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Showing posts from October, 2014

Ceux de 14 - the critics speak!

With the first episodes of Ceux de 14 having been broadcast on France 3 earlier this week, the critics have now had their say.
Télé-Loisirs: 'a good reconstruction of war', but overall the cast 'was rather wooden'; on the other hand Théo Frilet, as Genevoix was 'convincing'. Overall: Very Good
Télé 2 Semaines: 'convincing casting', but also thought they were 'rather wooden'. Overall: Quite Good
Télé Z: 'we lived, suffered and wept with these soldiers serving during the Great War'. Overall: Excellent
Télé Poche: 'faithful to the original book'. Overall: Good
TV Grandes Chaines: 'a bold production' with 'convincing actors'. Overall: Very Good.
Télé 7 Jours: 'the series is a noteworthy tribute to a generation that was sacrificed', played by 'outstanding actors'. Overall: Good
Télé Star: Overall: Good
So ... 'could be better' by the sound of things; but likewise, could be a lot worse (and we've s…

A new project: Charles Delvert

As Kings of the Air winds down to a conclusion (page proof checking and indexing going on as we speak ... er, type ... er, wotevva), a new project appears on the horizon, once again with those nice people at Pen & Sword.

My new project is the first translation into English of the Great War memoirs of Charles Delvert, Carnets d'un fantassin (An Infantryman's Diary).

Over the next weeks and months, rather than publish extracts hot from the translations face, I'll use the blog to explore Delvert's world, that of his regiment (the 101st Infantry), and the battles in which it took part, using war diaries and other contemporary material. Although I might use the occasional translation, just as a taster!

All this and a new look for the blog pages. It's all go here at Sumner Towers!

Ceux de 14 reaches the screen

In a previous post, I mentioned that preparations were under way to adapt Maurice Genevoix's novel Ceux de 14 for television. The novel has now been adapted into six 52-minute episodes, the first of which is to be broadcast on France 3 on 28 October. Those of us who cannot receive France 3 will have to wait until it appears on TV5 Monde (channel 796 on your Sky box, but Freeview watchers are doomed to disappointment). The good news is that it starts on 3 November at 1835 (other times in other continents), according to TV5's website.
The French Allociné site tries to tempt you with the idea that the series will be a French Band of Brothers. In the way of internet comments section everywhere, a number of public comments laugh at the idea - whoever heard of positive comments on a webpage?

Certainly, the novel relies on a single point of view - it's Genevoix who tells the story - rather than the multiple points of the US series, so the two are not directly comparable. The foot…

Here we are, here we are, here we are again!

After an unconscionable lay-off, it may be time to resuscitate this blog.

Although it may not be universally popular

Since June:  The proofs (not quite galley-proofs, but a manuscript produced from my computer file) of my most recent book, Kings of the Air: French aces and airmen of the Great War, came, got checked, and were then sent back. I'm now waiting for the page proofs. Once those are returned then it's full steam ahead for publication sometime in the New Year.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, I wandered into the bookshop in the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna, to find some of my previous books on sale, but translated into Czech. Well, I never.

No, never. Not even once. They spelled my forename wrong with the French Army book, as Jan rather than Ian, but that's OK, because my Czech is non-existant.

I should be able to get back on something approaching my old weekly schedule for next week, with updates of previous posts, and news of a new project. And, …