Sagan, Francoise: Bonjour Tristesse
(researched by Olivia Stanfield)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Francoise Sagan: Bonjour Tristesse. Paris; Rene Julliard. 1954. First American publication Francoise Sagan (translated by Irene Ash):Bonjour Tristesse. New York, New York; E.P. Dutton and Co. 1955. Copyright Statements: 1954 by Rene Julliard 1955 by E.P. Dutton and Co. Parallel First Editions: In England: Bonjour Tristesse. London; John Murray. 1955 In Germany: Bonjour Tristesse. Wien; Ullman. 1955. Source: National Union Catalog.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first American edition appears in trade cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
64 leaves, pp.[6], 7-128.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
None
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
None
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The general appearance is very plain. There is no art on the cover and the title and the author's last name only appear on the binding and not the cover itself. The print is clear and inviting, with a good amount of space between the lines and the paragraphs. The chapters are denoted at the top of the page with plain type. The cloth covering is violet purple and has faded. The paper has held up very well and is not significantly discolored or damaged in any place. There is evidence of pencil marks where someone may have taken notes in the margin. First letter of first word in each chapter is in bold and three times the size of usual type.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is wove and in good condition. There is evidence of mild discoloration which is not uniform throughout.
11 Description of binding(s)
Trade cloth binding, violet in color, fine grain. Inscription of spine: BONJOUR TRISTESSE| SAGAN stamped in black.
12 Transcription of title page
BONJOUR TRISTESSE| FRANCOISE SAGAN| Translated from the French by| IRENE ASH| New York| E P DUTTON AND COMPANY | 1955
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
There is a poem opposite the first page of text [p.6] that remains in the original French. Adieu tristesse Bonjour tristesse Tu es inscrite dans les lignes du plafond Tu es inscrite dans les yeux que j'aime Tu n'es pas tout a fait la misere Car les levres les plus pauvres te denoncent Par un sourire Bonjour tristesse Amour des corps aimables Puissance de l'amour Dont l'amabilite surgit Comme un monstre sans corps Tete desappointee Tristesse beau visage. P. ELUARD (La vie immediate)
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
EP dutton released another edition in 1988, also with 128 pages. Source: WorldCat.com
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
John Murray: 1955, London. 132 p. 19 cm Dell: 1955, New York. 127 p. 16cm Dell: 1967, New York 127 p. 17 cm Penguin: 1958, London;New York 108 p. 21 cm Penguin: 1972, New York. 107 [1]p. 18cm Reprint Society: 1958, London 250 p. 19 cm Ullstein: 1955, Wien 191 p. 21 cm Julliard: 1954, Paris 126 p. 17 cm (includes index) Popular Library: 1955, New York 157 p. Bon dia tristesa, (no tranlator given) Plaza and Janes;Buenos Aires and Barcelona, 1964, Catalan Buenos dias tristeza (none given)Tusquets; Barcelona, 1997, Spanish Jih an yu yu (none given)Ta ti ch'u pan she; Taipei, 1976, Chinesse Kanashimi yo konichiwa(none given)Shinchosha; Tokyo, 1985, Japanesse Joreggelt, bubanat(none given)Europa; Budapest,1957, Hungarian Witaj smutku(none given)Iskry; Warsaw, 1956, Polish Bom dia tristeza(none given)Difusao Europeia do Livro; Lisboa, 1958, Portuguese Henffych dristwch(none given)Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion; Aberystwyth, 1970 Farling sommerleg(none given)Sch¯nbergske forlag; Copenhagen,1985,1954, Danish Bonour Tristesse(none given)Ullstein Bucher; Frankfurt, 1957, German Bonjour Tristesse;romanzo (none given)Longanesi; Milan, 1965, Italian
6 Last date in print?
1983, by EP Dutton
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
As of 1967, 1,625,000 copies sold of the Dutton edition, and 1,500,000 of the Dell edition Two months after it was released in the US, 53,500 copies were in print ( from Feb 25 to April 30th) Source: Publisher's Weekly and 70 Years of Bestsellers.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
unavailible
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
None found
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
N/A
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The competition for the movie and play rights for this novel was fierce. Ray Ventura, a french agent picked up the world cpoyrights and later sold them to Columbia Tristar. A movie was made in 1958, also titled Bonjour Tristesse and followed the book closely. Directed by Otto Preminger, the filmed starred: David Niven Deborah Kerr Jean Seberg Geoffrey Horne Mylene Demongeot Juliette Greco Bonjour Tristesse, an orginal soundtrack recording. Released by RCA Vicotr in 1958. Music from the film, principally for orchestra.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Bon dia tristesa, (no tranlator given) Plaza and Janes;Buenos Aires and Barcelona, 1964, Catalan Buenos dias tristeza (none given)Tusquets; Barcelona, 1997, Spanish Jih an yu yu (none given)Ta ti ch'u pan she; Taipei, 1976, Chinesse Kanashimi yo konichiwa(none given)Shinchosha; Tokyo, 1985, Japanesse Joreggelt, bubanat(none given)Europa; Budapest,1957, Hungarian Witaj smutku(none given)Iskry; Warsaw, 1956, Polish Bom dia tristeza(none given)Difusao Europeia do Livro; Lisboa, 1958, Portuguese Henffych dristwch(none given)Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion; Aberystwyth, 1970 Farling sommerleg(none given)Sch¯nbergske forlag; Copenhagen,1985,1954, Danish Bonour Tristesse(none given)Ullstein Bucher; Frankfurt, 1957, German Bonjour Tristesse;romanzo (none given)Longanesi; Milan, 1965, Italian Aberystwyth
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Francoise Quoirez was born on June 21, 1935 in the town of Cajarc in the departement of the Lot in southcentral France. Born to a comfortable middle class family, the Quoirezes owned mills and farms in the surrounding area. Francoise classifies them as 'squires' saying 'they lived off the land the income they got from their land' but that they 'never worked with their hands, that was out of the question.' The family moved back to Paris after her birth and she lived there for the next five years, returning one month every summer to the Lot to stay with her grandmother while her parents went on vacation. During the Secind World War the Quoirezes lived outside of Lyons, and returned to Paris when it was over. In 1952 Francoise received her 'baccalaureat' degree and begin preparatory classes for entrance to the Sorbonne. She failed her entrance exams and at the age of 18 sat down to write 'Bonjour Tristesse.' Francoise had been telling her girl friends that she was a writer for months and they fianlly demanded to see some proof. She had one friend type the manuscript and sent it off to two publishers, Julliard and Gallimard. The phones were out of order that day and at two o'clock in the afternoon she received a telegram saying 'Contact Julliard; Urgent.' She to see M. Julliard at five that afternoon and received the news that he wanted to publish her novel. The novel was published May 15, 1954 under the name Francoise Sagan and won the Prix des Critiques on May 25, 1954. In 1955 Francoise traveled to Italy and the Middle East writing travel pieces for the French magazine 'Elle' She also traveled to the United States for the first time to publicize the American translation of 'Bonjour Tristesse.' The novel was a huge sucess in France. Francoise speculates on this phenomenon in her aurobiography compiled from interviews she has given over the years. She believes that the sucess of the novel was due to the Prix des Critiques and her age. The publicity generated by such a young author and a slightly scandalous story fueled the book's sales. Francoise states that the contents of the book were derived from her imagination and memories of her childhood. She had a very close relationship with both her mother and father, but states that it was 'definitely her father who wore the pants.' She also describes him as a practical joker, a trait which the father in 'Bonjour Tristesse' is noted for. Francoise has a brother and sister, and during her adolescence she says thay she and her brother grew very close. This detail is interesting because Cecil, the protagonist of her novel is an only child and very happy in her solitude. With the sucess of 'Bonjour Tristesse,' Francoise continued writing, publishing a work a year for the next five years. These are, respectively, 'Un certain sourire,' 'Dans un mois, dans un an,' 'Le rendezvous manque,' 'Aimez-vous Brahms,' a play 'Chateau en Suede'and another novel,'Les Merveilleux nuages.' In 1956 Francoise suffered a terrible car accident that nearly killed her. She remained in a nursing home for a year, were she was given so many pain killers that she became addicted and her muscle tissue began to degenerate. She cites this as 'the worst time in [her] life.' This accident is somewhat ironic as one of the main characters of her first novel is killed in a car accident that takes place in the same fashion, a car skidding on gravel in a turn. Francoise Quoirez has been married several times. First in 1958 to publisher Guy Schoeller, twenty years her senior, with whom she remained for two years. In 1962 she married American painter Robert Westhoff and gave birth to their son Denis in June of that same year. She began writing again at this time and wrote 'La Robe Mauve de Valentine,' a play, in 1963 when she also divorced Westoff, who continued to live with mother and son until 1970. 1965 saw her write another novel, 'La Chamade' and in 1966 she published a book cowrited with Frederico Fellini and illsutrated by Wingate Paine called 'Mirror of Venus.' In 1968 she wrote 'La Garde du coeur' and 'Un peu du soleil dans l'eau froide.' Many of these later works sold well and are respected, but none contained the initially suprise and shock value that 'Bonjour Tristesse' seemed to inspire. In 1971 she writes her first autobiographical work, 'Des bleus a l'ame' (Bruises on the soul) and the following year she is cited by Pope Paul VI as an example of irreligiousity. Her politival involvement increases in 1974 when she begins writing pro-Mitterand editorials in 'Le Monde,' extolling the virtues of socialism. In 1979 her screenplay 'Encore un hiver' (Another winter) wins the New York Film Festival. She serves as the president of the Cannes film festival jury that same year and complains in an interview that the jury was pressured to vote for Francis Ford Coppola' 'Apocalypse Now.' In 1980 she begins seeing Jean Paul Satre regularily and continues to do so until his death. She compiles a collection of plays and memoirs over the next ten years. Her political convictions continue to appear as she joins Mitterand's support group and publishes yet another scathing editorial in Le Monde in 1985. Throughout her career, Francoise had a very important relationship with her publishers. Julliard took her under his wing in 1953 and protected her from the extensive media coverage of that first year. She left Julliard when Rene Julliard retired and she felt the 'feeling' of the house had changed. She recounts meeting Henri Flammarion in her autobiography and was woed to sign a contract with Flammarion. He gave her a feeling of 'moral security' and 'told [her] all the things [she] wanted to her." Francoise is still publishing under the banner of Flammarion today.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Francoise Sagan's first book, Bonjour Tristesse, received mixed reviews from a wide host of critics. These can be classified as those who loved the book and those who thought it was overrated. Her immediate sucess at age eighteen led some to believe that it was the phenomenon of such a young mature writer and not the book itself that received so much praise. Excerpts from these reviews show a variety of reacions from literary critics of the time. As the book was first published in France, and not translated for several years, the contempoaray reviews are not accessible. Howver there exist many subsequent reviews as her later works were often compared to her first novel because of its rapid sucess and mixed reception. Critics either believed Sagan was a child prodigy or that her 'dull candy coated novel' was drastically overrated. [Bonjout Tristesse] is as preposterous a book as one is likely to come across in a long time...Bonjour Tristesse is childish and tiresome in its single-minded dedication to decadence. [The decadence] such as it is, is remarkably tepid and dull.[The characters] all plod so earnestly in the vague direction of pleasure. Nagid, Nora: 'The Decadent Life.'Commonweal Publishing. 1955. Mlle. Sagan gives a vivid impression of the intensity as well as the intranscience of adolescent moods; at the same time one hopes to find in Bonjour Tristesse better justification for its startling sucess. 'Somewhere East of Suez.' The Times Literary Supplement, London. 1955. Mlle. Sagan may well have demonstrated that she is in the line of a great fictional tradition, reaching from Mme. de La Fayette, a seventeenth century writer, through Benjamin Constant and Stendhal in the early nineteenth century, to the literary giant Proust with his 'Remebrance of Things Past.' Molnar, Thomas: 'Youth of France.' Catholic World, New York. 1957.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Francoise Sagan's first book, Bonjour Tristesse, received mixed reviews from a wide host of critics. These can be classified as those who loved the book and those who thought it was overrated. Her immediate sucess at age eighteen led some to believe that it was the phenomenon of such a young mature writer and not the book itself that received so much praise. Excerpts from these reviews show a variety of reacions from literary critics of the time. As the book was first published in France, and not translated for several years, the contempoaray reviews are not accessible. Howver there exist many subsequent reviews as her later works were often compared to her first novel because of its rapid sucess and mixed reception. Critics either believed Sagan was a child prodigy or that her 'dull candy coated novel' was drastically overrated. [Bonjout Tristesse] is as preposterous a book as one is likely to come across in a long time...Bonjour Tristesse is childish and tiresome in its single-minded dedication to decadence. [The decadence] such as it is, is remarkably tepid and dull.[The characters] all plod so earnestly in the vague direction of pleasure. Nagid, Nora: 'The Decadent Life.'Commonweal Publishing. 1955. Mlle. Sagan gives a vivid impression of the intensity as well as the intranscience of adolescent moods; at the same time one hopes to find in Bonjour Tristesse better justification for its startling sucess. 'Somewhere East of Suez.' The Times Literary Supplement, London. 1955. Mlle. Sagan may well have demonstrated that she is in the line of a great fictional tradition, reaching from Mme. de La Fayette, a seventeenth century writer, through Benjamin Constant and Stendhal in the early nineteenth century, to the literary giant Proust with his 'Remebrance of Things Past.' Molnar, Thomas: 'Youth of France.' Catholic World, New York. 1957.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Bonjour Tristesse, by Francoise Sagan was enormously popular upon its release in France in 1954 and later in 1955 when it was translates and brought to the United States. This essay will focus on both the novel's release in France and then in the US. The sales figures are not available for the book in France, but the majority of the critical reviews come from this period. Its popularity in the United States can be closely linked to that in Europe for transcontinental of reasons. Three of the reasons for the book's popularity will be examined in this essay. First, the author's age and status when the book was written and at the time of publication were a source of interest and surprise to many readers and critics. This was surely a draw for many readers and should be considered as one of the reasons for the book's wildfire success. Secondly the subject matters of first love, jealousy and suicide and the manner in which they are approached are all topics that attract attention and the author's first person narration makes these subjects even more approachable. Finally, the book's popularity in the United States can be attributed to the acclaim it received in Europe and the American's desire to 'find out' what made this book so exciting. One must remember that the media in the 50s was very different from that of today and while both television and cinema were present, they were not used nearly with the frequency that they are today. Therefore people spent more time reading and books that followed a literary trend had a wider reception than they do today. Francoise Sagan was 19 years old when this book was published by Rene Julliard in Paris in 1954 and when it won the Prix des Critiques, two weeks later. In her autobiography she tells of writing stories to amuse her classmates and of how they eventually convinced her to send one of her manuscripts to a publisher. Bonjour Tristesse is written in the first person, by a young girl of 17 about to pass her baccalaureate exams. Her observations of the world around her are written with the vocabulary and structure of an adult and yet retain the innocence and uncertainty of a child. One example of this style is found on page 53; "Yes, it was this I held against Anne; she kept me from liking myself. I, who was by nature meant for happiness and gaiety, had been forced by her into self-criticism and a guilty conscience. Unaccustomed to introspection, I was completely lost." This passage illustrates the dichotomy of Sagan's style, her childlike wonder and the ability to analyze herself that makes her book so unique, especially coming from a 19-year-old author. This combination created a large portion of her success among critics in various literary circles. "Sagan is a relentless writer, but not a relentless expositor of human relationships. Towards those she is merely ruthless with the cursoriness with which she treats them."(Brophy) However this duality also frustrated a lot of critics who felt the book was poorly written and overrated. "Bonjour Tristesse was a precocious book?-for Cécile controlled and manipulated the adults about her at will. Her story was pure wish-fulfillment carried off by the intensity and immediacy with which it was told, but inclined, whenever the author's concentration faltered to turn sheerly absurd."(Janesway)The writing style is strong but not extraordinary and many felt it did not deserve the kudos it was being given. Sagan continued to write after this initial success, publishing a book a year for about seven years. While she retained some of her early fans she was never again as well received and the novelty of her youth was no longer taken into account by those reviewing her works. "Bonjour Tristesse is written by a girl of 19 in a little more than a month. As such it is a considerable achievement. Mlle Sagan unquestionably possesses insight into emotional entanglements and she writes clearly and straight-forward?"(Somewhere East of Suez) The books two principal characters, Cécile and her father Raymond are of great interest because of their unconventionality. Cécile's mother is not present or mentioned throughout the novel and the reader is left to conclude that she died at a young age. As a single parent Raymond has given Cécile an unusual childhood by drawing her directly into his world. She attends cabarets with him and philosophical dinners with his friends. She is aware of Raymond's succession of young girlfriends that he parades through her life. This approach to childrearing and the bohemian lifestyle that they lead is a point of curiosity to an American reader. That is not to say such a set-up is the norm in France, but without the sense of puritanical values established in the United States, certainly in the 50's, such a relationship is quite as scandalous to a readership in Europe. "I pick up one of her books and think, how trite, why do they like her so much? Then, against my puritanical will, I get involved?"(Engel) This image may have been a selling point to an American audience coupled with the book's acclaim upon publication in Europe. Cécile's analytical view of the events around her is also a point to consider. She is involved in her father's relationship with Anne, an old friend of her mother's who has been her 'social' guardian, taking pains to be sure she is ' brought up correctly.' Cécile feels her father is growing away from her, and the life she has always known, and being pulled in by Anne, but this attitude is reflected by subvert actions and internal dialogue; "I was delighted with her remark. Certain phrases fascinate me with their subtle implications, even though I may not altogether understand their meaning. I told Anne that I wanted to write her comment down in my journal. My father burst out laughing?" (p. 19) Cécile later plots to use her boyfriend and her father's much younger ex-girlfriend to regain her father by playing on his most sensitive weakness, his age. She hopes that by making him feel older and less attractive as he watches his ex find happiness with a younger man (Cécile's boyfriend) that he will fear for his own vitality and leave Anne, who is his own age. This manipulation of both emotions and events by a character who is so close to the center of the plot was one of the strengths of the novel lauded by critics. It s also one of its strongest selling points; the idea of a young girl surrounded by such heady emotions as jealousy and her first love able to distance herself, analyze the situation and manipulate those around her innocently. This concept attributes to the book's success both in France and in the United States. The direct approach with which the book deals with many rites of passage from an author who was experiencing these emotions as she wrote is also an interesting aspect that drew in many readers. Cécile talks about falling in love for the first time with a young man she meets in the South of France during her vacation as the plot unravels. This aspect of the story is secondary to her jealousy of her father's lover, but it is still an important element of the plot. Her relationship with Cyril is described with a certain detachment that makes it interesting and yet unromantic at the same time. "But I noticed that his [her father's] every look betrayed a secret desire for her, a woman who he had not possessed and whom he longed to enjoy. I had observed a similar gleam in Cyril's eye, and I hesitated between egging him on and running away."(p 29) Cécile's reading of Anne and her new role in Cécile's life is also a very interesting aspect. She is aware from Anne's arrival that this woman is intruding in her life and yet she is incapable of standing up to her; first because of her respect for Anne, and later because of her father's involvement. This is seen in their first confrontation. " 'There are things one cannot be made to do.' I said grimly. Her only response was a superior smile and I returned to my place on the beach full of foreboding?All the elements of a drama were to hand, a libertine, a demi-mondaine and a strong minded woman." (p 28) Sagan's analytical view of this interaction and her use of foreshadowing mare impressive techniques that made this novel so popular and therefore of interest to so many readers. Finally, Cécile's plot at the end of the book to strategically place her boyfriend and her father's ex in locations where he will see them and therefore feel he is loosing his youth, shows a mature and cool outlook of this situation. Cécile plans to undermine her father's relationship with Anne so that she can reclaim his undivided attention. This idea works exactly as she had hoped, further illustrating the insight this character shows into the psyches of those around her. What she did not take into account were Anne's feelings at the loss of her father's affections and her subsequent rapid departure. The tragedy that ensues brings an element of drama and sadness to a work that could have been easily happily resolved. This decision by Sagan to darken the end of the story shows a maturity that is not always found in such young writers and that was not expected based on the tone of the novel earlier. Once again her techniques and twists of the plot made the novel more enticing to readers, especially after hearing of the acclaim it received in Europe, particularly in France. This brings us to our final point' the popularity of a book written in translation and released in the United States a year after its publication in France. While the sales figures were not available in France, it received the Prix des Critiques shortly after its release and also earned positive acclaim by some critics. Overall, however, the reviews were mixed. In the United States the positive reviews were translated more frequently than the negative ones and its reception was more orchestrated. This combined with the elements previously discussed in this essay earned the book its place on the bestseller list. The translation itself written by Irene Ash may also have affected the book's success in America. One critic suggests "Sagan's novels continue a tradition which passes through La Princesse de Clèves and is usually said to be peculiar and untranslatable?"(Engel) This author has read both the original French and the translated versions of the novel, and while they are very similar, there are as always some nuances that cannot be captured in translation. This may be due to a variety of factors. For instance, since the novel is set both in Paris and on the French Riviera, there are cultural images that are associated with these places and their tones that are not felt as clearly in the English version. While this is not the translator's fault, it may be responsible for a different reception in the US, where these nuances are not expected or necessarily understood by an American readership. The negative French reviews that were published are not all directly linked to this example but it is important to note that these differences do exist, and that it is possible that they are responsible for Bonjour Tristesse's appearance on the bestseller list in the United States in 1955. Bonjour Tristesse is a very interesting study in a bestseller for a variety of reasons. It does not fit any of the standard categories that are more prevalent later in the century, such as romance novels, murder-mysteries or self help books. It is the story of a young girl by a young author, which adds to its uniqueness. The setting and characters also vary greatly from any type of standard American novel. And finally the fact that this book was initially written in another language and subsequently translated into English makes it an unusual find on the bestseller's list. Françoise Sagan's novel met with varied reception on both sides of the Atlantic. However, her status as a young female author, her approach to the material and the book's audience in the United States all contributed to its position on the bestseller list.
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