Translated by Sophie Lewis
Postface by Carlo Jansiti

Published: 1 March 2012
ISBN: 9780956808219
ISBN Kindle: 9780956808264 (£5.14)
ISBN Epub: 9780956808271 (£5.14)
140 pages

Price: £13.99

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Charged with metaphors, alternating with precise descriptions of sensations and human relationships, Thérèse and Isabelle was censored by its publisher in France in 1954, first published in a truncated version in 1966 and not until 2000 in its uncensored edition, as Violette Leduc intended.

“I’m trying to express as exactly, as minutely as possible the sensations of physical love. There’s something here that a woman can understand. I hope this won’t appear more scandalous than the thoughts of Molly Bloom at the end of Joyce’s Ulysses. Every sincere psychological analysis deserves to be heard, I think.”
Violette Leduc

For the first time in a new English translation, here is the unabridged text of Thérèse and Isabelle.

“It is a mystery as to why Violette Leduc doesn’t receive more accolades”

“With so much to recommend Leduc’s work, it is a mystery as to why she doesn’t receive more accolades. Perhaps it is due to Leduc’s trademark forthright style; as de Beauvoir commented in her foreword to Leduc’s most well-known work, La Bâtarde, “she doesn’t please; in fact, she alarms people”. Violette Leduc deserves to be reclaimed and enjoyed by a new generation of readers; these are lesbian classics, patiently waiting to be re-discovered.”

Sarah Cope, DIVA magazine

“Violette’s prose, hirsute and grating as always, throws itself into faces more spiritedly than today’s provocateurs, and above all more authentically. The reticence and languor of Thérèse and Isabelle renews an erotic tradition that today has become banal.”


“Perhaps her most sulphurous novel. But who’s better at describing the first innocence of desire, the beauty of clandestine and shared love, the force of female tenderness?”

Matricule des Anges

“This unabridged version restores, breathless, the intimate crescendo of an erotic journey, the murmur of each emotion. A woman’s body discovers sensuality under the pen of a writer who’s given her flesh to her writing.”

Magazine Littéraire

“Thérèse and Isabelle is written with unflinching sincerity and Leduc’s progressive attitude and experimental style confirm it as one of the greatest examples of French-language erotic literature.”

Olivia Heal, TLS

“But if the uncensored Thérèse and Isabelle reads like a fever-dream, to many it represents a long-awaited panacea.”

Thea Lenarduzzi, Literary Review

“So here we have extraordinary writing about sex; and, more importantly, about love, and the way it makes us feel.”

Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

“Thunderbolts of illicit love. A classy new translation of Leduc’s masterpiece on the tyranny of love.”


“Reading Leduc is like discovering a whole new nervous system.”

Deborah Levy

“Lesbian story ban is lifted.”