Giraudoux, Jean


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Giraudoux, Jean

(zhäN zhērōdo͞o`), 1882–1944, French novelist and dramatist. He was a prolific writer and combined his literary work with a long and successful diplomatic career. His early novels, which display his impressionistic, fanciful style, include Les Provinciales (1909) and Suzanne and the Pacific (1921, tr. 1923). Amica America (1919) relates a stay in the United States. In 1928, Giraudoux launched his dramatic career with Siegfried (tr. 1930), an adaptation of his novel Siegfried et le Limousin (1922, tr. My Friend from Limousin, 1923). Most of his subsequent plays, including Amphitryon 38 (1929, tr. 1937), La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu (1935, tr. Tiger at the Gates, 1955), and Électre (1937), are imaginative modern reinterpretations of Greek myths, satirizing selfishness, greed, and moral frailty. The Madwoman of Chaillot (1945, tr. 1947) is a bitter satire on 20th-century materialism.

Bibliography

See studies by R. Cohen (1968, repr. 1970), G. Lemaitre (1971), and Paul Mankin (1971).

Giraudoux, Jean

 

Born Oct. 29, 1882, in Bellac; died Jan. 31, 1944, in Paris. French writer. Fought in World War I(1914–18); later entered the foreign service; left government service in protest after H. P. Petain came to power (1940).

Giraudoux began to publish in 1904. His first stories, the collections The Provincials (1909) and The School for Indifference (1911; Russian translation, 1927), criticized the mores of the provincial bourgeoisie and revealed Giraudoux’s predilection for subtle irony, sarcasm, and paradox, which, however, were sometimes used for superficial effects. His books about war, notably Readings for a Shadow (1917) and Adorable Clio (1920), are ironic and stand in contrast to the chauvinistic literature of the period. In these books the dominant theme of Giraudoux’s work is first introduced, namely, pacifism and the defense of culture, the bearers of which, according to Qiraudoux, are lone intellectuals. These are the protagonists of the novels Passionate Simon (1918–26) and Suzanne and the Pacific Ocean (1921). Giraudoux’s best novels—Siegfried and Limousin (1922; Russian translation, 1927) and Bella (1926, Russian translation, 1927)—criticize nationalism and political manipulation behind the scenes. His plays Siegfried (1928), Amphitryon 38 (1929), Intermezzo (1933), Tiger at the Gates (1935), Electra (1937), and The Madwoman ofChaillot (published, 1946) depict in allegorical form important political events and mirror the writer’s anxiety over the threat of war.

WORKS

Théâtre complet, vols. 1–16. Paris, 1945–53.
Or dans la nuit. Paris, 1969.
In Russian translation:
Siuzanna ostrovitianka. Leningrad [1928].
“Troianskoi voiny ne budet.” In P’esy Sovremennoi Frantsii. Moscow, 1960.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol.4. Moscow, 1963.
Juve, L. Mysli o teatre. Moscow, 1960.
Gozenpud, A. Puti i pereput’ia. Leningrad, 1967.
Toussaint, F. J. Giraudoux. Paris, 1953.
Le Sage, L. L’oeuvre de J. Giraudoux. Paris, 1956.
Albérès, R. M. Esthetique et morale chez J. Giraudoux. Paris, 1957.

A. D. MIKHAILOV

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