Jules Romains

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Jules Romains
Jules Romains-crop.jpg
Jules Romains, photo taken
by Carl Van Vechten, 1936
BornLouis Henri Jean Farigoule
(1885-08-26)26 August 1885
Saint-Julien-Chapteuil in the Haute-Loire
Died14 August 1972(1972-08-14) (aged 86)
OccupationPoet and writer
Education lycée Condorcet
École normale supérieure
Literary movement Unanimism
Notable awardselected to the Académie française

Signature Envoi Jules Romains.svg

Jules Romains, born Louis Henri Jean Farigoule (26 August 1885 – 14 August 1972), was a French poet and writer and the founder of the Unanimism literary movement. His works include the play Knock ou le Triomphe de la médecine , and a cycle of works called Les Hommes de bonne volonté (Men of Good Will). Sinclair Lewis called him one of the six best novelists in the world. [1]

Unanimism is a movement in French literature begun by Jules Romains in the early 1900s, with his first book, La vie unanime, published in 1904. It can be dated to a sudden conception Romains had in October 1903 of a 'communal spirit' or joint 'psychic life' in groups of people. It is based on ideas of collective consciousness and collective emotion, and on crowd behavior, where members of a group do or think something simultaneously. Unanimism is about an artistic merger with these group phenomena, which transcend the consciousness of the individual. Harry Bergholz writes that "grossly generalizing, one might describe its aim as the art of the psychology of human groups". Because of this collective emphasis, common themes of unanimist writing include politics and friendship.

Knock is a 1923 French satirical play about modern medicine, written by Jules Romains. It was performed for the first time at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris on 15 December 1923 in a production by Louis Jouvet.

Sinclair Lewis American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright

Harry Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, which was awarded "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters." His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American capitalism and materialism between the wars. He is also respected for his strong characterizations of modern working women. H. L. Mencken wrote of him, "[If] there was ever a novelist among us with an authentic call to the trade ... it is this red-haired tornado from the Minnesota wilds." He has been honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a postage stamp in the Great Americans series.


He was nominated for the Nobel prize in literature sixteen times. [2]


Jules Romains was born in Saint-Julien-Chapteuil in the Haute-Loire but went to Paris to attend first the Lycée Condorcet and then the prestigious École Normale Supérieure. He was close to the Abbaye de Créteil, a utopian group founded in 1906 by Charles Vildrac and René Arcos, which brought together, among others, the writer Georges Duhamel, the painter Albert Gleizes and the musician Albert Doyen. He received his agrégation in philosophy in 1909.

Haute-Loire Department of France

Haute-Loire is a department in south-central France named after the Loire River. Haute-Loire is part of the current region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and is surrounded by the departments of Loire, Ardèche, Lozère, Cantal, and Puy-de-Dôme. The inhabitants of the department are called Altiligériens.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Lycée Condorcet school in Paris, France

The Lycée Condorcet is a school founded in 1803 in Paris, France, located at 8, rue du Havre, in the city's 9th arrondissement. Since its inception, various political eras have seen it given a number of different names, but its identity today honors the memory of the Marquis de Condorcet. The school provides secondary education as part of the French education system. Henri Bergson, Horace Finaly, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Marcel Proust, and Paul Verlaine were educated at the Lycée Condorcet.

In the interwar years, he pleaded the cause of pacifism and a united Europe against incipient fascism and despotism. [3] In 1927, he signed a petition (that appeared in the magazine Europe on 15 April) against the law on the general organization of the nation in time of war, abrogating all intellectual independence and all freedom of expression. His name on the petition appeared with those of Lucien Descaves, Louis Guilloux, Henry Poulaille, Séverine... and those of the young Raymond Aron and Jean-Paul Sartre from the École normale supérieure.

Lucien Descaves was a French novelist.

Louis Guilloux French writer

Louis Guilloux was a French writer born in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, where he lived throughout his life. He is known for his Social Realist novels describing working class life and political struggles in the mid-twentieth century. His best-known book is Le Sang noir, which has been described as a "prefiguration of Sartre's La Nausée."

Henry Poulaille was a French writer.

His novel The Boys in the Back Room (Les Copains, literally "the pals") appeared in English in 1937. [4]

During World War II he went into exile first to the United States where he spoke on the radio through the Voice of America and then, beginning in 1941, to Mexico where he participated with other French refugees in founding the Institut Français d'Amérique Latine (IFAL).

Voice of America Official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government

Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S. government-funded international multimedia agency which serves as the United States federal government's official institution for non-military, external broadcasting. It is the largest U.S. international broadcaster. VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in more than 40 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its leaders.

A writer on many varied topics, Jules Romain was elected to the Académie française on 4 April 1946, occupying chair 12 (of 40). He served as President of PEN International, the worldwide association of writers from 1936 to 1941. In 1964, Jules Romains was named citizen of honor of Saint-Avertin. Following his death in Paris in 1972, his place in the Académie française was taken by Jean d'Ormesson.

Jules Romains is remembered today, among other things, for his concept of Unanimism and his cycle of novels in Les Hommes de bonne volonté (The Men of Good Will), a remarkable literary fresco depicting the odyssey over a quarter century of two friends, the writer Jallez and politician Jerphanion, who provide an example in literature of Unanimism.


Romains originally considered unanimism to mean an opposition to individualism or to the exaltation of individual particularities; universal sympathy with life, existence and humanity. In later years, Romains defined it as connected with the end of literature within "representation of the world without judgment",[ This quote needs a citation ] where his social ideals comprise the highest conception of solidarity as a defense of individual rights. His first book was La vie unanime, published in 1904, and in the preface to Men of Goodwill he identified the ideas in it as essentially the same as those of that later work. [5]

The Red Envelope catalog company, in their 2007 Holiday catalog, surprisingly featured Les Createurs on the cover in a photograph, showing a female model playfully frustrated with her husband, a male model posing as a detached intellectual, half-heartedly helping her to decorate the Christmas tree, while his attention is focused on reading Les Createurs.




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  1. Marino, Andy (2000). A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry. Macmillan. p. 46.
  2. "Nomination Database". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  3. Reilly, Brian J. (2007). The Columbia History of Twentieth-century French Thought. Columbia University Press. p. 232.
  4. Mangione, Jerre Gerlando (1978). An Ethnic at Large: A Memoir of America in the Thirties and Forties. Syracuse University Press. p. 154. ISBN   9780815607168 . Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  5. Bergholz, Harry (April 1951). "Jules Romains and His "Men of Good Will"". The Modern Language Journal. 35 (4): 303–309. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4781.1951.tb01639.x. JSTOR   319619.


Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
H. G. Wells
International President of PEN International
Succeeded by
Denis Saurat