Anne Golon

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Anne Golon (born 17 December 1921, Toulon, Var) is a French author, better known to English-speaking readers as Sergeanne Golon. She has written a series of novels about a heroine Angelique.

Born Simone Changeux in Toulon, a port in south-eastern France, was the daughter of Pierre Changeux, a scientist and a captain in the French Navy. She was interested in painting and writing from early childhood and published her first novel, The Country from behind my Eyes, when she was 18 under the pen name Joëlle Danterne. During World War II she travelled via bicycle through France to Spain. She wrote using different pen-names, helped to create France Magazine, and was awarded a literary prize for The Patrol of the Saint Innocents.

She was sent to Africa as a journalist, where she met Vsevolod Sergeïvich Goloubinoff, her future husband, Serge Golon. They collaborated on Angélique, Marquise of the Angels (1956), the first book in the series. The book was an overnight success. When originally published in France, the books were credited to Serge and Anne Golon, Anne being the author and husband Serge having done much of the historical research. The two names were merged into Sergeanne Golon by the British publishers when the books were translated.

The popularity of the books led to two films made in 1964 by Bernard Borderie. The actress Michèle Mercier played Angelique, and Robert Hossein played her husband, Joffrey de Peyrac.

In 1972, Anne and Serge Golon went to Canada to continue their research. That year, as Anne wrote Angélique and the Ghosts, Serge died.

Anne carried on writing and brought up her four children at the same time. Between Serge's death and 1985, Anne wrote four more volumes, beginning with the second half of Ghosts (both portions published in French as a single volume, Angelique in Quebec) and proceeding through Angélique's Victory. Anne Golon was reduced to a state close to poverty and filed a lawsuit against the French publisher Hachette for abuse of copyright and for her unpaid royalties. She won her battle over the publishing rights to her Angélique stories. After a legal battle in France lasting nearly a decade, she reached an agreement which left her the sole owner of the works.

  • Angélique, the Marquise of the Angels
  • Angélique: The Road to Versailles (published in the US and the UK with the first volume, simply as Angélique)
  • Angélique and the King
  • Angélique and the Sultan (alternative title, Angélique in Barbary)
  • Angélique in Revolt
  • Angélique in Love
  • The Countess Angélique
  • The Temptation of Angélique (in Canada, The Temptation of Angélique 1: The Jesuit Trap and The Temptation of Angélique 2: The Downfall of Goldbeard)
  • Angélique and the Demon
  • Angélique and the Ghosts

The novels are primarily set in the time of Louis XIV in France, although some books are set in Morocco or the new lands of Colonial North America.

Conclusion of the series[edit]

The English translation of this series stopped abruptly with Angélique and the Ghosts, a poor translation for the original title Angélique et Complot des Ombres, better rendered as "Conspiracy of Shadows." Anglophone readers have been puzzled that Ghosts is such a slim volume in comparison to its hefty predecessors, Countess, Temptation, and Demon.

Anne Golon informed Anglophone fans who located her via the internet that Angelique and the Ghosts was meant to be Part I of a greater volume to be titled Angélique à Quebec ("Angelique in Quebec"). The final paragraph of Ghosts depicts Joffrey and Angélique Peyrac, recently reunited as the Count and Countess of Toulouse, stepping out from their ship's gangplank to make their triumphal entry into Quebec. Then — nothing. The English-language version of the book concludes there, though the version published in French as Angelique in Quebec is complete, and includes the events which took place in Quebec after they debarked.

Curious and confused, English-reading fans attempted to discover what had happened to the author and whether or not any further books had been written. The popularization of the internet in the early years of the twenty-first century finally helped put Anne Golon in touch with the Anglophone fanbase she did not realize existed. Those fans thus learned that as of August, 2009, there were three as-yet-untranslated books already published in the series:

  • Angélique à Quebec
  • Angélique: Route de L'Espoir
  • Victoire d'Angélique

Golon also announced two more books will follow those three: Royaume de France, ("Kingdom of France") to follow Victoire, and a fifteenth and final volume, as yet untitled, to complete the series.

In the meantime, Anne Golon, as well as writing the conclusion of the series, is also re-publishing the earlier books, restoring the lacunae missing from her original manuscripts because of professional editing. She plans to title this version L'Integrale [complete works] and is approaching the re-write of the eighth book. That reaches the end of the book known as Angélique and the King, which was the second or third book, depending on which version of the series is enumerated. According to Golon, there is much material that has never been published and which will tie into the later, and still unwritten, books in the series.

English readers have waited over thirty-five years to read the conclusion of the series. Some polyglot fans have read the books either in French or other non-English languages and have complained that there are significant anomalies in the translation and editing of the books. Key points are missing and there are characters completely unknown in the English versions. One of these, a man called L'Audiger, figured heavily in the French version Angélique In Revolt, but is entirely absent in the English version.

The three untranslated books are set in the New World with the occasional glimpse of what was happening in the Old World in the Court of Louis XIV. The locales include several territories in the province of Quebec and its major cities of Montreal and Quebec, Salem in New England, and the provinces and territories of New France. There is a wealth of factual historical information on the lifestyle of the early European settlers and their interaction with the indigenous Native Americans. The tribes, whether war-making or peaceful, are treated by Golon with the same respect which made the earlier books in the series so remarkable for their time of publication. The realistic depiction of the power of the Jesuits to bring their Old World influence to bear on the New continues to drive the narrative thread from book to book.

See also[edit]

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