By Edmond de Goncourt

ISBN-10: 208124649X

ISBN-13: 9782081246492

Histoire d'une prostituée criminelle, l. a. Fille Élisa (1877) jette une lumière crue sur deux mondes en marge : les maisons closes et les prisons. En retraçant l. a. décomposition psychique d'une fille de rien, condamnée dès sa naissance à l'effacement et à los angeles déréliction, Edmond de Goncourt, hanté par le memento de son frère Jules, mort aphasique sept ans plus tôt, fait ici un grand roman sur le silence. Saisissante étude où le « kind artiste » se mêle à los angeles nudité violente de l'intrigue, l. a. Fille Élisa remporta à sa parution un succès qu'aucun des romans antérieurs des deux frères n'avait connu.

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Don’t get the idea’ – he was out of breath, and his hands flapped – ‘don’t you believe that I’m complaining for the hell of it. I know you don’t have any influence, and you’re just a poor fellow yourself. ’ And he beat the table with his fist several times, not taking his eyes off it as he did so. ‘I’ve served on so many ships in my time’ – and here he reeled off a list of twenty names as if it was a single word, Karl felt quite giddy – ‘and with distinction, I was praised, I was a worker of the kind my captains liked, I even served on the same clipper for several years’ – he rose, as if that had been the high point of his life – ‘and here on this bathtub, where everything is done by rote, where they’ve no use for imagination – here I’m suddenly no good, here I’m always getting in Schubal’s way, I’m lazy, I deserve to get kicked out, they only pay me my wages out of the kindness of their hearts.

Well, you’re right about that,’ said the man with some pride, and carried on tinkering with the lock of a small suitcase, repeatedly shutting it with both hands to listen to the sound of the lock as it snapped shut. ’ asked Karl. ’ Karl asked to reassure himself, as he’d heard a lot about the dangers for new arrivals in America, especially coming from Irishmen. ‘Yes, yes,’ said the man. Still Karl hesitated. Then the man abruptly grabbed the door handle, and pulling it to, swept Karl into the room with him.

I’ve lost my way,’ said Karl. ’ ‘Well, you’re right about that,’ said the man with some pride, and carried on tinkering with the lock of a small suitcase, repeatedly shutting it with both hands to listen to the sound of the lock as it snapped shut. ’ asked Karl. ’ Karl asked to reassure himself, as he’d heard a lot about the dangers for new arrivals in America, especially coming from Irishmen. ‘Yes, yes,’ said the man. Still Karl hesitated. Then the man abruptly grabbed the door handle, and pulling it to, swept Karl into the room with him.

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La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt


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