From the publisher:
The secret history of novelists is often a history of exile and tourism – a history of language learning. Like the story of Gustave Flaubert and Juliet Herbert, it is a history of loss and mistakes. As Flaubert finished Madame Bovary, Miss Herbert, his niece’s governess, translated the novel into English. But this translation has since been lost. Miss Herbert provides a map to the imaginary country shared between writers and readers. For translation, and emigration, is the way into a new history of the novel. We assume that we can read novels in translation. We also assume that style does not translate. But the history of the novel is the history of style. Miss Herbert explores the solutions to this conundrum. This book demonstrates a new way of reading internationally – complete with maps, illustrations, and helpful diagrams. And it includes a slim appendix: ‘Mademoiselle O’, a story by Vladimir Nabokov, which he worked on in three languages, over thirty years, and whose original French version is now translated into English by Adam Thirlwell.