June 16, 2005
Et Jésus pleuré . . .
by Dennis Johnson
“Vanity publishing houses in France have been accused of gross incompetence after apparently failing to recognise the manuscript of one of the greatest French novels — Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert,” reports Adam Sage in a Times of London story. The hoax was perpetrated by editors of one of the country”s leading newspapers, Le Figaro, who “sent a copy of the 19th-century masterpiece to five of France’s biggest vanity publishing companies,” with only the title and names of the lead characters changed. None recognized the novel, although several offered to print 200 to 300 copies for fees ranging from €3,360 ($4,061) to €4,800 ($5,800)
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives