Aragon, Louis


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Aragon, Louis

(lwē ärägôN`), 1897–1982, French writer. One of the founders of surrealismsurrealism
, literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention.
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 in literature, Aragon abandoned that philosophy for Marxism after a trip to the USSR in 1931. He was a leader of the Resistance during World War II, and he edited the radical Paris daily Ce Soir and later the Communist weekly Les Lettres françaises. Aragon's early works include the volume of poems Feu de joie (1920) and the surrealistic novel Le Paysan de Paris (1926, tr. Nightwalker, 1970). His cycle of social novels concerning political responsibility are translated as The Bells of Basel (1934, tr. 1941), Residential Quarter (1936, tr. 1938), The Century Was Young (1941, tr. 1941), and Aurelien (1945, tr. 1947). Les Communistes, the first of his five-volume cycle of realistic novels, appeared in 1949. His later works include a novel about the artist Jean Louis GéricaultGéricault, Jean Louis André Théodore
, 1791–1824, French painter. He studied with Antoine Vernet and with Pierre Guérin, in whose studio he met Delacroix.
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, Holy Week (1958, tr. 1961); a history of the USSR from 1917 to 1960, Histoire parallèle (1962, tr. 1964); the novel La Mise à mort (1965); and a two-volume memoir of Matisse (1972). His major works of poetry include Le Crève-coeur (1941), war poems; the series of love poems to his wife, the novelist TrioletTriolet, Elsa
(Elsa Blick) , c.1896–1970, Russian-French author, b. Moscow. In 1928 she married the French writer Louis Aragon. Her novels often combine a sweeping Russian grandeur with acute observations of French life. They include Le cheval blanc (1943; tr.
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: Les Yeux d'Elsa (1954), Elsa (1959), and Le Fou d'Elsa (1963); and Les Chambres (1969).

Bibliography

See Louis Aragon, Poet of the French Resistance (ed. by H. Josephson and M. Cowley, 1945); study by L. F. Becker (1971).

Aragon, Louis

 

Born Oct. 3,1897, in Paris. French writer and political figure. Member of the French Communist Party since 1927 and of the Party’s central committee since 1954.

In 1915, Aragon enrolled in a Paris medical school and beginning in 1917 served as a medical orderly in World War I. He wrote his first poems in 1917. In the early 1920’s he became an adherent of dadaism (collection of poems Fireworks, 1920) and later, of surrealism. Criticism of the bourgeois world is already strongly pronounced in his early poems. In subsequent works, Aragón developed toward realism. The Soviet Union became the symbol of the new world for him; this is evident in the narrative poem The Red Front (1931; Russian translation, 1931) and the collection of poems Hurrah, Urals! (1934). The cycle of novels The Real World (1934–51) depicts the working class as a rising force of the nation. During the German fascist occupation, Aragon was one of the organizers and bards of the French Resistance (1940–44) and contributed to the underground newspaper Lettres Françoises. In the collections of poems Knife in the Heart (1941), Elsa’s Eyes (1942), The Wax Museum (1943), and The French Dawn (1945), in the collection of short stories Decline and Grandeur of the French (1945), and in other works the bitterness of France’s defeat is inseparable from the call to battle. Between 1946 and 1953 he published two books of documentary prose, The Communist Man. In the collection of poems A Knife in the Heart Again (1948), Aragon sharply criticizes the penetration of US imperialism into Europe. The cycle The Real World was concluded in 1949–51 with the novel The Communists (Russian translation, 1953; new and revised French edition, 1967). The narrative poem Eyes and Memory (1954) is an attempt to poetically interpret mankind’s paths of development. Aragon did much to popularize Soviet literature in France; he published the book Soviet Literatures (1955), where he wrote about the full growth of the multinational culture of the USSR. The partly biographical narrative poem Unfinished Novel (1956) is devoted to the political events of the 20th century. The novel The Holy Week (1958; Russian translation, 1960) depicts the artist’s path toward the people against a broad social and historical background. Aragon is also the author of the narrative poem The Poets (1960) and of the experimental lyrical novels Death for Good (1965) and Blanche, or Oblivion (1967). He published several books and articles on problems in modern literature in which he opposed the dogmatic interpretation of socialist realism; at the same time he also expressed several debatable thoughts.

Aragon is a member of the World Peace Council. He has been awarded the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Peoples (1957) and received honorary doctor of science degrees from Moscow and Prague universities.

WORKS

Choix de poèmes. Moscow, 1959.
Poésies (Anthologie, 1917–1960). Paris, 1960.
Les Oeuvres romanesques croisés d’Elsa Triolet et Aragon, vols. 1–32. Paris, 1965–67.
La Mise a mort. [Paris, 1965.]
Blanche ou l’oubli. [Paris, 1967.]
Aragon parle avec Dominique Arban. [Paris, 1968.]
Les Chambres. Paris, 1969.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–11. Moscow, 1957–61.
Literatura i iskusstvo: Izbrannye stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1957.
Neokonchennyi roman. El’za. Poemy. Moscow, 1960.

REFERENCES

Pesis, B. O geroe progressivnoi literatury Frantsii. Moscow, 1956.
Pesis, B. Ot XIX k XX veku: Traditsiia inovatorstvo vo frants, lit-re. Moscow, 1968.
Trushchenko, E. Lui Aragon. Moscow, 1958.
Sotsialisticheskii realizm ν zarubezhnykh literaturakh. Moscow, 1960.
Isbakh, A. Lui Aragon. [Moscow, 1962.]
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Balashova, T. Tvorchestvo Aragona. Moscow, 1964. (Bibliography, pp. 291–308.)
Balashova, T. “Liricheskii epos Aragona.” In Poeziia sotsializma. Moscow, 1969.
Pisateli Frantsii. Moscow, 1964.
Puzikov, A. “Chitaia Aragona.” In his book Portrety frantsuzskikh pisatelei. Moscow, 1957.
Zhukov, Iu. “Zloba dnia: K itogam parizhskogo literaturnogo sezona.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1968, no. 8.
Lui Aragon: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1956.
Lescure, P. de. Aragon romancier. Paris, [1960].
Roy, Cl. Aragon. Paris, 1962.
Sadoul, G. Aragon. Paris, 1967.
“Elsa Triolet et Aragon.” Europe, 1967, nos. 454–55. (With bibliography.)

A. A. ISBAKH

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