Gibson. New Statesman 19:356 - 7 July 1, 1922.
Trois nouvelles: La belle que voila; Celui qui voit les dieux; La destinee de Miss Winthrop - Smith. R Deux Mondes 7 per 13:391 - 419 January 15, 1923.
L'auteur de Maria Chapdelaine. R. Bazin. R Deux Mondex 6 per 65:528 - 54 October 1, 1921.
La vie et la mort de Louis Hemon. G. Guillot. Por Annales Polit et Litt 85:392 April 15, 1923.
"He-who-sees-the-gods; story." Century 106:518-27 August 1923.
Canadian Bookman v4 1921.
Canadian v58 1921.
Dial v72 1922.
London Quarterly Review v138 1922.
Geddes, James. Modern Language Journal v8 1924.
Van Doren, Carl. Nation (US) v114 1922.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The popularity of Hemon's bestselling book was short-lived. While a 1935 review in Canadian Forum prophesied "[it] is a book which will be in perennial demand . . . as true today as it was twenty years ago," critics have certainly found the book unde
manding of notice since then. Very little has been written even in academic essays. Hemon broke ground by writing about the life of French-Canadian peasants, and for that he is historically referenced.
More common than reviews of Hemon's writing are investigative reports of his characters' origins. The "real" Maria Chapdelaine is a title awarded most frequently to Eva Bouchard, an inhabitant of the town of Peribonka. Rather than embracing their fame
, most residents were insulted by it and embrace only its economic benefits. Critics contend, however, that it is a realistic portrayal of "almost documentary fidelity" (Zieman).
Perhaps there is no reason for further reviews when as of November 1964 it was determined that "'Maria Chapdelaine' is now quite out of fashion" (Wilson). The same review criticizes the simplicity of character motivations, but compliments the ending, w
hich leaves the heroine with slightly more than the contented misery of a Maupassant character. And with that, the book is laid to rest.
Reviews: Wilson, E. "Reporter at large." New Yorker. v40 November 21, 1964.
Breyfogle, W. A. "Quebec Unchanged." Canadian Forum. v15 1935.
Zieman, Margaret K. "Origins of Maria Chapdelaine." Canadian Literature. v20 Spring 1964.
Others to try: McNaught, C. "Real Maria Chapdelaine." Canada Magazine. January 1935.
Osborne, W. F. "Qualities of Maria Chapdelaine." Queen's Quarterly. 1939.
Top of the News. v40 Fall 1983.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

This student created an electronic text instead of writing the critical essay.

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