Joy of Man's Desiring

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"Peasant civilization possesses as a gift human qualities which philosophical civilizations spend centuries first defining, then desiring, and finally losing." ?Jean Giono
A true forebear of magical realism, French author Jean Giono created men and women rooted in the folklore of provincial France. In this beautiful new edition of the original Que Ma Joie Demeure?literally, That My Joy Remain?he tells the tale of a farmer couple in Haute Provence who find that the spark has somehow gone missing from their lives....
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Overview


"Peasant civilization possesses as a gift human qualities which philosophical civilizations spend centuries first defining, then desiring, and finally losing." —Jean Giono
A true forebear of magical realism, French author Jean Giono created men and women rooted in the folklore of provincial France. In this beautiful new edition of the original Que Ma Joie Demeure—literally, That My Joy Remain—he tells the tale of a farmer couple in Haute Provence who find that the spark has somehow gone missing from their lives. One day, a stranger arrives who helps them discover how to rekindle their connection. The stranger tells them, "Youth is neither strength, nor a supple body, nor even youth as you conceive of it. Rather, youth is the passion for the impractical, the useless." The couple, with this guidance from the stranger, include friends and neighbors on their journey back to individual and collective happiness. They plant fields of flowers, a meadow of grain just for the birds, and they set their horses free. With a poet’s grace and imagination, Giono weaves a grand story of the earth and of passion, of men and women, animals and weather, of the magic we now call the "laws of nature."

A poet's imagination and a love of nature enhance this pastoral novel of peasant life in the French countryside.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Giono's work is what every sensitive, full-blooded individual ought to be able to recognize at once as the song of the world.'...The philosophy behind this symphonic production has no name: its function is to liberate, to keep open all the sluices of the soul, to encourage speculation, adventure, and passionate worship." —Henry Miller

“Giono’s sensuous eye for detail, his fine insight into human behavior and the scope and resonance of his language transform every landscape, every encounter between his characters, into an intimate, almost physical experience.” —The New York Times Book Review

“One of the twentieth century’s greatest and wisest novels.” —The Nation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582435657
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 3/16/2010
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The book is an easy and fast read. If you can read French, I suggest you read the original.

    Joy of Man's Desiring (Que ma Joie Demeure) by Jean Giono. Translated by Katherine Allen Clark

    Jourdan is an old man. He's been married to Marthe for a long time and they never had children. They are farmers in Haute Provence. They had lost all joy. Jourdan was hoping for "someone" to come and help them. One night, he starts plowing his fields--as it starts raining he goes on and on--because he can "feel" his presence. Thus, Bobi enters their life.

    Bobi is a wanderer, and he has a "magical" effect on weather, animals, and people. That night Marthe and Jourdan feel the desire they had lost and make love.

    The first thing Bobi does for the community is give their wheat to the birds. Then he convinces Jourdan to plant narcissi instead of wheat because they will give him joy. ".It would be you who would seek joy for all of them."

    Then Bobi leaves for a month and returns with a stag, The community is then tasked to find does for the stag. Bobi creates a community from all the people in the valley, where the needs of one are the needs of everyone. "The wheat.they always say is the main thing. No, it isn't.That is just the point..it is exactly like the air you breathe.We use to use wheat as we use air..like something without value, like air. "

    Bobi helps them rekindle their connection as a community: "Youth.is joy. for the impractical, the useless." And youth is neither strength, nor supple body, nor youth as you conceive of it. Rather, youth is the passion for the impractical, the useless."

    Jourdan's farm is La Jourdane and it is situated in The Jourdan Plateau. Soon Bobi is introduced to all their neighbors: The Maple Tree Farm-Randoulet, Honorine, Zulma and Le Noir. Mouilles: Jaques, Madame Carle, and their son. Maurices Place: Jacqou, Josephine, Honoré, and Barbe. And Fra Josephine Farm: Héléne and Aurora.

    Joy of Man's Desiring is the story of this couple aided by a stranger, and how they involve their friends and neighbors on the journey back to the individual and collective happiness.

    Using magical realism and poetry, Giono weaves a story of the earth, passion, of men and women, of animals, and weather. Of the magic we call the "laws of nature."

    The book is an easy and fast read. If you can read French, I suggest you read the original.

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