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Ariane, A Russian Girl

Ariane, A Russian Girl

by Claude Anet, translated from the French by Mitchell Abidor

Regular price $15.95
Regular price Sale price $15.95

“Men speak freely of the women they’ve had, and we’re condemned to silence. Why? Aren’t we as free as you? Don’t we, like you, have the right to take pleasure wherever we find it? . . . They praise seducers in art, poetry, and literature and put a mask of infamy on any woman who’s had many lovers. This is the point where the fight must be fought. Women’s morality must triumph, and that’s what I’m working at . . .”

Thus Ariane, unconventional, irrepressible, and irresistible, at seventeen the queen bee of the provincial Russian town where, after her mother’s early demise, she lives with her freethinking aunt. But Ariane is tired of breaking hearts in the sticks. Her father may wish to marry her off, but she means to go to the university in Moscow, and she will do whatever it takes to make her way the way she likes.

In Moscow, Ariane is in her element. She loves the glamour of the big city. She’s undaunted by its dangers. Before long, she meets Constantin Michel, businessman, man of the world, man-about-town. A new struggle begins. The inspiration for Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon, Ariane has the perverse glitter of Nabokov and the disabused curiosity and keen emotional intelligence of Colette. It is a brilliant exploration—engrossing, unnerving, comic, and cunning—of the matchless cruelty of desire.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681377100
Pages: 176
Publication Date:


When the eponymous heroine of Claude Anet’s provocative 1920 novel “Ariane: A Russian Girl” makes the case for a woman’s right to licentiousness, her argument still crackles…She intends to fight sexism more intimately — between the sheets, and in dialogue with her lover.
—Gemma Sieff, The New York Times Book Review

The beauty of literary love is that one can take it as a further exploration of one’s consciousness and sexuality…Ariane feeds that need, and this page-turner of a small novel can be a wonderful love in the afternoon.
—Tosh Berman

By turns passionate, callous and not a little unnerving, Ariane is an astonishingly fresh object lesson in the perils of permissive morality, one that time and again invokes the reader’s own assumptions and prejudices, only to confound them....Ariane was one of the first truly international bestsellers of the 20th century, and it isn’t hard to see why. Now revived vigorously and credibly in English by the translator Mitchell Abidor, this exquisite novella will speak to new audiences, who will, I suspect, marvel at how little things have changed in more than a century.
—Bryan Karetnyk, The Spectator

Ariane is a rich study of the workings of passion and love’s foundational misunderstandings, which lead us to love fantasies instead of human beings. It’s also an investigation into the durability of feeling. To make it last, don’t we have to hide ourselves and play a part?
—Hervé Bel, ActuaLitté

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