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Learning to read Simenon in French
If anyone is wanting to learn to read Simenon in French may I suggest "Le Revolver de Maigret" edited by Herbert F. Collins which has a great vocabulary/idioms section at the back which would have helped me a lot had I read it earlier!
Davies Maigret portrait... comic style|
In the golden age of suspense TV series, the most popular titles had some additional appearances in the form of comic strips. Specially I think of Dell and Gold Key comics in the States, that, in the sixties, published TV-unseen episodes, even from original British series. Most of those US comics were adapted for the Latin American audience as well, by Novaro and SEA publishers.
Today almost all of those printings are still available on the antique book market, and you may decide, whether to enjoy a good old story in English or in Spanish. The comic strips I find, generally, as good as the corresponding TV episodes, some even might be better, because they content special scenes that would have been difficult to be realised for a TV show of those days, but for the cartoonists - no problem at all. Another big advantage of the comics is, they are always in colour, even though the early TV shows are in black & white. An example is "The Detectives", with Robert Taylor starring. The original b&w TV series has not come out on DVDs yet, as far as I know, but there are some colourful episodes to be read as comic strips! The same for "The Untouchables" (starring Robert Stack), and...
If there would have been the Rupert Davies Maigret series on American TV screens, perhaps there would exist some colourful episodes as comics as well. But the BBC Maigret was not presented there, the mighty US TV bosses had some objections. Davies: "I reckon, our series was too cheeky for them." At those times, it simply was unthinkable to serve a programme to the American audience, in which the Chief inspector occasionally, as a matter of course, would ask questions like "Did you spend the last night with......?" or "Tell me the truth, is......your lover?" But those can be, in many Maigret cases, the key questions! You can't cut them out!
Anyway, there remained my desire, to have Rupert Davies as a comic-style picture. Recently, at last, I have tried to make it myself. The result is not too bad, I think, and I hope, you will like it, too.
See more articles by Berthold at Simenon-Simenon
re: Maigret and the Black Sheep reissued?|
5/20/18 According to the Penguin website, Ros Schwartz's translation of "Maigret et les braves gens" [BRA] is scheduled to appear in August as "Maigret and the Good People of Montparnasse".
Most of the new Penguin titles are closer translation of the originals, but for this one they've added "of Montparnasse". Here are the titles and covers of the 2018 editions, including those which have been announced but not yet released:
All the new titles are included in the Bibliography and the Simplified Index. The previous titles for these new Penguins can be found by clicking the [Title Code] link to Plots [BRA], and then clicking the bibliography entry link. All the Penguin covers can be seen here.
Maigret and the Black Sheep reissued?|
5/08/18 Can you tell me whether “Maigret and the Black Sheep” (Maigret et les Braves Gens) [BRA] has come out in the new Penguin series yet? The way Penguin changes the titles …!!
Thanks very much
re: Another Penguin Maigret cover|
5/08/18 Has anyone actually seen a copy of Maigret Enjoys Himself with the red "US cover"?
The Penguin UK and US websites show the green cover. A Google image search shows many thumbnails of the red version, but all the ones I clicked took me to the green version. Penguin Australia's website shows the red version, but they are selling the green one.
I suspect the red version was replaced by the green in the final stages of publication, but it would be interesting to know if any proofs or sale copies exist.
re: Folio Society Maigrets|
5/4/18 As no translators were listed, I contacted the Folio Society who supplied them:
English sub-titled Gabin Maigrets|
5/3/18 Kino Lorber has released two Jean Gabin Maigret films with English subtitles. Film quality is good. No extras. On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Folio Society Maigrets|
5/3/18 The Folio Society has just published its first Maigrets. The “Society” used to be members only but now anyone can purchase them from their website.
From the blurb:
Another Penguin Maigret cover|
4/24/18 Here's an image of the cover of the UK edition of Maigret Enjoys Himself [AMU], which differs from the US cover (left).
Harry Gruyaert photo exhibition in Antwerp|
Antwerp, Begium 9/3/2018 - 10/6/2018
translation from the website by Dirk:
Harry Gruyaert (Antwerpen, 1941) is one of the most famous Belgian photographers. With this retrospective exposition the FOMU (Museum of Photography) draws a rich and surprising image of his work. Gruyaert is one of the pioneers of colour photography and since 1982 member of the famous Magnum agency…..
The masterful use of color photography - with his beloved Kodachrome film - is Gruyaerts trademark. However, the exhibition at FOMU also shows its versatility and focuses on a few seldom seen sides of its career: early black and white work, a fashion campaign for Hermès, covers of Penguin pocket editions of Georges Simenon, a tribute to film maker Michelangelo Antonioni, family photos and diverse assignment photography.
Cremer / Crémer / Kramer|
To most Europeans, the name phonetically (K or) Cray-Mer would be spelt Germanically as Kramer rather than as Cremer. Kramer is a surname frequently found in Germany.
This webpage, on a site for which, of course, I cannot vouch and itself admits that it is ageing, helps:
Part of the text:
This unusual and interesting name has Flemish origins and is an example of a name introduced into England by French and Flemish Huguenots seeking refuge from religious persecution on the continent during the latter half of the 16th Century and again during the late 17th Century. ‘Cremer’ is a variant of the German ‘Kramer’ and is an occupational name for a shopkeeper or tradesman or one who travelled through the countryside buying butter, hens and eggs which he carried to the market.That supports there being a link from Kramer to Cremer. This Wikipedia page (though I never believe without corroboration what I read there) takes us further.
Again, an extract from the text:
Bruno Cremer was born in Saint-Mandé, Val-de-Marne, in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. His mother, a musician, was of Belgian Flemish origin and his father was a businessman from Lille who, though born French, had taken out Belgian nationality after the French armed forces refused to accept him for service in the First World War. Bruno himself opted for French nationality when he reached the age of 18. His childhood was largely spent in Paris.
His parents’ roots were in that international triangle where the boundaries of religion, politics and nations often overlapped and came into conflict (before the EU), stretching between French Flanders (Lille), The Netherlands (Maastricht), Germany (Aachen) and embracing the whole of what are now Belgium and Luxembourg. Once the Cremer family was firmly in France, it is understandable that an acute accent was added, for it is that which makes Crémer phonetically almost identical to Kramer at the same time making it look familiar in French.
This is all just background: how the actor’s surname was actually spelt will have been what his birth certificate or any later document changing that said it was. It may, one conjectures, have had the accent added when he opted to be French, not Belgian, at 18. Lamentably, the relative inability of non-Francophones to appreciate accents may have clouded the issue ever since.
There are four little observations to make:
with best wishes to all,
3/12/18 With regard to the accent in the name Crémer... it's actually not so clear. It's true that on the imdb and other cinéma sites we find the name "Cremer" without the accent, but if we search further, we actually find the name "Crémer" with the accent just as often as without.
Although I haven't been able to find an "official" version, I tend to favor (in spite of everything, even Wikipedia!) the version with the accent, based on the covers of the author's autobiography, on which his name is Crémer. If we can assume that the author himself approved these covers, he must therefore have approved of the spelling…
3/11/18 What a wonderful site! I note that you also have a book out with Murielle Wenger which I will order. I read nearly all the Maigret novels in English some thirty-five years ago when I was at university and now I am retired I am reading them all in French.
I am particularly impressed by your attention to detail on the site, which is why I am sending you this message. In your section Maigret Films & TV the name of the actor Bruno Cremer is spelt with an acute accent (Crémer). In fact there is no accent in his name.
Good luck with your site and keep up the excellent work!
Maigret in Montmartre - the Atkinson film...|
3/6/18 On Christmas Eve I watched, in London, the fourth of the Atkinson Maigrets: Maigret in Montmartre. I take Vladimir's point about Maigret being created to be more along the lines of the Gambon/Cremer build, but as I've previously noted, I like Atkinson's portrayal. It rings emotionally true, to me, and Atkinson's persona is, again to me, nothing short of brilliant. But here's why I've sent in this posting: one of the magazines containing a listing of the television offerings during the December holidays (I forget if it was Radio Times or The Times or The Guardian) referred to Maigret in Montmartre as the latest offering in the "now decomissioned series." I think that would be a sad loss, should the series end with only the four films.
Penguin Maigret - Liberty Bar|
The pace at which Simenon wrote his novels – particularly the early Maigrets – insures that themes in them will emerge as much from unconscious processes as from intention and craft. This is why interpretations of the books must content themselves with strands that do not tie neatly into an overall pattern, and that sometimes trail off into inconsistency or inconsequence. Yet it would be a mistake to think of the novels as slipshod. They are better understood as a variety of realism, one that coherently develops the idea that reality can never be shapely or self-consistent.
I am keeping this willful inconsistency in mind when I call Liberty Bar a rumination about selves – about the way the passage of time changes one self into another, and the way potential selves exist within each person, and die off, one by one, when the conditions for their emergence no longer exist.
In the early chapters of Liberty Bar, Maigret is sent to Antibes to solve the murder of William Brown – and to solve it, his superiors say, with “no drama.” The refrain returns to Maigret’s mind again and again throughout the book, like an insipid pop hook that has taken one’s consciousness captive. After interrogating two of the suspects, he is surprised to find himself somewhat disheartened – almost personally affronted – by how the victim spent his final years.
Why should that matter to Maigret? The answer is obvious. Looking at a portrait of Brown, at the “exaggeratedly calm gaze” and “good natured but ironic curl of the lips,” Maigret has to admit: “[T]here was something about his general bearing, his expression, that reminded Maigret of himself.” The narrative reinforces this sense of identification, telling us that Maigret enters the dead man’s villa like “an owner returning home,” sits in his favorite armchair, and receives a box of his cigars as a gift. On his way out of the villa, he even grabs Brown’s raincoat by mistake. At the eponymous bar, Jaja, the owner, says:
“You remind me of William... That’s where he sat... He too put his pipe down next to his plate when he ate... He had your shoulders... Do you know you look like him?”
Thus, Maigret sees Brown as a second self – or, better yet, as one of those potential selves, somehow released from his interior into the visible world. This is why he is so disturbed by the dreary domesticity into which the dead man seems to have retired: “ʻHow on Earth did a fellow like Brown spend ten years with these two women?’” Could such a dismal fate await Inspector Maigret? ...
La maison du juge|
I wonder what Lise's madness could be, in La Maison du Juge?
Quai des Orfèvres at high water|
The Quai des Orfèvres with the Seine very high...
More on La Nuit du carrefour|
I can add some infomation to supplement Murielle's text, Maigret and the mysteries of the crossroads...
In Pierre Assouline's biography of Simenon, we find this about Jean Renoir's film, La nuit du carrefour:
"The interiors were shot in a studio in Billancourt, outside Paris, the exteriors at the intersection of Routes 1 and 309, in La Croix-Verte, [by Bouffémont]. Simenon was careful to show personal interest in the proceedings, visiting the set many times between January and March 1932. Marcel Lucien, the director of photography, submerged the images in a thick fog. The atomosphere was truly sinister, and the overall effect had a rare poetry.And, at the site of the online archives of the Bibliothèque nationale française, we can find an article about it written by Simenon for the newspaper Paris-Soir, April 16, 1932, p.6...
re: Letter to The Times|
1/18/18 It is becoming more and more probable that BBC does not have Maigret with Rupert Davies any longer.
Letter to The Times|
1/7/18 A comment I had in the TV pages of the Sunday Times Culture section (January 7th 2018):
re: Penguin Maigret - The Madman of Bergerac|
1/1/18 Thanks, Andrew!
Just for fun, I tried "Bergerac" in the Search form at the top of the page - and got 122 results! The Maigret-of-the-Month was #1, of course, but also this interesting #2 from 14 years ago (Dec. 29, 2003):
Maurice Piron's L'Univers de Simenon
Penguin Maigret - The Madman of Bergerac|
By the end of the first chapter of The Madman of Bergerac, Inspector Maigret has already spent a sleepless night on a crowded train, jumped off in pursuit of his nervous cabinmate, received a gunshot wound in the left shoulder, and lost consciousness in a forest outside town. He has wakened to find himself in a hospital bed, surrounded by hostile interrogators and mistaken for a murderer. It will take some time before the skeptical prosecutor will admit “that Maigret was indeed Maigret and not the madman of Bergerac!”
Despite these dramatic beginnings, the rest of the novel is marked by near-stasis, an immobility caused by both Maigret’s confinement and the provinciality of life in Bergerac. Yet Simenon manages to energize the plot anyway. How? Through what one might call a structuralist motor, one that works by setting two opposing principles in simultaneous motion.
The first principle is Anti-Enlightenment – a worldview that emphasizes irrationality, uncertainty, and disorder. The Madman of Bergerac replaces the typical mystery’s stable core with a narrative in which (to repurpose both Marx and Marshall Berman) all that is solid melts into air. Instead of formal investigation, we get accident: “It all came about by pure chance!” Instead of comprehensible motives, we get behavior that baffles even the actor, with the Inspector as perplexed as we are about “what instinct had prompted him to jump off the train while his luggage continued on its way to Villefranche-en-Dordogne.” Instead of evidence, we get unbridgeable gaps in knowledge – signs that lie just outside the “halo of moonlight,” memories that collapse into one another. Every detail – bushy eyebrows, a pair of socks, a particular hat – could point to Maigret’s assailant, or to someone glimpsed during his delirium, or to nothing at all. The clues, in other words, seem to be originating within the seeker – a situation that raises the possibility, fatal to the Enlightenment myth, that we are not so much discerning patterns in the world as imposing patterns on the world. (For more on the mystery as the embodiment of the Enlightenment ethos, see my review of The Two-Penny Bar.)
A case so resistant to comprehension inevitably acquires a “nightmare” quality, which may explain why Simenon uses the word three times in the first chapter. The atmosphere of irreality grows especially dense in a strange, striking passage in which Maigret dreams he is a “gleaming black animal,” fat as a seal and awkward as a beached whale, sinking second by second into wet sand. The dream obviously refers to the Inspector’s physical condition – “Why was he so stiff? Had he been wounded by a hunter?” – but also seems to me a figure for a detective out of his depth, mired in a world in which reason and observation no longer take him where he wants to go...
Maiget et son mort - the Atkinson film...|
12/30/17 I watched Maigret et son mort [Maigret's Dead Man] with Atkinson on TV today, for about half an hour. Well, it was on a French channel and in French only, so I couldn't understand the dialogue. What I saw looked like a well-made movie. The scenes, costumes, background, cars... all looked authentic, good enough for a feature film, not just a TV movie. The action looked exciting and dramatic. It was fully dubbed, each character with their own voice. I can't say if the conversations were interesting or boring as I didn't understand the language.
A quite different question is whether this well-done movie was also a well-done Maigret movie? Here I'm not so excited. One thing we know about Maigret is that he had a 'bulky' figure. Atkinson is a skinny fellow, not exactly how I'd expect Maigret to look. But than, I measure all actors playing Maigret by the Gambon standard, so none of them will fully measure up.
And I'd like to question Atkinson's choice of this particular story for his movie. What is so special, so outstanding about this story? If he asked me, I could give him one good reason not to use this story. It paints people from specific ethnic backgrounds in a bad light. Maybe it was okay in 1948 when France and Czechoslovakia were separated by the 'iron curtain', but it seems a little defamatory when GB, France, and CZ are all EU friends (never mind Brexit)...
re: Models for Maigret characters|
12/17/17 Simenon always said that he never invented anything, but that the characters he depicted were a mixture of various people he had met over the course of his life.
And so we can often find traits in a character of a person who had actually lived. For more on this subject see Michel Carly's book, Simenon et les femmes, which gives many examples of real people who inspired certain characters, (such as the Crosbys in La tête d'un homme).
With regard to Maigret himself, we know that he was inspired by several people Simenon knew... In addition to Guillaume, there was also Massu, and another policeman Simenon would have met when he was in Liège. And Maigret also contains characteristics of Simenon's father and grandfather…
Models for Maigret characters|
12/16/17 Marcel Guillaume is believed to be the model for Simenon's famous detective Maigret. Have models for other characters appearing in Maigret stories been identified? I have in mind well-drawn characters like Sir Walter Lampson and Mme Negretti (Le Charretier de la Providence [PRO]).
I feel that the appearance, attitudes and mannerisms bestowed by Simenon on such characters must owe much to people encountered by Simenon. It would be interesting to indulge in a little speculation about their identity.
New Maigrets in Polish|
11/29/17 Two new Maigrets released in Polish this year:
re: Simenon "statute of limitations" novel?|
11/27/17 I think both Murielle and William have got it right... the novel Lahlum was probably referring to is Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien [PHO].
William cites the quote near the end of Ch. 8, where Maigret confronts Van Damme, saying that if it were about Klein's death in February... if in fact it had been a murder, rather than a suicide... the statute of limitations would expire in three months.
But Van Damme had only asked Maigret to wait a month... so it was about something that had happened two months earlier... And it was this issue of the statute of limitations that led to the eventual revelation of the reason for Klein's suicide... the muder by the group of Willy Mortier in that December ten years earlier.
Indeed, prescription, "statute of limitations," is mentioned twice more before the end of the novel...
Toward the end of Ch. 9, Maigrets says, "Il y aura dix ans dans un mois... Dans un mois, il y aura prescription..." [It will be ten years ago in a month. In a month the statute of limitations will expire...]
And near the end of the last chapter, Ch. 11, Van Damme essentially repearts, "Car, dans un mois, pas même, dans vingt-six jours, il y aura prescription..." [For in a month, not even, in twenty-six days, the statute of limitations will expire...]
So while Lahlum's summary doesn't fit perfectly, it seems pretty clear that this was the novel he intended: "Statute of limitations" was a significant element in the solution of the case... and the first murder led to two more deaths — though not murders — one of them related to the time limit...
re: Simenon "statute of limitations" novel?|
11/27/17 The Maigret in question is probably "Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien"
"...il n'y aurait prescription qu'en février, soit dix ans après...
re: Simenon "statute of limitations" novel?|
11/26/17 The resurfacing of old crimes is a theme found in several Maigrets and romans durs.
In the Maigrets, there's the murder of Nina Lassave in Maigret et l'homme tout seul, and that of old Willems in Maigret et le clochard. We can also consider Darchambaux's murder of his aunt in Le charretier de la Providence, which had an indirect influence on his murders of Mary and Willy Marco. But since Darchambaux had been convicted of the first murder and had served his sentence, it really can't be considered a statute of limitations issue...
For this theme of a murder provoked by the statute of limitations, I can suggest Le pendu de Saint-Pholien, in which, in fact, it is mentioned with regard to the murder of Willy Mortier. However, can it really be said that that provoked new murders? Not exactly, considering that Jeunet was a suicide, and that Maigret evaded Van Damme's attempt…
As for me, I can't think of any others, but perhaps someone among the Simenon specialists in the romans durs can suggest something…
11/26/17 In his novel "The Human Flies", author Hans Olav Lahlum mentions a book by Simenon with a limitation period to arrest someone:
"...I recently read a novel by the great Belgian-French crime writer Simenon in which the limitation period for an old murder suddenly spawned several new murders..." (p. 158)Do you know which one it is? Is it a Maigret?
re: A Maigret Christmas|
11/23/17 Regarding Martin Cooke's question, I checked the latest Penguin edition and it contains 3 stories :
A Maigret Christmas
This is a new translation by David Coward. It is indicated as a translation of Un Noël de Maigret by Presses de la Cité 1951.
re: A Maigret Christmas|
11/22/17 With regard to the new translation issue 2017 Penguin hardback, “Maigret’s Christmas”, containing, book title plus eight other stories, a previously untranslated story “The Little Restaurent in Les Ternes” (is this a first published occasion?) is listed.
Which title is omited as book title plus eight others is still quoted?
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