Isabelle de Montolieu reads Jane Austen’s Fictional Minds

The First French Translations of Free Indirect Discourse from Jane Austen’s "Persuasion</I>

by Adam Russell (Author)
©2012 Thesis 249 Pages


The hallmark technique of Jane Austen’s mature writing – known as free indirect discourse (FID) – is responsible for what has become known as the «inward interest» of Austen’s writing. In Persuasion, FID is used extensively to represent the complex life of the heroine’s mind as she converses with herself. Austen’s posthumously published «late» novel Persuasion was first translated into French in 1821 by Isabelle de Montolieu as La Famille Elliot, ou l’ancienne inclination. The present study focuses on the question of how Montolieu handled FID in her French translation: At the time she was translating Persuasion into French, FID did not exist as a formal grammatical category. Neither did Montolieu have the possibility of seeking a model in the works of Flaubert – whose own extensive and innovative use of FID is comparable to Austen’s – as he was writing much later in the century.
Previous translation studies have completely ignored this very crucial aspect of this translation. The author adopts a cross-disciplinary approach encompassing the history of publication, Jane Austen studies, translation studies, and narratology. This book tests the applicability of the conceptual framework of narratology within the field of Translation Studies. The author identifies key analytical concepts from the field of narratology and applies them to Montolieu’s translation with the aim of revealing what happened to Austen’s FID when Persuasion was first translated into French.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2012 (February)
19th Century French Literature General Studies in French Literature Language
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 249 pp., num. tables

Biographical notes

Adam Russell (Author)

Adam Russell holds a PhD in French and Comparative Literature from the Universities of Paris IV and Melbourne. Currently, he is an associate lecturer in French in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Tasmania. Previously, he worked as a reader in English language and literature at the Lycees Henri IV and Louis-le-Grand in Paris. He received a BA and an MA from the University of Paris IV - Sorbonne, before undertaking doctoral studies there. His recent publications include articles on the use of free indirect discourse in Montolieu’s La Famille Elliot in journals such as Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal and the New Zealand Journal of French Studies.


Title: Isabelle de Montolieu reads Jane Austen’s Fictional Minds