Like Cezanne's paintings of Provence, the stories in "Green Paradise" are sensuous portraits of the austere beauty of southern France. Drawing their power from an acute attention to the fullness of the natural world-animal, vegetable, and mineral-they evoke both wonder and longing." Green Paradise" is a journey to the heart of nature, where one finds both a terrible aloneness and a mystical union.Originally written in Occitan, the regional language of southern France, these sketches, reminiscences, and folk tales are rooted in an oral tradition and centered on the rural culture of the Languedoc. Fable-like, they capture the point at which the everyday and the particular intersect with the supernatural and the timeless.The Occitan language has a long history. In the middle ages, it was the language of the troubadours. But contemporary Occitan literature has been struggling to emerge from a cultural ghetto in a country frequently hostile to the linguistic autonomy of minorities. Max Rouquette has long been a key player in the promotion and preservation of Occitan culture and literature. A poet, prose writer, and playwright, he is considered the premier writer in Occitan today. His reputation extends beyond France to other European countries, and selections of his work have been translated into German, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, and Hungarian."Green Paradise "is Rouquette's masterpiece. When it appeared in a French-language edition in 1980 it received rave reviews and attracted a great deal of attention, leading to appearances on radio and television programs and coverage in numerous French magazines and newspapers. The work was admired by other writers and intellectuals, including poets Pablo Neruda and Leopold Sedar Senghor, historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, and philosopher Ferdinand Alquie.The present edition, translated directly from the Occitan, preserves the beauty and dignity of the original prose. It provides the first chance for English readers to experience this captivating work.Max Rouquette is a physician and author of many works of prose, poetry, and drama. He continues to live in Montpellier, in the Languedoc region of southern France.William B. MacGregor is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley.