Red Text on a gray background. Text: Virtual Alumni College. Grinnell College logo in the upper left of the image.

Translating a 17th-Century French Novel for 21st Century College Students: La Princesse de Cleves Goes Digital

Madame de Lafayette’s 17th-century French novel La Princesse de Clèves is a classic of psychological prose and a rich meditation on the nature of love.  That’s why I wanted to translate it into English for a new, open-access digital and bilingual edition of the novel, just released this past September by Lever Press.  But I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or what I’d learn along the way.  In this lecture, I discuss some of the things I discovered during this five-year project about translation, digital publication, and the poetic ambiguities of Lafayette’s text.

Faculty Member: David Harrison, professor of french and arabic
Discussion Date: Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m.

Meet Professor Harrison

David HarrisonProfessor David Harrison received a B.A. in French from Swarthmore College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the literature and culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in France.  He is the principal translator and co-editor of La Princesse de Clèves by Lafayette: A New Translation an Bilingual Pedagogical Edition for the Digital Age (Lever Press, 2022). A specialist of the Mémoires of the Duke de Saint-Simon, he is one of the few Americans to have had his work published in the Cahiers Saint-Simon.  He has also published on Molière, Scudéry, Boileau, and Ninon de L'Enclos, and his work has appeared in Seventeenth-Century French Studies, Papers on French Seventeenth-Century Literature, and The French Review.  He is currently writing a monograph on the figure of the "enjouée" (the witty woman) in the French novel from L'Astrée to Corinne.  At Grinnell, he teaches at all levels of instruction; his advanced seminars include “Power and Resistance in 17th and 18th Century France,” “Comedy in French Literature,” and “Molière: Text and Performance from the 17th to the 21st century.”  Professor Harrison was the Interim Director of the Center for International Studies in 2014-15, having served as Director of the Center from 2007-2013.

  1. Step 1 Selection
  2. Step 2 Registration
Thursday March 30
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Please register below.
Event registration summary
Virtual Alumni College - La Princesse de Cleves Goes Digital:
View Lecture & Join Discussion
View Lecture Only