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Désirée (the book)

1953 Morrow Hardcover, Jacket by Barye Phillips During World War II, novelist Annemarie Selinko and her Danish husband fled to Sweden. She worked with the Swedish Red Cross as a German language interpreter, assisting refugees from the concentration camps, who had been brought to Sweden through Count Folke Bernadotte's negotiations with Himmler. She was inspired by one of these refugees to write the story of Désirée Clary.

The book was originally published in 1951 in German, by Kiepenheuer & Witsch, and quickly rose to the best-seller lists around the world. It has been translated into many languages, including English, French, Spanish, Turkish, Greek, and Chinese.

There are at least two different English translations. The American version was published in 1953, by William Morrow and Company, New York. The translator is not identified (at least in the copies I own), however, the publishers acknowledge Joy Gary, for "special assistance... in the preparation of the final American version of this novel." Comparison of this version and the original shows that some sections of the original text were not included.

The translation by Arnold Bender and E. W. Dickes was published in 1954 by the Reprint Society, London. If you're only familiar with the American version, I recommend you seek out this version, as the translation is very different, and the complete text of the book is there.

Early German Edition From the End of Part I:

Original German: Ich bin glücklich. Lieber Gott im Himmel, lieber Lindenbaum unten auf der Strasse, liebe Rosen in der blauen Vase - ich bin so glücklich.
English translation (U.S.): I am happy. Dear Lord in Heaven, dear lime trees outside along the road, dear roses in the blue vase - I am so completely happy.
English translation (London): Happy, happy, oh how happy I am! Let me tell it to all the world, you, God in Heaven, you, lime trees in the street, you, roses in the vase, how happy I am!
French translation: Je suis heureuse, cher Dieu du ciel, cher tilleul dans la rue, sous mes fenętres, chères roses du vase bleu -- comme je suis heureuse!
Hungarian translation: Boldog, boldog, ó, milyen boldog vagyok! Isten az égben, hársfák az utcán, rózsák a vázában, ti tudjátok milyen boldog vagyok! - (thanks to Anette from Budapest, Hungary)
Dutch translation: Ik ben gelukkig. God in de hemel, beste lindeboom beneden op straat, lieve rozen in de blauwe vaas - ik ben gelukkig. - (thanks to Desiree from The Netherlands)
Swedish translation: Jag är lycklig. Käre Gud I himmelen, kära lind nere pĺ gatan, kära rosor I den blĺ vasen – jag är sĺ lycklig.
Italian translation: Sono felice, caro Dio nel cielo, cari alberi di tiglio luno la via, care rose nel vaso blu - completamente felice! - (thanks to Elisabetta from Italy)
Finnish translation: Olen onnellinen. Rakas taivaallinen isä, rakas lehmus alhaalla kadulla, rakkaat ruusut sinisessä maljakossa -- olen niin onnellinen. - (thanks to Anette from Finland)
Do you have a copy of the book in another language? Please contact me! (If you previously sent me a translation and you don't see it here - please send it again.)

Buy the book

October 2002 Phoenix Paperback
When this site began, back in 1997, Désirée was out of print, at least in an English-language edition. Since then, several different English editions have appeared! Please check out our shop. Buy books, videos, CDs, and other items relating to Désirée and her contemporaries from Amazon.com, and help support this site!



Cover Art through the Years and from Around the World

1953 Morrow Hardcover 1954 Cardinal Paperback 1954 Pan Paperback

'First Cheap Edition' - Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons Fontana Paperback - Karen Dotrice as Désirée and Ian Holm as Napoleon, from 1972 miniseries 'Napoleon and Love'

German Hardback Early German Edition German Language edition 1954 Spanish Language Edition Belgian Language Edition

1953 Heinemann Edition, London French language paperback (Vol.1) French language paperback (Vol.2)

1965 Cardinal Paperback British Paperback Fontana Paperback 1978 Avon Paperback

1975 German Language paperback 2000 Kiepenheuer & Witsch Paperback (German Language) 2000 Kiepenheuer & Witsch Paperback (German Language)

German Language paperback German Language paperback 2004 Spanish Language Edition, Entrelibros, Barcelona

October 2002 Phoenix Paperback July 2002 Weidenfeld & Nicholson Paperback 2002 Kiepenheuer & Witsch Hardcover (German Language) Unknown edition German Language

Unknown publisher (German Language) 2002 Kiepenheuer & Witsch Paperback (German Language) - Portrait of Juliette Recamier by Gérard Unidentified edition Turkish Language Edition

German Language Finnish Language Edition 1954 Reprint Society, London 1951 German Language 1956, French language (Vol.1)

Annemarie Selinko

Revised 24 January 2010.
Contents Copyright © 1997 - 2010 by Julie Zetterberg Sardo