“Pain, you must be everything for me. Let me find in you all those foreign lands you will not let me visit.” —Alphonse Daudet
 
In the Land of Pain—Alphonse Daudet’s poignant, humorous, and piercing reflections on his years of enduring severe illness—is a classic in the literary annals of human suffering.

Daudet (1840–1897) was a greatly admired writer during his lifetime, praised by Dickens and Henry James. In the prime of his life, he developed an agonizing nerve disease caused by syphilis and began taking notes about his experience, published posthumously as In the Land of Pain. Daudet wrote in powerful, unflinching images about his excruciating symptoms, his fears, his desperate attempts at treatment, and the effects of the morphine he came to depend on. His novelist’s eye and sense of humor did not desert him as he observed the bizarre society of his fellow patients at curative spas, nor did his generosity and compassion for them and for his friends and family. In Julian Barnes’s crystalline translation, Daudet’s notes comprise a record—at once shattering, haunting, and beguiling—of both the banal and the transformative realities of physical suffering.

“Startling . . . splendid. . . . Daudet provides the pain in images that . . . have rarely been equaled; and in words that turn wit to its true task of assaying the dark.” —The New York Times Book Review

“These are [Daudet’s] notes from underground. They include . . . ruminations on fear and fraud, and sharp observations of the healthy. But much of the book—and the book’s force—lies in the patient’s flailing search for a language to match his suffering.” —The New Yorker
Alphonse Daudet was born in Nîmes, France, in 1840. Novelist, playwright, and journalist, his success came through his novels and stories. He contracted syphilis at the age of seventeen and died at the age of
fifty-seven.

Julian Barnes is the author of nine novels, a book of stories, and a collection of essays. He is the recipient of the Prix Femina, and in 1988 was made an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London.

About

“Pain, you must be everything for me. Let me find in you all those foreign lands you will not let me visit.” —Alphonse Daudet
 
In the Land of Pain—Alphonse Daudet’s poignant, humorous, and piercing reflections on his years of enduring severe illness—is a classic in the literary annals of human suffering.

Daudet (1840–1897) was a greatly admired writer during his lifetime, praised by Dickens and Henry James. In the prime of his life, he developed an agonizing nerve disease caused by syphilis and began taking notes about his experience, published posthumously as In the Land of Pain. Daudet wrote in powerful, unflinching images about his excruciating symptoms, his fears, his desperate attempts at treatment, and the effects of the morphine he came to depend on. His novelist’s eye and sense of humor did not desert him as he observed the bizarre society of his fellow patients at curative spas, nor did his generosity and compassion for them and for his friends and family. In Julian Barnes’s crystalline translation, Daudet’s notes comprise a record—at once shattering, haunting, and beguiling—of both the banal and the transformative realities of physical suffering.

“Startling . . . splendid. . . . Daudet provides the pain in images that . . . have rarely been equaled; and in words that turn wit to its true task of assaying the dark.” —The New York Times Book Review

“These are [Daudet’s] notes from underground. They include . . . ruminations on fear and fraud, and sharp observations of the healthy. But much of the book—and the book’s force—lies in the patient’s flailing search for a language to match his suffering.” —The New Yorker

Author

Alphonse Daudet was born in Nîmes, France, in 1840. Novelist, playwright, and journalist, his success came through his novels and stories. He contracted syphilis at the age of seventeen and died at the age of
fifty-seven.

Julian Barnes is the author of nine novels, a book of stories, and a collection of essays. He is the recipient of the Prix Femina, and in 1988 was made an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London.

Books for Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Every May we celebrate the rich history and culture of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Browse a curated selection of fiction and nonfiction books by AANHPI creators that we think your students will love. Find our full collection of titles for Higher Education here.

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