A Word from the Editor
In this issue’s Buzz, we revisit Albert Camus’s Algeria through the adaptation of his short story “L’hôte.” In this spare tale, a French Algerian escorts an Arab to jail across a mountainous wilderness. David Oelhoffen has created a very different film, exploring the two main characters’ background in ways that did not interest Camus. Through a series of encounters, he also shows the various groups engaged in the struggle for and against Algerian independence, making the film eminently teachable. But, as Joshua Cole explains, Oelhoffen’s more nuanced and humanistic approach can backfire when it moves too far away from Camus’s original intentions.
In Maybe Missed, Adam Watt tackles Nina Companeez’s four-hour TV adaptation of Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu.In something of a tour-de-force, he compares this to other movie adaptations and demonstrates how, albeit in highly compressed fashion, she manages to render Proust’s major themes and characters, including societal shifts between the fin-de-siècle and early1920s. Some of these choices are explained in the “making-of” inserted in the review in lieu of preview (there being none). As for the rest, it is best to dip into the great work itself.
In the Classics section, Brian Sandberg introduces the first two books of Robert Merle’s saga, Fortune de France, whose 13 volumes are being translated into English at the rate of one a year. Set during the wars of religion, the books focus on a Périgord noble family thrown into the maelstrom of this great conflict, with some family members becoming Huguenots and others remaining Catholic.While Merle offers swashbuckling adventures to rival Dumas, he has also carefully recreated the social panorama of the era through the insertion of “notarial records and livres de raison” inspired by Annales School research in vogue when he began in 1977.
University at Buffalo, SUNY