Jean Giraudoux


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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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In 1935, Jean Giraudoux, the French playwright, with the memory of the First World War still in his head, wrote The Trojan War Will Not Take Place.
This is not very far from that which Bresson and Jean Giraudoux put in place with Les Anges du peche (1943).
Theatrical talents such as Jean Giraudoux and Jean Anouilh, and poet Jean Cocteau, turned their efforts to the cinema as well, often with notable success.
He was also a poet, a playwright, an essayist, and a successful translator into Polish of Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Claudel, Andre Gide, and Jean Giraudoux.