A Trip to the Country: By Henriette-Julie De Castelnau, Comtesse De Murat

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Popular with the worldly aristocracy, late seventeenth-century experimental novels like the Countess de Murat's Voyage de campagne (A Trip to the Country) were published in small format, widely circulated, and reprinted more frequently than any other type of fiction both in France and abroad. Murat's hybrid work, built around a humorous frame narrative, details a trip to a pristine country estate taken by seven Parisian aristocrats and contains interpolated examples of the period's most popular literary forms--including seven ghost stories, seven autobiographical anecdotes, one literary fairy tale, one rondeau, two gallant poems, two love letters, and eleven proverb comedies. In this translation of A Trip to the Country, editors Perry Gethner and Allison Stedman present the entire work in the English language for the first time. The editors follow the original 1699 edition as closely as possible to preserve the syntax, word choice, and other lively, readable qualities that were appreciated by the novel's first readers. Modern readers will value the editors' extensive footnotes to the text that offer additional definitions, historical referents, and notes on form and structure. An extensive introduction by Allison Stedman also draws connections between the late seventeenth-century experimental novel and the rise of the literary fairy-tale genre in France to provide a valuable context for students and scholars of the field. Gethner and Stedman offer an accessible and informative translation of A Trip to the Country that will appeal to students and teachers of fairy-tale studies and those interested in the history of French literature.