Claudel, Paul Louis Charles Marie


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Claudel, Paul Louis Charles Marie

 

Born Aug. 6, 1868, in Villeneuve-sur-Fère, Aisne; died Feb. 23, 1955, in Paris. French writer and diplomat. Member of the Académie Française (1946). His father was a custodian of mortgage obligations.

Claudel graduated from the School of Law and Political Science and passed the bar. He was French ambassador to Japan (1921–26), the USA (1927–33), and Belgium (1933–35). Claudel was a playwright (The Golden Head, 1890; Break of Noon, 1906), poet (The East I Know, 1900; Five Great Odes, 1910; and War Poems, 1922), aesthetician (Art of Poetry, 1907), and prose writer (Images and Parables, 1936). In his religious work (Comment and Interpretation, vols. 1–8, 1962–67), Claudel comes close to neo-Thomism.

The search for truth, a lively sense of history, and patriotism brought him from abstract scholasticism back to the world of real passions and social battles—for example, the tragic farce The Bear and the Moon (1927), the antifascist manifesto “An Appeal to the German People” (Oct. 29, 1939), and the narrative poem France Speaks Out (1943; Russian translation, 1968)—and prompted him to condemn bourgeois individualism and the cult of money (the dramatic trilogy The Hostage, 1911; Crusts, 1918; and Humiliation of the Father, 1920).

The essence of Claudel’s dramaturgy lies in extolling heroism (The Satin Slipper, 1929) and selflessness (Christopher Columbus, 1935) in the name of peace, love, and social duty (the stage oratorio Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, 1939).

WORKS

Oeuvres complètes, vols. 1–26. Paris, 1950–67.
Oeuvres en prose. Paris, 1965.
Journal, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1968–69.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vols. 3–4. Moscow, 1959–63.
Lunacharskii, A. V. “Drama Klodelia.” Sobr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1965. Pages 344–48.
Tairov, A. Ia. Zapiski rezhissera. Moscow, 1970.
Entretiens sur P. Claudel. Editors in chief G. Cattaui and J. Madaule. Paris-The Hague, 1969.
Plourde, M. P. Claudel. Montreal, 1970.

V. P. BALASHOV