A Review of History of Violence


Alice Horne


Though far from perfect, Lorin Stein’s translation of Édouard Louis’ second novel, History of Violence, is certainly compelling. Read as a “crossing” between languages, the translation can never be a “faithful” equivalent, but it can (and does) allow an Anglophone reader to experience the brutal honesty and raw emotion of Louis’ original.


Author Biography

Alice Horne, Birkbeck, University of London

I have a degree in English and Related Literature from the University of York and am currently studying French at Birkbeck. I am also an editor and writer.


  1. Bellos, David, ‘Sameness, Likeness and Match: Truths About Translation’, in Is That a Fish in Your Ear? (London: Penguin Books, 2012), pp. 332-336
  2. Briggs, Kate, This Little Art (London: Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017)
  3. Cain, Sian, and Édouard Louis, ‘Fact or Fiction: Autobiographical Novels with Édouard Louis’, Guardian Books Podcast, 28 February 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2017/feb/28/fact-or-fiction-autobiographical-novels-edouard-louis-books-podcast [accessed 3 June 2018]
  4. Chrisafis, Angelique, ‘Édouard Louis: “I want to be a writer of violence. The more you talk about it, the more you can undo it”’, Guardian, 9 June 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/09/edouard-louis-i-want-to-be-a-writer-of-violence-the-more-you-talk-about-it-the-more-you-can-undo-it/ [accessed 10 June 2018]
  5. Delistraty, Cody, ‘Can Lorin Stein Translate Michel Houellebecq Into a Great Writer?’, Slate, 16 October 2015, http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2015/10/16/michel_houellebecq_a_writer_who_benefits_from_translation.html?via=gdpr-consent [accessed 3 June 2018]
  6. Houellebecq, Michel, Submission, trans. by Lorin Stein (London: William Heinemann, 2015)
  7. Louis, Édouard, En Finir avec Eddy Belleguele (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2014)
  8. ———, Histoire de la Violence (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2016)
  9. ———, History of Violence, trans. by Lorin Stein (London: Harvill Secker, 2018)
  10. ———, The End of Eddy, trans. by Michael Lucey (London: Harvill Secker, 2017)