Please feel free to participate in this Forum... Over |
Penguin Maigret - The Saint-Fiacre Affair|
The Saint-Fiacre Affair (1932) is one of the best early Maigrets. As Proust had shown a few years earlier, memory – even feigned memory, even memory that belongs to someone else – gives a depth and intensity to a narrative that mere invention can seldom match. Although barely 50,000 words, The Saint-Fiacre Affair somehow manages to suggest Proust’s seven-volume magnum opus, if only in the way that eddies of lost time keep pulling the protagonist beneath the surface of the story.
Inspector Maigret has returned to Saint-Fiacre, the village of his childhood, where his father worked as the estate manager of the chateau. This position – intermediary between the working people and the gentry – helps to explain a puzzling aspect of Maigret’s personality. Even as he recoils from the bourgeoisie and identifies with the common man, he nonetheless retains a surprising fondness for a certain kind of aristocracy – the kind grounded in behavior, rather than in rank. (Think of his admiration for Sir Walter in The Carter of La Providence.) The relevant aristocrat here is the Countess of Saint-Fiacre, “a young woman who had personified . . . femininity, grace, [and] nobility” for the young Maigret. After an anonymous letter prophesies her death “during first mass on All Souls’ Day,” Maigret is shaken enough to investigate.
Throughout the novel, the past seeps in unpredictably, uncontrollably, often stopping Maigret in his tracks. Waking on a November morning with “frozen fingertips.” The “smell of candles and incense” in church. The curtains in the confessionals, the communion wafers. An oak table with carved lions. His father’s “little office, near the stables.” The “linen maids” and “day labourers” waiting to get paid. The guests at the chateau during hunting season . . .
Yet The Saint-Fiacre Affair is hardly an exercise in nostalgia. Surrounded by the past, Maigret “ache[s], both emotionally and physically.” If the chateau had once “represented everything inaccessible in the world,” it is now all too accessible, with the crass doctor smoking in the Countess’s bedroom and assorted nobodies tramping through the hallways. At the village cemetery, even Maigret’s father’s gravestone is “blackened.” Maigret seems most disturbed by the revelations about the Countess’s descent into libertinism: “And there she was, a batty old lady who kept gigolos!” Is it because she played a formative role in the creation of his own erotic imagination?
Uncharacteristically for Simenon, there is a happy ending to this tale of crime and cowardice. It comes about through the moral resurrection of Maurice Saint-Fiacre, heir to the estate. A scene around a dinner table is one of the more spectacularly tense in Simenon’s oeuvre, and the behavior of the Count leaves even Maigret impressed:
Maigret felt he was in the presence of an irresistible force. Some individuals, at a given point in their lives, experience a moment of plenitude, a moment in which they are somehow elevated above the rest of humanity, and themselves . . . Maurice de Saint-Fiacre was master of the situation, and he was up to the task.
The end of the novel is peaceful and serene. Early in the book, Maigret had questioned and befriended an altar boy whose humble background and sneaky desires reminded him of his youthful self. At the conclusion, he shares a secret smile with Saint-Fiacre – a fellow aristocrat of the spirit, and one who seems to have restored his faith in the superiority of the chateau.
Simenon, Georges. The Saint-Fiacre Affair. trans. Shaun Whiteside. London: Penguin, 2014.
Death of Dick Bruna|
2/18/17 Dick Bruna, Dutch artist and children's author, who designed numerous covers for the Dutch editions of Maigret and other Simenon novels, has died at 89.
re: Maigret in the 13th arrondissement?|
Simenon, Maigret, and the 13th arrondissement
Maigret in the 13th arrondissement?|
2/17/17 I follow your site and appreciate all the details about Maigret. Is there Maigret or other Simenon novel that takes mainly or has some portions of the 13th arrondissement in Paris?
Maybe featuring or mentioning Buttes aux Cailles, Hopital Pitie Salpertriere, Blvd Arago, or the Gobelins?
Maigret in Polish|
2/17/17 I haven't reported for long time about progress in publishing the complete Maigrets in Polish. Here's what the past 2 years produced:
all the best from Toruń
re: Guide to Maigret?|
2/17/17 No, I do not think we need to learn French law of the last century - or law at all - to enjoy Maigret. Newer translations shall remove out-of-use words and replace them with current words. In the French original, this may be more difficult, as no one except the author is qualified to correct the original. But footnotes on each page where arcane words appear with modern equivalents is possible.
Guide to Maigret?|
2/11/17 I've been looking through your site, hoping to find a sort of Guide to Maigret, and the world he lived in. I read the novels in French, so I have no problem with the language. What I don't understand are the 1940s police terms, like "hôtel garni", a hotel for single night sleepovers where you had to fill out an identity slip which was then passed on to the police daily (can you imagine the effort and bureaucracy?).
If you know of a resource that might help, I'd appreciate it.
I think that's a pretty tall order. For example, I took a quick look at the French Wikipedia article on hôtel garni, and it seems it's a term not in current use with a long legal history, apparently concerned with guaranteeing the character of a lodger...
(Administration) (Désuet) Hôtel doté de toutes les choses nécessaires pour loger. Que ces dispositions du Code pénal sont fondées sur la confiance nécessaire que le voyageur doit accorder durant son voyage, tantôt à un aubergiste, tantôt à un loueur d’hôtel garni ; qu’elles ne lui ont pas refusé dans un lieu, la garantie qu’elles lui ont accordée dans un autre ; qu’elles n’ont pas voulu que le loueur d’hôtel garni, coupable du Vol des effets d’un voyageur soit puni d’un simple emprisonnement, tandis que l’aubergiste, dans le même cas, doit subir une peine afflictive et infamante […] — (Philippe-Antoine Merlin, Répertoire universel et raisonné de jurisprudence, 1828)Do we want to study 19th French law to read a Maigret? I suppose it's a question of how deep an understanding you require to be able to enjoy the story... As you say, it's not so much a problem of understanding the language, as it is the early-to-mid-20th-century world of Paris... For that, I'd suggest reading more novels of the era... such as more Maigrets!
Le petit chien repèrè [The little spotted dog]|
1/29/17 I just watched "The French Connection II" with commentary by producer Robert Rosen and Gene Hackman, and earlier in the week I watched the Crémer "La Maison De Félicie".
I couldn't help but to notice a little white dog with black spots and a curly tail walking and running in many of the outdoor sequences.
The supplements on the Maigret disc included several interviews regarding Georges Simenon's novels, and included clips from a vintage French film in black and white, AND in a sequence... a little dog with the same characteristics and markings in the foreground.
And in "The French Connection II" at 31mins/45secs, one of the little dog's lineage is filmed trotting alongside Hackman!
I wondered if John Frankenheimer had intentionally added a tribute to Simenon... I was hoping that it would be mentioned in their comments, but no such luck.
re: Atkinson's "Dead Man"|
1/28/17 I'm responding to Vladimir's question (1/21) about the Atkinson Maigret.
Vladimir has asked if I would elaborate on what I mean by the Atkinson Maigret's Dead Man being "slow'? (Is it boring? Predictable? Without suspense? Does it not hold viewer attention or include scenes that make no contribution to the story line? Would I want to watch it again?)
Before I answer let me note that I have now received the DVD of this film (British, still unavailable in American format) and it also includes the first Rowan Atkinson Maigret, Maigret Sets a Trap, and I've now watched that, too. Also on the DVD are interviews with Atkinson, various people associated with the films, and with Simenon's son.
By using the word 'slow' (which I admit was an unhelpful choices of words) I meant to distinguish the film from tv mysteries that are filmed with more attention to pace than to character or setting, films in which the editing might switch rapidly among camera angles, or might include unnecessary but extravagant shoot-outs or chase scenes, or which infest the screen with fast-paced distracting details. For example, 'Sherlock,' with it's rapid language, computerized images and words appearing and moving around and disappearing, the use of successive, quick-cut, close-ups of people talking rather than a longer shot with several people in the scene, and some many things happening all at once that your adrenaline pumping so hard that maybe you've just forgotten just what the story is about. Pulse-racing, but to me artificial, action. Watching the Atkinson films felt more like reading a book that you couldn't put down. They held my attention; I might say I was riveted to the screen -- even when Maigret was just standing there, reflecting, nothing happening except a twitch of the lip. This is Atkinson's genius. I thought the way the films were made reflected Maigret's thoughtful nature, not unlike the Bruno Cremer films. That is to say, watching the films felt like reading Simenon's novels.
That's not to say there was no action. A family hacked to death in a farm house: the fact is chilling even if the action is implied from the aftermath, whereas spending a few minutes recreating the killings is to me contrived and an example of a scene unnecessary to the plot, included to extend the length of the film and raise your blood pressure. A man running down an alley who is suddenly shot in the back; a body dumped out of a car; a woman attacked on a dark street in Montmartre; a woman screaming in childbirth in a seedy hotel room. But the choices made in filming and editing seemed to me to be driven by a respect for Simenon's writing rather than just to manipulate your heart-rate. I often found myself asking not "what happens next" but "who happens next." And that's Simenon, isn't it? The extraordinary becomes part of the ordinariness of life, rather than the extraordinary being italicized so you don't miss it. If you've seen the Australian "Dr. Blake Mysteries" you'll know what I mean.
There were no scenes that did not contribute to the story line, or to developing the sense of character and atmosphere. There was no excess, nothing I think might have been cut. I've had that experience of thinking "hey! good film! too long, though -- maybe 20 minutes shorter?" Not these.
Would I watch them again? Already have. In fact, after watching Maigret Sets a Trap, I immediately watched the Cremer Maigret Tend un Piege. As Audrey Hepburn says in "Roman Holiday:" "Each, in its own way, was . . ." I've watched the Cremer multiple times; I've now watched the Atkinson three times. Similarities, differences, each in its own way excellent. Or so I think.
And after watching both, I felt like ordering a beer and a ham sandwich and having them sent up and starting in all over again . . . except I was the one who had to go down to get the beer and make the sandwich.
re: Bruno Crémer - subtitles|
1/27/17 As Steve mentioned, there was an exhaustive discussion regarding sub-titles or the lack thereof some time ago [2/6/2012..., 7/27/2012, 9/12/2012...]. I recall working out which US sets (all of which had sub-titles) one had to purchase to get a complete English sub-titled collection of the 54 episodes. I had purchased the 5 French produced coffret. Coffret 5 presented the problem as it provided sub-titles for 2 episodes only (Maigret et les plaisirs de la nuit and Maigret et l'Etoile du Nord). If you purchase US sets 1,2,3 and 4 you are covered.
Bruno Crémer - early episodes - subtitles|
1/26/17 MHz Networks released the early episodes in the USA with subtitles, and the sets can still be obtained via Amazon.com. I purchased the DVDs in 2012 - the picture quality is a little subdued and you need a Region 1 player of course.
Well worth the purchase.
How many Crémer episodes are there?|
1/25/17 I'm getting back into my Crémer Maigret box set, after five years, it's like seeing them for the first time again. I'm trying to figure out, if the actual number of Crémer episodes is greater than the 54 that are both on the Maigret website, and the newer box set (coffret)
Seems that my set only has 42 episodes, and I did notice that the earlier episodes from the 1990's weren't included for some reason. Has anyone else mentioned this?
It's such a shame too, because the 42 episode set comes in such a nice box...
Additional information on the Crémer series is avaliable here.
re: Atkinson's "Dead Man"|
1/21/17 Thanks to Steve C. for his review of Atkinson's 'Dead Man' (1/16/17). Maybe he can elaborate on what he means by "slow'? Is this movie boring? Predictable? Has no suspense? Does not hold viewer attention? Does it include many scenes that make no contribution to the story line and only add time to the movie length? Finally, would he want to watch this movie again?
Maigret on Radio|
1/18/17 Gary Marsa has just updated and corrected a few of the CBC listings for Maigret on the Radio, and provided an interesting new discovery of his - a listing of French language Maigret serial broadcasts by BBC Radio 4 in England in 1969 of Le chien jaune and Félicie est là, for people learning French.
He also pointed out that it was very difficult to locate the Maigret on the Radio page. You either had to use the search form or go to Reference and click on radio to get to the link. I've now added a link at the top of the Film page as well, as that seems like an easy-to-remember place to find it...
Atkinson's "Dead Man"|
1/16/17 First of all, congratulations on Maigret's World. Wish it were out now!
Secondly, I was in London over Christmas and watched the Atkinson's Maigret's Dead Man. I thought it brilliant, for these reasons: when Rowan Atkinson's face is expressionless it remains full of meaning; high marks on atmosphere and attention to original story line (easy to forgive substituting Mr and Mrs M for the police barkeep and his wife and also high marks for not dwelling on the sordid sexual relationships and undertones); and two heartbreaking moments, one carried off by Atkinson without a word, the other by Atkinson's voice off-camera: replacing the shoe of Maigret's Dead Man and the (albeit non-canonical) telephone question to his wife "we have a happy home, don't we?"
Much of the criticism of this film was its slowness, but that's Simenon's novels: for all their brevity, they are slow. That's the point. Maigret is the eye that sees and absorbs and does not rush to judgment. There's a contemplative rhythm to most of the novels, and I thought the film captured that. But it wants a commitment to paying attention to the smallest detail, such as Atkinson's expressionless face that is not expressionless underneath. Unfortunately, I think most viewers are more attuned to the pace of a "Sherlock," something I find boring precisely because of its lack of depth and focus.
Again, congratulations on the book!
re: Maigret's World!|
2017 is here!|
1/1/17 Happy New Year to all Maigret Fans!
Maigret's Dead Man - ITV|
Maigret: Dead Man was a curiously cold case for Christmas - review
Last year, the final episode of Downton Abbey was the most-watched programme on Christmas Day. It is hard to imagine that Maigret: Dead Man will deliver the same sort of festive cheer for ITV.
This was the second outing for Rowan Atkinson’s Parisian detective, created by Georges Simenon in the Thirties and immortalised by Rupert Davies on British television in the Sixties. We first saw the comedian take on the role at Easter and reviews were unkind with headlines that predictably veered towards schoolboy French (“Zut alors! C’est terrible!” screamed one).
In truth, Maigret, and indeed Atkinson are not catastrophique (sorry!) but the production remains a curiously cold affair and, in the time it took the inspector to solve last night’s mystery, you could have jumped on the Eurostar and been pampering yourself in the Hotel Georges V....
Penguin Maigret - The Shadow Puppet|
Certain lines jump out of literary texts, as if they were hidden messages from the author’s unconscious, hints on how to understand the work beyond the writer’s own comprehension. In The Shadow Puppet, such a line appears relatively early in the book, in the middle of an otherwise unexceptional description of an apartment building: “There are impressions that cannot be explained: something felt wrong, something that emanated from the facade itself.”
The line refers literally to the Place des Vosges, where Inspector Maigret has gone to investigate the murder of Couchet, the wealthy owner of what the narrative calls a “serum factory.” In this quiet, conventional locale, Maigret discovers an intricate family drama and a homicidal nihilism behind the closed blinds.
The early pages of this novel are all about imperfect concealment, about information leaking through and unsettling the recipient, as at a puppet show that has been shabbily staged. When Maigret first arrives to investigate the crime, he finds a kind of shadow world, without “proper lighting,” so that the lives inside the apartments remain disturbingly ill-defined, resistant to even the most general speculation. The dead body itself is a blurry shape behind “frosted-glass panes”; it resembles a “Chinese shadow puppet,” a phrase that gives the book its French title, L’ombre Chinoise.
Yet the phrase “something felt wrong” also points to a more general condition – a malaise that underlies not just bourgeois existence in all its “syrupy greyness,” but also existence itself, as if the universe were a “facade” behind which something unpleasant lurked.
The idea of an absurd cosmos was in the air in the Thirties, particularly in the Francophonic world. (Both Camus and Sartre published their first works later in the decade.) Critics have tended to pay more attention to the philosophical underpinnings of Simenon’s romans durs – works like Dirty Snow and The Man Who Watched Trains Go By – but I would suggest that existentialism is relevant to the Maigret novels as well. What “emanate[s] from the facade” in these books is the knowledge that there is only facade – that all of these “comical gesticulating shadow[s]” have no puppet-master to pull their strings. In this context, the behavior of Maigret – his patient immersion in the mundane, his resolute refusal to invent invisible motives – becomes a kind of replacement for metaphysics, a way to find meaning amid “all this day-to-day unpleasantness.”
In The Shadow Puppet, and in the other seventy-four novels in which he figures as protagonist, Maigret shows us something important behind his facade – what it means to be “good” in a world where the category is as shadowy as the courtyard of the Place des Vosges.
Simenon, Georges. The Shadow Puppet. trans. Ros Schwartz. London: Penguin, 2014.
More Alsatian Simenon/Maigret|
12/30/16 Here's an article by the University Library of Strasbourg including references to François Hoff's article...
November 2016: Simenon's Fictional Alsace
After a tour of France on the canals which began in 1929 and provided material for various reports, Georges Simenon (1903-1989) moored his boat, the Ostrogoth, at the quai d’Anjou in Paris. It was there, in July 1931, that he wrote Le Relais d’Alsace, published several months later... The series that he himself called his "romans durs", his "hard novels" had just been launched. With the romans durs, Simenon sought to escape the constraints of his Inspector Maigret series, to vary the themes and plots of his texts as well as the characters and settings, to eventually leave strictly detective stories, and to experiment with other styles.
In an interview with Richard Dupierreux published in Le Soir, Dec. 6, 1936, Maigret's creator unveiled his method of writing: "How do I make a novel? It's very simple. I think of a place where I've lived, and I feel its atmosphere. I live in it. In my mind I reconstruct the odors, the colors, the climate... Then I think of a person, one I'd seen there. I ask myself, 'What was he like? What did he do? What did he become?' I sit myself down at my typewriter at 6:00 in the morning, and I type steadily until 8:00. Twenty pages are written. That's enough for the day. I take it up again the next day. In the meantime his life has become clearer, other characters have appeared, existing along with him. The atmosphere, the climate, the odors, the colors... they haven't changed..."
With Le Relais d’Alsace, things proceeded differently. Indeed, in spite of his many travels, nothing in Simenon's biography indicates a passage through Alsace... And François Hoff, in his article "Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères", published in Le Carnet d’écrou n° 8, suggests that Simenon may have decided to set his plot at the Schlucht pass after reading some newspapers... In fact, the 25th Tour de France passed through the Vosges pass for the first time in 1931. This lack of knowledge of the terrain provides an explanation for Hoff of the topographical improbabilities... "If the beginning of the novel gives the impression of a true report, the illusion quickly dissipates... Suddenly, midway between the Schlucht and the Hohneck, at the top of the ridge (!?), and thus in the Hautes-Vosges, appears a splendid "chalet in the pines," surrounded by "a small park with gravel pathways, with masses of roses and hydrangeas", the existence of which the reader can hardly believe. The Hautes-Vosges are covered with meadows and small shrubs at that altitude... which, while it hardly prevents you from continuing with the novel, makes it nonetheless harder to believe. It would have been preferable for Simenon to have placed his chalet a few hundred meters lower...""
Readers will experience for themselves whether this approximate geography detracts from the novel; the suspension of disbelief required of all fiction varies from one reader to another, and natives or connoisseurs of the Vosges will no doubt be more demanding of topographical credibility. For Simenon the essential was elsewhere, probably in the understanding of the human soul of which each of his texts endeavors to explore a hidden recess. And thus neither was he embarrassed by internal inconsistencies in the secondary aspects of his voluminous work (75 novels and some 30 short stoires for Maigret, 117 "romans durs"). The meticulous reader will note, for example, that Madame Maigret, originally from Alsace, returns to her native region every summer to visit her sister, sometimes called Hortense, but sometimes Odette or Elise, and a brother-in-law with an equally changeable name (Emile, André, Charles). These inlaws sometimes welcome them in Colmar, sometimes near Mulhouse. They also have a chalet in Schlucht pass, which they lend to the Maigrets, but nothing is said about its exact location...
Happy New Year!
Exposition: Détective Magazine|
12/28/16 Exposition : Détective, fabrique de crimes ?
An interesting exhibit coming in January in Paris about Détective Magazine, published when Maigret began...
re: Simenon's French|
12/27/16 Thank you, Murielle, I will study it all with pleasure. [see 12/9/2016]
ps Meant to say Simenon repeated himself much more in the later books (eg La Chambre Bleue).
Mme Maigret's Alsatian Investigation|
12/25/16 Here's a short article by François Hoff, published in Le Carnet d'Ecrou No. 23, November 2016, the newsletter from the Strasbourg Sherlock Holmes Association, about Maigret and Alsace...
MAIGRET ET LE CLOCHARD.
Two boatmen pull a clochard from the Seine who'd been beaten and tossed into the water. Maigret goes to see him at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, where the man is in a coma with a fractured skull. He is François Keller, a doctor from Mulhouse, who'd left his family and moved to Gabon, "some hundreds of kilometers from Libreville", but had upset the colonial administration. Alone, bitter, alcoholic, he'd returned to France, where, on the fringe of society, he'd wound up living with a group of clochards under the bridges of Paris. They called him "Doc".
In the Alsatian Revue of Literature1, Jean-Paul Sorg, who presents this novel, sees him as "an inverted figure of Dr. Schweitzer", too rigid, too inflexible to keep strictly to his medical mission.
Maigret is sympathetic to this pure idealist incapable of making concessions, but Doc remains silent, and it's Louise, Mme Maigret, who provides the most useful information about him to the Chief Inspector.
We know that Louise is originally from Alsace, and she calls her married sister in Mulhouse, who informs her that Dr. Keller had been a doctor for the poor, who couldn't handle the sudden change in his life: his wife had suddenly become rich as a result of a large inheritance. They'd moved into a private mansion, but François Keller had been unable to adapt to the fashionable life which so pleased his wife .
Some details will trouble the regional reader... Simenon puts Mulhouse in the Bas-Rhin, and the Keller's mansion on the "cathedral square". He has confused Mulhouse with Strasbourg. Jean-Paul Sorg states that "to write his novel, he hadn't bothered to visit the site of the action". Simenon wrote quickly, and much...
We've already noted this casualness with regard to Le Relais d'Alsace (1931)2... Simenon describes the Schlucht pass without having seen it, probably from a picture postcard, reversing east and west, and surrounding the chalet with "roses and hydrangeas" in the Hautes-Vosges, between Schlucht and Hohneck.
Moreover, Louise Maigret's sister (once called Henriette, it seems) appears several times in the Maigret "Canon". But she is called variously Florence, Hortense, Élise (in Colmar) and Odette. In a search worthy of the best pages of "Holmesolgy", a scholar has endeavored to provide biographies of the "four sisters": "(Madame Maigret’s Four Sisters").
One last point, which, this time, illuminates and enriches our reading of the novel: Mme Keller's inheritance. Mme Maigret's sister carries out a parallel investigation to that of the police, and she discovers the actual reason for the doctor's departure for Gabon.
Mme Keller had a maternal aunt, a nurse at the Strasbourg hospital. A little before the war, this sister married a rich scrap metal dealer, with a bad reputation. He made a fortune during the war, through usury and metal trafficking with the Germans. Sought by the FFI, French resistance fighters, in 1945, he fled to Spain, then to Argentina, and died with his wife in a plane crash. Mme Keller inherited without concern for the source... We now understand that it was not just the sudden enrichment of his wife that had led her husband, a doctor of the poor, to leave, but the origin of the fortune.
1 Jean-Paul Sorg, « La figure inversée du Docteur Schweitzer dans un roman de Simenon, Maigret et le clochard », Revue alsacienne de littérature, n° 119,1er semestre 2013, p. 132-134.
2 « Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères », Le Carnet d'écrou, n°8, février 2008, p. 31-32.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
re: La patience de Maigret|
12/20/16 With regard to Oz's remarks, while désormais and dorénavant are considered to be synonymous, we can detect a small shade of difference. For my part, intuitively, I would rather use dorénavant when the action is described in the present, while désormais could be used when the action is in the present or past. For example: "the Chief Inspector could have questioned him as much as he wanted, désormais he wouldn't have answered his questions"; "the Chief Inspector can question him as much as he wants, désormais/dorénavant he won't respond to his questions". I wouldn't use "dorénavant" in the first sentence, but it's more a question of "feeling" than grammatical logic…
Etymologically, désormais means "from now and more", and dorénavant "from now on", so just about synonyms. Following an explanation found on the internet, we could say this: "The moment in a narrative which serves as the reference point could be the present or a moment in the past, where désormais is thus a synonum for dès lors. According to certain authors, dorénavant is more in the present than désormais. This is probably why désormais is used more often than dorénavant when the event is in the past.
It seems to me that in the text of La patience de Maigret, these nuances also appear: "it was the beginning of an affair that would be called, désormais, at the Quai des Orfèvres, Maigret's longest case" (Ch. 1): we envision the action more in the future, i.e. the case will be called this way; "Désormais, you're alone, you understand?" (Ch. 2): Maigret is talking to Aline to make her understand that in the future she will be alone, without Palmari; "As for his phone, it is désormais being tapped, like yours." (Ch. 5): Maigret tells Aline that from now on her phone will be tapped; "Fear of being dorénavant harassed by the police" (Ch. 5): Maigret reflects on Pernelle's behavior, and imagines that from now, from the time he speaks with Maigret, he will be afraid of being harassed in the future.
Naturally, all these are subtleties, and it's difficult to know if Simenon knowingly used "dorénavant" in this phrase in Ch. 5, or if he was simply looking for a synonym for "désormais"…
As for Oz's question about the English translation of the two terms, I believe it's the context which will determine whether "henceforth" or "from then on" is more appropriate… At first glance I'd say that "henceforth" is closer to "désormais" and "from then on" to "dorénavant". But once again, it's a subtle question.
As for the remark, "Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way," I think it must be qualified. It's true that Barillard is particularly odious, but Aline is not regarded on the same level. Simenon notes several times in the text Maigret's somewhat ambiguous feelings about her... on the one hand, he considers her and Barillard a "couple of savage beasts", and he's no doubt unable to forgive her for being an accomplice to Palmari's murder; but he still can't help feeling a certain sympathy for her, or at least something a little unclear.
We can find a number of examples, but the most striking one is from the last chapter, when Aline says to Maigret: "Confess that you had a weakness for Manuel", and when Maigret replies, "In a way, yes," Aline adds, "And for me as well, no?" and Maigret replies, "In a way..." And I think it's important not to lose sight of the fact that Aline also appears in Maigret se défend [DEF], and that there too, Maigret's attitude toward her shows a certain ambiguity.
In the episode adapted for the Bruno Crémer TV series, the Chief Inspector utters this phrase (not found in the novel, but striking)... To Judge Ancelin who is asking Maigret's opinion about Aline's guilt, Maigret answers: "in your position, I would be wary of the sympathy that certain police officers may have to certain accused..."
La patience de Maigret|
12/18/16 Although this is a later novel [1965 PAT] in the Simenon oeuvre, it strikes me as a franc homage to the noir era. I had fortunately forgotten the plot before I reread it just now, and it struck me in the end as being a story that could have come from 1938 or 1947. Well crafted of course and the references to the Holocaust date it to a postwar era. But the overall flavor is very dark. There is no one to fall in love with other than the juge d'instruction, who I think never appears again. Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way.
It did leave me wondering if there is a difference between "dorenavant" and "desormais" both of which my dictionary translate as "henceforth" or as I might say "from then on". I think Simenon felt they were not total synonyms since he used both words.
Maigret Title Index|
12/16/16 There have been a few requests since the new Penguin series started to appear, for a list of correspondences between the new titles and existing translations... of the "Have I already read this one under a different title?" variety.
The title index on the Bibliography page was unfortunately out-of-date and needed to be reprogrammed to answer those questions. It's now back up-to-date (at least the Simplified index so far), and can be accessed from the Bibliography page by simply clicking the Indexes link at the top center of the page. I'll work on getting the other indexes updated, but for now, the simplified index will answer these questions.
Click on the title in the Index and you'll get to the list of all the English titles, and most of the English editions for that book.
12/16/16 And A MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, Helen Shingler! In addition to many other remarkable roles you were the perfect Madame Maigret at Rupert Davies' side in the sixties, chosen out of many photos of actresses by Denise and Georges Simenon personally. In the present German DVD edition of that series we have the chance to admire you again and again. We simply love you!
(This photo was published, for example, in "The Australian Women's Weekly", October 16, 1963)
re: Simenon / Loustal "Un nouveau dans la ville"|
12/12/16 There was a significant error in my report on the new edition of Simenon's (non-Maigret) story "Un nouveau dans la ville"" [12/7]. I wrote, incorrectly, that it had been translated by Bernard Lechtman as The Novel of Man, and appeared as a limited edtion in 1964 (Harcourt, Brace & World, 59pp), "a lecture delivered in the Main Auditorium of the Brussels World Fair on October 3, 1958... published as a New Year's greeting to friends of the author & the publisher."
Actually, Lechtman's book was a translation of Simenon's "Le roman de l'homme", which was in fact the text of a lecture delivered by Simenon in the Main Auditorium of the Brussels World Fair on October 3, 1958, published by Presses de la Cité, 1959 (not the edition shown above). Un nouveau dans la ville has apparently never been translated into English.
My mistake was the result of believing an ad for a copy of The Novel of Man, in which it was described as a translation of "Un nouveau dans la ville." I ordered a copy and it just came in. When I compared it with the French text of "Un nouveau dans la ville," the error was obvious.
re: Simenon - Loustal - Maigret|
12/12/16 One more famous Loustal drawing from the 11/22/14 Forum... drawn and autographed by Loustal for Jérôme:
Maigret en Meublé|
12/12/16 (Or "moobles" as my daughters loved to say when we took them to France when they were 11, 10 and 7). And if you have children or grandchildren there really is no better place on Earth for you to take young children to. We divided our time between Paris and Provence, with a huge car in Provence and no car in Paris except for a Renault Espace to take a quick trip to Normandie, Chartres, and Mont-St. Michel. And yes we danced on the Pont d'Avignon and went to at least one beach where the women were topless.
I have just re-read "Maigret en Meublé" and did notice at first that there was a differently-named sister for Mme Maigret. But I do think that one of the potential "sisters'" in a later work, set when Maigret had retired was in reality a niece or perhaps a cousin once removed. Eventually, Mme Maigret would have had relatives in the younger generation.
Maigret's Jurisdictionby Elliott Colla, Los Angeles Review of Books, Feb. 15, 2015.
THESE MIGHT BE Jules Maigret’s best years ever. It is not hard to picture the sardonic hero of Georges Simenon’s best-selling novels smiling down on us from policier heaven. And why wouldn’t he? Contemporary American mass culture is awash with procedurals, and Maigret’s jurisdiction now covers the entire world.
Police stories are so ubiquitous today that it is hard to remember back to when detectives tended not to be police. It’s even harder to imagine that the police hero had to be invented in the first place. But that is more or less what Simenon did back in 1930 when he created the jaded, savvy Maigret, dressed always in an overcoat, his pipe in one hand, a beer in the other, and his wife half-forgotten at home. Seventy-five titles and 80 years later, Maigret’s literary DNA pervades crime fiction from Paris to Hollywood. Maigret’s descendants are by now a motley squad spanning from the 87th Precinct of Ed McBain to the LAPD of Dragnet and James Ellroy. From Ian Rankin’s Rebus to Henning Mankell’s Wallander — from The Wire to CSI, from Dexter to True Detective — the precincts of our imagination are staffed with Maigret’s heirs...
English film version of "Maigret et le fantôme"?|
12/10/16 Wow! Thank you so much for your work on the Maigret series. I am no slouch in English but prefer watching Bruno Cremer. However, I am at a loss to find the equivalent title -- preferably on YouTube -- using an English-speaking cast, but equivalent to "Maigret et le fantôme." Is it possible there actually is such an equivalent? Or have I used half the day searching in vain?
I am assuming you cannot possibly be stateside to have undertaken such a remarkable work with your site. I am a dreary colonist hoping to enrich her life on the border of Mexico by studying various languages, one of which is NOT Spanish. If you could direct me to a film in English that would better and more clearly help my comprehension of the apparition film, I would be very happy. Thank you kindly, and assuming you are in the UK, my best to HRM.
Emma Peel in EP
re: Simenon's French|
12/9/16 In response to Jane's question, here's a link to a rather scholarly article about Simenon and "belgicism"... Georges Simenon et le français de Belgique by Christian Delcourt and Janine Delcourt-Angélique. (in: Revue Belge de philologie et d'histoire / Année 2006 / volume 84 / Numéro 3 / pp. 799-827)
The introductory paragraph...
I hope Jane's French is sufficient to the task...
12/8/16 I wonder if Murielle has any thoughts on any differences between Belgian French and French French as I usually have to use the dictionary more often with the earlier books. This may also be because Simenon repeats himself less as he got older (no criticism as he also was building suspense).
12/27 ps Meant to say Simenon repeated himself much more in the later books (eg La Chambre Bleue).
Simenon - Loustal - Maigret|
12/7/16 A new edition of Simenon's (non-Maigret) story "Un nouveau dans la ville" has just been issued by Omnibus, illustrated by Loustal, in which Loustal gets equal billing with Simenon on the cover...
The story, written at Desert Sands, Tucson, Arizona in 1949, and published the following year, was apparently never translated into English
Maigret fans are no doubt familiar with Jacques de Loustal's illustrations, which have been reported on these Forum pages a number of times... The Forum article of May 2, 2003 included links to the 2000 Figaro Magazine article on Loustal's Simenon/Maigret illustrations.
In addition to two Yantchevsky (see 11/19, 11/30) Maigret covers, the covers of four Loustal Maigrets appeared in the Sept. 7, 2005 Forum, Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux (2002) [mal], Le témoinage de l'enfant de choeur (2002) [cho], Le client le plus obstiné du monde (2000) [obs], and On nu tue pas les pauvres types (2000) [pau].
From Oct. 15, 2014 - Feb. 28, 2015 there was a Loustal/Simenon Exhibition at BILIPO in Paris, attended by Jérôme, who reported to the Forum on Oct. 7, 2014, and sent several of his photos of the exhibition on Oct. 18.
A postage stamp designed by Loustal was issued by France (on my birthday!) in 2013, portraying 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the site of Maigret's office...
re: Maigret se trompe|
12/7/16 Vladimir, ten copies of "Maigret's Mistake" in paperback are currently offered on amazon.com at a price of one American cent, plus $3.99 postage and handling.
With cordial regards,
Rowan Atkinson's Maigret on Christmas Day TV|
"Rowan Atkinson is set to return as French detective Jules Maigret on ITV on Christmas Day, facing off with BBC big hitters including Call The Midwife and EastEnders...""
ITV Sets Premiere Date For ‘Maigret’s Dead Man’"Maigret’s Dead Man – the second film in the new series of Maigret adaptations – will premiere on ITV on Christmas Day (Sunday December 25th) at 9pm, it has been announced..."
re: Maigret se trompe|
12/6/16 Oz is fortunate he can read Maigret in the original language, just as Simenon wrote it. I agree with his praise of Simenon's writing style. I'm not sure Simenon resembles Hemingway, for two reasons. First, Simenon is only four years younger, and lived far apart in Europe. By the time Hemingway became popular in Europe, my guess is Simenon had already developed his writing style. Second, I like Simenon; but I tried and could not 'get into' Hemingway.
When on this forum someone names a 'best' Maigret, I get curious. (My best is "M. and Saturday night caller").
Unfortunately, none of local libraries has "Maigret's mistake" as a book. But they have the Bruno Cremer DVD with this episode, in French with English subtitles. I will keep trying to find the book, in a used book store, maybe. I am a strong follower of Gambon Maigret. I find reading subtitles interferes with appreciating the movie.
More about Yantchevsky Maigret covers|
11/30/16 More Maigret covers by Nicolas Yantchevsky, along with information about them (in French) can be found at Murielle's site...
Maigret se trompe|
11/29/16 I am gradually rereading the Maigret opus. I always read the French version, and I strongly felt that Simenon was imitating Hemingway in this one. Hardly a wasted word anywhere, and a very tight construction too, with the resolution only at the very end. And of course, the good doctor was second only to Simenon himself when it came to sexual activity with an amazing number of women. "Trompe" is, I think, Simenon at his very best, from a literary point of view.
Maigret covers exhibit|
11/26/16 The exibit described by Jerome looks interesting. What does it say in that oficial-looking letter? I can understand one word - manuscript - and the title. The photographer Nicolas Yantchevsky must have been tallented artist and could understand Simenon well if he produced so many of his book covers.
11/25/16 I just had a family dinner where I met Sandy, the 93-year-old father of my 2nd cousin's wife.... At some point he mentioned Simenon and I joined in the conversation to say that he was my favorite author. After dinner, Sandy enthusiastically climbed 3 flights of stairs to show me his collection of about 250 Simenon books, Maigret's, pulp novels and everything else! A holiday miracle!
Suze : answer to Dirk|
11/20/16 One more about Suze... I agree with Dirk, but you can see this: swissinfo.ch.
Whatever the origin, what's important is the fact that in the novels, the only time Maigret drinks a Suze is when he tries to act as "little Albert" in Maigret and his dead man:
In Chapter 3, "Little Albert", while trying to escape his followers, goes into a number of bistros, and there "orders a Suze-citron, as was his habit". In Chapter 4, when Maigret discovers Albert's café, the Chief Inspector serves a drink to Lucas, and "since he wanted to indentify strongly with the patron, he served himself a Suze."
Maigret : covers from Presse de la Cité|
11/19/16 I went this morning to visit the exhibition at Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterand, about the photographer Nicolas Yantchevsky [1924-1972]. He produced around 30 covers for Simenon books during the Presse de la Cité period in the years 1950-1960.
The exhibition show various versions of pictures he took for Maigret covers. The process was usually for him to receive the manuscript from the editor, propose some covers and then let Simenon choose. Simenon always had the final choice. These three photos should give you some idea of the exhibit. The Maigret books on display are in pristine condition, a pleasure to look at. There is no exhibition catalogue, just a short article in the BNF monthly review.
Rowan Atkinson spends Night At The Crossroads...|
11/18/16 ATV Today - Nov. 14, 2016
Rowan Atkinson spends Night At The Crossroads with latest Maigret episode
"ITV has commenced filming Night At The Crossroads, the first of two new films in the Maigret series, featuring the legendary French fictional detective Jules Maigret, played by Rowan Atkinson. Night At The Crossroads, adapted by Stewart Harcourt, features Aiden McCardle, Shaun Dingwall, Lucy Cohu and Leo Starr. Further cast includes Kevin McNally, Tom Wlaschiha, Mia Jexen, Stephen Wight, Mark Heap and Robin Weaver..." more...
11/9/16 I understand the Swiss pride from Murielle, but some Googling shows the following at suze.com/histoire-creative-suze and fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suze: My idea isn't to start a controvery about the origin of the apéritifs. In my analysis, Murielle is correct about the origin, but the commercialized apéritif is certainly French, and so if Maigret ever tasted it, it was surely the commercial version.
[L’idée n’est pas d’ouvrir une polémique sur l’origine des apéritifs :-). Dans mon analyse, Murielle à bien raison sur l’origine, mais l’apéritif commercialisé est bien français, et si jamais Maigret en a goutté, c’est bien la version commercialisé.]
So, Murielle is right on its origin, but the (old-fashioned) commercial version seems to be French.
[J’ajouterai bien au liste des apéritifs nostalgiques Lillet (http://www.lillet.com/fr-fr/), depuis 1872 et qui a fait les dernières années une remonte.]
And I'll add a list of nostalgic Lillet apéritifs -- since 1872, and recently making a return...
11/8/16 With regard to the previous message on this forum, regarding Maigret's apéritifs, a correction: Suze is a Swiss drink (and not from Auvergne), and I want to clarify this, because this alcohol was invented in my home region. It bears the name of the river that crosses our area...
11/7/16 Regarding Keith Marr's question about "aperitifs old people drink"... it is not easy to answer. "La Patience de Maigret" was written in 1965, so we need to find what was no longer in fashion at that time. As the bar has specialties from Massif Central, I can suggest Gentiane from Salers, or Suze, as both are from Auvergne... but this is seen from today in 2016.
11/7/16 This might be one.... In Maigret se défend, [Maigret on the Defensive] after the Chief Inspector had been suspended from his functions, he goes into a bar where he orders the same apéritif he had drunk when he'd been appointed to the Homicide Squad (see Maigret's Memoirs):
"He remembered his first days in Paris. A new drink was being introduced then, and it had been his favorite apéritif for one or two years. 'Does Mandarin-Curaçao still exist?' 'Yes. It's not much in demand and the young people don't know what it is, but whe've still got a bottle on our shelves..."
Aperitifs in The Patience of Maigret?|
Maigret of the Month - 2012
Maigret of the Month - 2011
Maigret of the Month - 2010
Maigret of the Month - 2009
Maigret of the Month - 2008
Maigret of the Month - 2007
Maigret of the Month - 2006
Maigret of the Month - 2005
Maigret of the Month - 2004
Search all the Maigret pages at this site