Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Jane Eyre in French

Jon Lindseth writes:

I am compiling a census of two Bruxelles 1849 adaptation editions of Jane Eyre in French language. If any one knows of any copy other than those listed below, please let me know.

1. The first is: Jane Eyre. Bruxelles: Alp. Lebegue, imprimeur-editor. 1849. Translated by “O.N.” (Old-Nick; i.e. P. E. Durand-Forgues.) 2 v in 1. This is an adaptation of pp143;104.  It is discussed by Emile Langlois in Brontë Society Transactions Part 81, No.1 of Volume 16, 1971. It is shown in one copy on COPAC, that at Cambridge and in three copies on OCLC, at Cambridge, Princeton and Leiden University.

2. The second is: Jane Eyre. Bruxelles: Meline, Cans et Compagnie. 1849. No translator listed but now known to be the same Durand-Forgues as in book (1) above. 2 v. Pp [iv] + 269; [iv] + 284. In 27 chapters.  Not discussed by Langlois or listed in any Brontë bibliography. No copy in COPAC or OCLC. I have a copy which so far is the only one located.

Neither book shows in American Book Prices Current (ABPC online) for recorded auctions since 1978, or on Artfact or Jahrbuch der Auktionspreise.

The Bodleian has not posted their pre-1920 books on COPAC but a check of their catalogue shows they have no Jane Eyre editions, Bruxelles, 1849. The British Library has neither edition. Bibliotheque royale de Belgique and the Belgian Union Catalogue have neither. Bibliotheque nationale de France and the French Union Catalogue locate neither edition. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the national library of the Netherlands, confirms they have neither edition; their search of the Dutch Union Catalog confirms that only Leiden University holds the Alp. Lebegue adaptation edition and the Meline edition is not found.

My speculation is that other copies will turn up in personal Brontë or Victorian woman writer collections or library shelves of people who have inherited books and don’t know the significance of what they have.

If you know of other copies of either edition, please contact me at

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