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The Devil In The Flesh

Raymond Radiguet

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“Unretouched and seems shocking, but nothing so resembles cynicism as clairvoyance. No adolescent before Radiguet has delivered to us the secret of that age: we have all falsified it.”

—François Mauriac

The tragic and complicated French romance about a teenage boy who seduces the wife of a soldier during World War I—and one of the most startling literary debuts of all time

A Penguin Classic

As the First World War reaches its final year, an illicit love affair is beginning between a sixteen-year-old boy and a young woman who is married to a soldier at the front. They meet secretly in her flat on the outskirts of Paris, in cornfields and on river banks. When she receives letters from her husband, they burn them together. Intoxicated by passion, they cannot bear to end their affair, even when it causes a scandal among their friends and neighbours. Instead, they can only hurtle towards tragedy.

Written in spare, haunting prose when Raymond Radiguet was still a teenager, and loosely based on his life, The Devil in the Flesh became an instant bestseller and its author was hailed as a genius, before dying tragically at the age of twenty. It is a work of startling imagery and subtle beauty about power, betrayal, and passion that expresses all the anguish and joy of adolescence.

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