The great 19th century French writer Jules Verne(1828–1905) was a literary superstar in his day and even today is an extremely popular author all over the world, with such titles as Around the World in Eighty Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, and so on, still read globally and there have been many films and TV series based on his work. His novels have not only inspired generations of readers and film-makers, but also scientists, technologists, explorers and inventors, all over the world.
Jules Verne is the second most translated author in the world–after Agatha Christie and before William Shakespeare, and his works appear in more translations per year than any other author. Yet, ask any English-speaking reader, child or adult, whether they have even heard of Jules Verne’s Michel Strogoff (as it is known in French) and the answer will almost certainly be no!
This is no doubt due to the fact that after its initial translation into English in 1876 at the same time as its publication in French, subsequent editions published in English (and there are only a few) appear to consist of edited and/or abridged versions of this original nineteenth century translation, and they are often stodgy and dated.
And yet in France, Michel Strogoff is considered not only to be one of the world’s greatest adventure novels, never out of print and inspiring generations of readers, it is also considered to be Verne’s best novel, full stop. Lively, gripping, with vivid characters, a cracking pace,a richly-depicted Russian setting, and deft touches of humour, this exciting chase novel, originally published in Jules Verne’s fiction series, ‘Extraordinary Voyages’ deserves to be reintroduced to English-speaking readers. And who better to capture the lively spirit of the original than the distinguished translator Stephanie Smee!
Stephanie is a translator into English of all things literary and French.
Her other languages include German, Italian and Swedish.
Having worked as a lawyer in Sydney and London, Stephanie happily traded in a legal career for a return to her linguistic calling. After several years as a legal translator, she left the world of pleadings and contractual documents behind and made her literary translation début with a bestselling new English translation of 19th century Russian-French children’s author, the Countess de Ségur’s Fleurville Trilogy published by Simon & Schuster (Australia) in 2010.
The Trilogy includes the perennially popular Sophie’s Misfortunes, Camille and Madeleine: A Tale of Two Perfect Little Girls and The Holidays.
Stephanie’s subsequent translations of the Countess’ works – also published by Simon & Schuster (Australia) – include the wonderfully cheeky Monsieur Cadichon: Memoirs of a Donkey (2011) and A Room at Guardian Angel Inn (2012) and its sequel, General Dourakine (2013).
Stephanie’s wonderful new translation of Jules Verne’s epic historical adventure novel set in pre-revolutionary Russia, Mikhail Strogoff, will thrill Verne fans of all ages. First published in 1876 as Michel Strogoff: Moscou-Irkoutsk, it hasn’t seen a new English translation for over a hundred years.
Other translating projects of Stephanie’s include an ongoing interest in 19th century French culinary writings, the musings of Alexandre Dumas on the work of Delacroix and other wonderful literature emerging from France, be it YA, bande dessinée or a Goncourt prize-winning work!
Stephanie lives with her husband, Paul, and two children in Sydney.
Her website is www.stephaniesmee.com
SOPHIE MASSON, AUTHOR OF JACK OF SPADES
Born in Indonesia to French parents and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the award-winning and internationally-published author of over 60 books, for children, young adults and adults.
Author site: www.sophiemasson.org