Dans la passion, c’est le rêve qui compte

French writer and literature professor Annie Ernaux was born on September 1, 1940 in Normandy. Her family background was very modest and she studied at the University of Rouen. After graduation, she began to teach and then set up a distance education program. She published her first book in 1974 with an autobiographical novel and won a major literary prize, le Prix Renaudot, a decade later for another autobiographical work. Another book, Les Années, that covers the post-war years to the modern day, won four major awards when it was published in 2008. In fact, she’s become so important in her own right that there’s now a Prix Annie Ernaux.

Français : Annie Ernaux à la 30e Foire du livr...

Nothing is off bounds in her autobiographical fiction that mixes elements from her life with historical events. Ernaux has discussed her parents, marriage, sex life, her bout with breast cancer, her mother’s Alzheimer’s and death. Her writing style is spare and unornamented, drawn from her roots as a working-class girl from a town in Normandy.

Today’s expression, “Dans la passion, c’est le rêve qui compte” (dahn lah pass-e-ohn seh luh rev key cohmt) is an Annie Ernaux quotation. It means, “In passion, it’s the dream that counts.” Apparently, that little girl who lived above her parents’ shop did a lot of dreaming.

A Woman’s Story

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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2 Responses to Dans la passion, c’est le rêve qui compte

  1. theinkbrain says:

    Sounds very intriguing. I read the Amazon description of her book, and it is now in my shopping cart. Of course I expect much will be lost in the translation.
    Normandy in general and Rouen in particular has always resonated for me, because of Joan of Arc. Also my ancestors through the maternal line (mother’s mother’s mother’s father’s father’s father) were from there.

    • I hope you enjoy it. I find the relationship between environment and an author’s style often adds another dimension to reading. Normandy is wonderful, isn’t it? If, when, I ever get to move to France full-time, my hardest decision will be where to settle, as I love so many different regions.

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