The Albertine Book Club reads “The Devil in The Flesh” by Raymond Radiguet
In April, the Albertine book club will read The Devil in The Flesh by Raymond Radiguet, translated by Christopher Moncrieff, and published by Melville House. Hailed by Jean Cocteau as a “masterpiece,” and by the Guardian as “Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero, avant la lettre,” this taut tale written by a teenager in the form of a frank “confession” is a gem of early twentieth century romanticism. Long unavailable in the U.S., it is here presented in a sparkling new translation
The Devil in the Flesh, one of the finest, most delicate love stories ever written, is set in Paris during the last year of the First World War. The narrator, a boy of 16, tells of his love affair with Martha Lacombe, a young woman whose soldier husband is away at the front. With an accuracy of insight that is almost ruthless, he describes his conflicting emotions—the pride of an adolescent on the verge of manhood and the pain of a child thrust too fast into maturity.
The liaison soon becomes a scandal, and their friends, horrified and incredulous, refuse to accept what is happening—even when the affair reaches its tragic climax.