Author(s): Georges Bernanos
One of the great mavericks of French literature, Georges Bernanos combined raw realism with a spiritual focus of visionary intensity. Mouchette stands with his celebrated Diary of a Country Priest as the perfection of his singular art. "Nothing but a little savage" is how the village school-teacher describes fourteen-year-old Mouchette, and that view is echoed by every right-thinking local citizen. Mouchette herself doesn't bother to contradict it; ragged, foulmouthed, dirt-poor, a born liar and loser, she knows herself to be, in the words of the story, "alone, completely alone, against everyone." Hers is a tale of "tragic solitude" in which despair and salvation appear to be inextricably intertwined. Bernanos uncompromising genius was a powerful inspiration to Flannery O'Connor, and Mouchette was the source of a celebrated movie by Robert Bresson.
GEORGE BERNANOS (1888-1948) was born in Paris and studied for his license in law and literature at the University of Paris. He was the author of many novels , including Diary of a Country Priest, which, like Mouchette, was adapted for film by Robert Bresson. His Dialogues des Carmelites was used by composer Francois Poulenc as the libretto for the opera of the same title. FANNY HOWE was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and moved to California to attend Stanford University when she was seventeen. She has published several books of poetry and fiction and a collection of essays called The Wedding Dress. She is Professor Emeritus of American Literature and Writing at the University of California, San Diego.