I first read the wholly delightful Letters from my Windmill by Alphonse Daudet when I was on holiday with my parents in Provence, in Avignon, to be exact. Ive also managed to recapture the time and the place in the novels of Marcel Pagnol, particularly the wonderful film adaptations of Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, but Daudet and his windmill, for the whimsy and for the beauty, for the love of a place and a people, is in a special class. Old Cornille, an anachronism even in his time, lives again, as does Monsieur Seguin and his audacious goat; as does the Vicar of Cucugan; as does Father Balaguere, dreaming of turkeys bursting with truffles; as does Father Guacher, singing away in the haze of his elixir Hey! Some of the stories are touching, sad in sweet melancholy. Sad or funny, the various tales reflect Daudets own love for the music, the lore, the traditions and romance of his southern home, a way of life that I suspect he knew was slipping deeper into the mist of time. Around us, the stars continued their silent march, as orderly as a great flock of sheep; and at times, it seemed to me that one of these stars, the brightest, having lost her way, had come to life on my shoulder in order to sleep I read this prose poetry and felt something beautiful resting lightly on my mind, a sweet sadness of memory.
Th nên các cu , trong cái thi i y ry nhng chuyn có th khin các bc bô lão mun thi cho các bc tr trâu vài cú, trong cái thi i vn d iên o vy mà câu viu và git gân li còn tr thành ngun sng và c tin không th chi cãi ca các tp th báo ài, thì ti sao ta ko dng li c nhng th th thái, êm , dung d, nh nhàng, bình yên và nh nhàng trong cái ko my bình yên nh th này. Quan im ca mình là chng có quan im gì, vì Alphonse Daudet ã tng nói trong cuc i ôi khi bn c mong sao l khng long cha tuyt chng và ch cn phy tay ra hiu hay huýt sáo 1 cái, s ngay lp tc có 1 con nhy x ra nut chng bn. Và các cu , nh thng l cái review này chng có on nào liên quan ti on nào.
I am given to understand that Alphonse Daudet's novels established him as the most successful writer in France by the end of the 19th century, and yet I must confess that I hadn't heard of him until a few weeks ago, when I spotted this book. The book began with an extract from a bill of sale: "To Mr Alphonse Daudet, poet, living in Paris, here present and accepting it: A windmill and flourmill, located in the Rhône valley, in the heart of Provence, on a wooded hillside of pines and green oaks; being the said windmill, abandoned for over twenty years, and not viable for grinding, as it appears that wild vines, moss, rosemary, and other parasitic greenery are climbing up to the sails. Notwithstanding the condition it is in and performs, with its grinding wheel broken, its platform brickwork grown through with grass, this affirms that the Mr Daudet finds the said windmill to his liking and able to serve as a workplace for his poetry, and accepts it whatever the risk and danger, and without any recourse to the vendor for any repairs needing to be made thereto." The pieces that followed weren't letters; they were sketches and stories, most set in the countryside around the windmill, but a few set in places the author knew in the wider world. It was clear that some of them were tales of people the author met and things that happened to him - some embroidered a little and some a great deal. I can recall with great pleasure a small orchard of orange trees, at the gates of Blidah, just such a place where their true beauty could be seen!
It is interesting to see Daudet refer to characters from novels by his contemporaries.
Reading this book is like taking a little vacation in southern France in the mid 1800's.
The father, Vincent Daudet, was a silk manufacturer a man dogged through life by misfortune and failure. In 1856 he left Lyon, where his schooldays had been mainly spent, and began life as a schoolteacher at Alès, Gard, in the south of France. Alphonse took to writing, and his poems were collected into a small volume, Les Amoureuses (1858), which met with a fair reception.