Balzac's Cane. Translated with an Introduction by Marta L. Wilkinson (Professor, Wilmington College)
Endorsement by Catherine Nesci, Chair, Comparative Literature at UC Santa Barbara: "Since the 1980s Delphine de Girardin (1804–1855) has been receiving renewed critical attention in France and the United States for her prose, theatrical, poetic, and journalistic works. This superb English translation of a thus-far untranslated jewel of humor and narrative genius will further enhance the visibility of an important woman writer. Marta L. Wilkinson’s translation of Girardin’s 1830s French best-seller, La Canne de M. de Balzac, offers for the first time to Anglophone readers the spirited and experimental novella of a woman author lamenting with great humor, and also playing with, the limits set on the literary creation of women writers. Wilkinson beautifully captures Girardin’s ironic take on the gender politics of early nineteenth-century France and the complex, transgressive playfulness of a novella featuring various literary genres and styles. Apparently endowed with authority by the sponsoring of the male literary stars of French Romanticism, including Chateaubriand, Lamartine, and Balzac, Girardin’s Monsieur de Balzac’s Cane also cites and reproduces at length the elegiac Romanticism of women poets whose eclipsing is performed magically by the voyeuristic power of invisibility symbolized by Balzac’s monstrous cane. Wilkinson aptly translates into English Girardin’s original narrative genius that foregrounds the authorial voice and the issues of fiction and authority. She also makes us think of all translations as pastiches, a question that Girardin’s novella also raises in its admirable work of parody of Balzac’s realism. At last La Canne de Monsieur de BalzaC, a masterpiece of intertextuality and gender masquerading, has found its English home, thanks to its translator’s witty and faithful interpretation."
- Book release