ArtView May 2015 - Page 66

This project from Eagle Books is bringing new life to a classic work by Jules Verne – the first English translation of Michel Strogoff to appear in over a century. As a French-speaking child living in both Australia and France, Jules Verne's great adventure novel Mikhail Strogoff (published in French as Michel Strogoff)was my favourite book in the world when I was around 12. (The photo included below is of the edition I read as a child, which I still own). The book was enormously influential on me, both as a reader and a writer, leading to a lifelong fascination with Russia and a lifelong love of both reading and writing adventure fiction too. I've re-read the book many times over since then and love it just as much. But it always frustrated me that when I mentioned it to English-language friends, they had never heard of it, because the only English translation had been done back when the original French edition was first published and it was stodgy, slow and dated-it actually did not capture the liveliness and freshness of the French original, as 19th century popular French novels are much more 'immediate', pacey and less densely wordy than was the prevailing literary taste in 19th century English-language novels. I had toyed with the idea of a translation myself but other books got in the way--and then one day I met the wonderful translator and writer Stephanie Smee, who had just translated the works of another great classic French author, the Countess de Ségur, another childhood favourite of mine. Stephanie's translations of the Countess' books captured perfectly the brightness and verve of the Countess' works and I mentioned to her, very hopefully, Michel Strogoff! Stephanie hadn't read the book but immediately went and got it (in the original French edition), loved it, and began the work of translating it. And that's when we stepped in and offered for it to be the launch title in a new imprint we were planning! We are so absolutely thrilled that she agreed. - Sophie Masson From Eagle Books: We are thrilled that Stephanie's translation of Jules Verne's Mikhail Strogoff will be the launch title for Eagle Books in 2016 and to mark and celebrate this major publishing event, we are looking for your support to help fund the production of a beautiful limited edition of the novel, released in early 2016, well before general commercial publication. This exclusive collectible edition will be limited to 750 hand-numbered copies, with internal pages of soft cream paper, and each chapter featuring a delicate black and white illustration by artist David Allan. The cover will feature a full colour illustration by David Allan, set into high-quality textured red hardback binding, and the book will feature other special elements, such as coloured end-papers, a satin bookmark, and gold foil detail on front, spine and on book block edges. This beautiful book will be available to Australian and New Zealand contributors for a pledge of AUD $55, postage included, and to all other international supporters for AUD $75, postage included. There are also many other levels of support, from $10 to $1000, and some truly fantastic perks for