Read A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert in French

In Interlinear, the French text is followed by an English translation below each word or phrase.

How the Interlinear translation method works
How the Interlinear translation method works, vertical display

Interlinear is like subtitles for books…

Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps
Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps
More about Interlinear

What is A Simple Heart about?

A Simple Heart (Un cœur simple) is a work of classical French literature. It combines realistic depictions of simple, powerless characters with themes of suffering and loss.

Interlinear books work on multiple device types

Gustave Flaubert's most famous story after Madame Bovary!

Gustave Flaubert was a 19th century French writer, the author of Madame Bovary. Flaubert wrote realistic and romantic fiction, and was known for his perfectionism: he allegedly sometimes spent weeks looking for the right word (“le mot juste”). Flaubert also guided and taught Guy de Maupassant, and influenced generations of future authors, ranging from Kafka and Vargas Llosa to Nabokov and Sartre.

How was this French translation made?

Literal but understandable

We translate words one by one and literally with just one exception: where a literal translation impairs understanding. See this phrase:

Ce This
fut was
même actually
toute entire
son her
éducation education
littéraire. literary.

The natural English word order would be somewhat different, probably closer to "Actually, this was her entire literary education." but the phrase still is perfectly understandable even in the different English word order, thus we translated it very literaly. However, this would be much harder to understand:

Elle She
fut was
prise taken
d'un by a
grand great
sanglot. sobbing.

And hence we have chosen a more idiomatic translation:

Elle She
fut prise d'un grand sanglot. had a great sobbing fit.

Embracing cognates

We try to make use of the fact that French and English are similar languages and to use related words whenever possible.

For example, the original text includes the word fidèle. Dictionary and most ordinary translations translate this word as faithful. However, the word fidèle is related to the English word fidelity. English even has the form fidelious, which has now fallen out of use.

However, when realized that this word can still be understood by English speakers and used it when translating the French word fidèle:

Elle She
resta remained
fidèle fidelious
à to
sa her
maîtresse. mistress.

Similarly, we have translated the French word médecin as medic instead of the more usual doctor, probité as probity instead of integrity, profond as profound instead of deep, etc. We hope that this use of cognates will help French learners notice the links between the French and English vocabularies.

This Interlinear book includes:

  • 68 standard-book pages
  • over 10 thousand translated words
  • the original text with aligned Interlinear translations - allows you to comprehend and scrutinize the meaning of Flaubert's meticulously carefully-chosen words
  • a separately available French-only version of the text to get additional practice after having read the text with the Interlinear translation
  • files in the printable or electronically readable PDF format, as well as MOBI and EPUB format files for Kindles and other e-book readers, tablets, and phones - all immediately available to download

Available to order right now.


Other books availablelearn more?

Subscribe for updates on new releases!

Type your e-mail address below to receive our updates about new Interlinear books, discounts and news.