Maurice Druon

Last updated
Maurice Druon
Maurice Druon 2003 Orenburg crop.jpg
Druon in 2003
Born(1918-04-23)23 April 1918
Paris, France
Died14 April 2009(2009-04-14) (aged 90)
Paris, France
OccupationNovelist
NationalityFrench
Period1942–2009
Notable awards Grand Cross Legion of Honour
  Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
 Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  Prix Goncourt
  Commemorative medal for voluntary service in Free France
Spouse
    Geneviève Gregh
    (m. 1938;div. 1954)
      Madeleine Marignac
      (m. 1968)
Minister of Culture
In office
April 1973 March 1974

Born in Paris, France, Druon was the son of Russian-Jewish [1] immigrant Lazare Kessel (1899–1920) [2] and was brought up at La Croix-Saint-Leufroy in Normandy and educated at the lycée Michelet de Vanves. His father committed suicide in 1920 [2] and his mother remarried in 1926; Maurice subsequently took the name of his adoptive father, the lawyer René Druon (1874–1961).

He was the nephew of the writer Joseph Kessel, with whom he translated the Chant des Partisans , a French Resistance anthem of World War II, with music and words (in Russian) originally by Anna Marly. Druon was a member of the Resistance and came to London in 1943 to participate in the BBC's "Honneur et Patrie" programme. [3]

Druon began writing for literary journals at the age of 18. In September 1939, having been called up for military service, he wrote an article for Paris-Soir entitled "J'ai vingt ans et je pars (I am twenty years old and I am leaving)". [4] Following the fall of France in 1940, he was demobilized and remained in the unoccupied zone of France, and his first play, Mégarée, was produced in Monte Carlo in February 1942. He left the same year to join the forces of Charles de Gaulle. Druon became aide de camp to General François d'Astier de La Vigerie.

In 1948 Druon received the Prix Goncourt for his novel Les Grandes Familles  [ fr ], and later published two sequels. [5] [6] [7]

Druon was elected to the 30th seat of the Académie française on 8 December 1966, [8] succeeding Georges Duhamel. He was elected as "Perpetual Secretary" in 1985, but chose to resign the office in late 1999 due to old age; he successfully pushed for Hélène Carrère d'Encausse to succeed him, the first woman to hold the post, and was styled Honorary Perpetual Secretary after 2000. On the death of Henri Troyat on 2 March 2007, he became the Dean of the Académie, its longest-serving member.

While his scholarly writing earned him a seat at the Académie, Druon is best known for a series of seven historical novels published in the 1950s under the title Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings). The novels were adapted for French television in 1972, gaining a wider audience through overseas sales, and again in 2005, starring Jeanne Moreau. Fantasy writer George R. R. Martin stated that the novels had been an inspiration for his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire , and called Druon "France's best historical novelist since Alexandre Dumas, père". [9] [10] [11]

Druon's only work for children – Tistou les pouces verts – was published in 1957 and translated into English in 1958 (as Tistou of the Green Thumbs) and 2012 (as Tistou: The Boy With Green Thumbs). [12]

Druon was Minister of Cultural Affairs (1973–1974) [13] in Pierre Messmer's cabinet, and a deputy of Paris (1978–1981). He was survived by his second wife, Madeleine Marignac, whom he married in 1968. [2] Madeleine Druon died in 2016 aged 91. [14] Druon was a descendant of Brazilian author Odorico Mendes.

Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings)

The individual English titles below are from the Scribner English editions as published in the United States, rather than literal translations of the original French titles.

  1. Le Roi de fer (The Iron King)
  2. La Reine étranglée (The Strangled Queen)
  3. Les Poisons de la couronne (The Poisoned Crown)
  4. La Loi des mâles (The Royal Succession)
  5. La Louve de France (The She-Wolf of France)
  6. Le Lys et le lion (The Lily and the Lion)
  7. Quand un Roi perd la France (The King Without a Kingdom)

Bibliography

Honours

Awards

Related Research Articles

Prix Goncourt Award

The Prix Goncourt is a prize in French literature, given by the académie Goncourt to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year". Four other prizes are also awarded: prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle, prix Goncourt de la Poésie (poetry) and prix Goncourt de la Biographie (biography). Of the "big six" French literary awards, the Prix Goncourt is the best known and most prestigious. The other major literary prizes include the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française, the Prix Femina, the Prix Renaudot, the Prix Interallié and the Prix Médicis.

Edmond de Goncourt French writer, literary critic, art critic, book publisher and the founder of the Académie Goncourt

Edmond Louis Antoine Huot de Goncourt was a French writer, literary critic, art critic, book publisher and the founder of the Académie Goncourt.

Joseph Kessel French writer

Joseph Kessel, also known as "Jef", was a French journalist and novelist. He was a member of the Académie française and Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour.

Robert Merle

Robert Merle was a French novelist.

Michel Tournier

Michel Tournier was a French writer. He won awards such as the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1967 for Friday, or, The Other Island and the Prix Goncourt for The Erl-King in 1970. His inspirations included traditional German culture, Catholicism and the philosophies of Gaston Bachelard. He resided in Choisel and was a member of the Académie Goncourt. His autobiography has been translated and published as The Wind Spirit. He was on occasion in contention for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Jean Raspail French writer

Jean Raspail was a French author, traveler, explorer. Many of his books are about historical figures, exploration and indigenous peoples. He was a recipient of the prestigious French literary awards Grand Prix du Roman and Grand Prix de littérature by the Académie française. The French government honoured him in 2003 by appointing him to the Legion of Honor, with the grade of Officer. Internationally, he is best known for his controversial 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, which is about mass third-world immigration to Europe.

<i>The Accursed Kings</i>

The Accursed Kings is a series of historical novels by French author Maurice Druon about the French monarchy in the 14th century. Published between 1955 and 1977, the series has been adapted as a miniseries twice for television in France.

Félicien Marceau was a French novelist, playwright and essayist originally from Belgium. His real name was Louis Carette. He was close to the Hussards right-wing literary movement, which in turn was close to the monarchist movement. He was born in Kortenberg, Flemish Brabant.

Pierre Benoit (novelist) French writer

Pierre Benoit was a French novelist, screenwriter and member of the Académie française. He is perhaps most known for his second novel L'Atlantide (1919) that has been filmed a variety of times.

Édouard Molinaro French film director and screenwriter

Édouard Molinaro was a French film director and screenwriter.

The Prix Maurice Genevoix is an annual French literary award made in honor of its namesake Maurice Genevoix (1890–1980). It is intended to recognize a French literary work which, by its topic or style, honors the memory and work of Maurice Genevoix. The prize was founded in 1985 in the city of Garches under the initiative of mayor Yves Bodin, who was a family friend of Genevoix. In 2004 the award was officially established at the Académie française as a "Grand Prix", meaning the winner receives a silver-gilt medal and variable cash amount, thus increasing its prestige and importance since 2004.

Georges-Emmanuel Clancier

Georges-Emmanuel Clancier was a French poet, novelist, and journalist. He won the Prix Goncourt (poetry), the Grand Prize of the Académie française, and the grand prize of the Société des gens de lettres.

Jeanne de Divion French forger

Jeanne de Divion was a French forger.

<i>The Possessors</i> 1958 French film

The Possessors is a 1958 French drama film directed by Denys de La Patellière, starring Jean Gabin, Pierre Brasseur, Bernard Blier, Jean Desailly, Françoise Christophe and Annie Ducaux. It tells the story of a forceful tycoon wholly devoted to the business he has nurtured, at the expense of his family and above all his only son. The screenplay is based on the novel Les grandes familles by Maurice Druon, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1948.

Bernard Chambaz French writer, historian and poet

Bernard Chambaz is a French writer, historian and poet, winner of several French literary prizes.

Georges Poisson is a French art historian.

Hédi Kaddour French poet and writer

Hédi Kaddour is a French poet and novelist.

Gaston Chérau

Gaston Chérau was a French man of letters and journalist.

Thomas B. Reverdy French writer

Thomas B. Reverdy is a French novelist.

References

  1. JINFO. "Jewish Authors". jinfo.org. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 Julian Jackson. "Obituary: Maurice Druon". The Guardian . Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  3. Francine de Martinoir, « Maurice Druon, mort d’un partisan de la langue française », La Croix, 15 April 2009 (French)
  4. "Paris-soir". Gallica. 1939-09-09. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  5. Weber, Bruce (15 April 2009). "Maurice Druon, Prolific Writer, Dies at 90". The New York Times . Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  6. Lichfield, John (20 April 2009). "Maurice Druon: Writer and pugnacious defender of the French language". The Independent . Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  7. "Gaullist Minister Wrote Popular Anthem". The Washington Post . 16 April 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  8. "Maurice DRUON | Académie française". www.academie-francaise.fr. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  9. Martin, George R. R. (3 April 2013). "My hero: Maurice Druon by George RR Martin". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  10. Milne, Ben (4 April 2014). "Game of Thrones: The cult French novel that inspired George RR Martin". BBC . Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  11. Kamin, Debra (20 May 2014). "The Jewish legacy behind Game of Thrones". The Times of Israel . Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  12. Druon, Maurice (2012). Tistou: The Boy With Green Thumbs. Hawthorn Press. ISBN   978-1-907359-08-8.
  13. "Maurice-Samuel-Roger-Charles Druon | French author". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  14. Figaro.fr, Le (2016-09-24). "Madeleine Druon est morte". Le Figaro.fr (in French). Retrieved 2020-02-05.