Jules Romains

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Romains, Jules

 

(pen name of Louis Farigoule). Born Aug. 26, 1885, in Saint-Julien-Chapteuil, in the department of Haute-Loire; died Aug. 14, 1972, in Paris. French writer. Member of the Académie Française (1946).

Romains graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1906. He began his career as a poet and was the founder of the unanimist school. In the 1920’s he wrote grotesque farces denouncing political mores and learned and literary charlatanism, including Dr. Knock (1924; staged 1923), the “cinematographic tale” Donogoo-Tonka (1920; staged 1930), and the comedy Monsieur le Trouhadec in the Grip of Debauchery (1923).

In the 1930’s, Romains’s political views underwent a shift to the right. He did not understand the currents of historical development and consequently failed in his attempt to create an epic of French life between 1908 and 1933 in the novel Men of Good Will (vols. 1–27, 1932–6; Russian translation, vols. 1–4, 1933), a work notable for its systematic and objective approach.

Romains’s articles and speeches (1939–60) about World War II and the fate of France and of bourgeois democracy were collected in The Highs and Lows of Freedom (1960), the philosophic essays To Preserve Reason (vols. 1–3, 1960–67), and the reminiscences Friendships and Encounters ( 1970).

WORKS

Portraits d’inconnus. Paris [1962].
In Russian translation:
Sobr. sock, vols. 1–9. Leningrad, 1925–30.
Izbr. stikhi. Translated by A. Efros. Moscow, 1928.

REFERENCES

Lunacharskii, A. V. “Molodaia frantsuzskaia poeziia.” Sobr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1965.
Lunacharskii, A. V. “Predislovie.” In J. Romains, Gospodin Truadek ν
lapakh razvrata. Moscow [1925], Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959. Vol. 4: Moscow, 1963.
Berry, M. Jules Romains. Paris [1959].
Livres de France, 1966, no. 8 (special issue).
Cuisenier, A. J. Romains. Paris [1969]. (Contains bibliography.)
L’Humanité, Aug. 18, 1972, p. 7. (Obituary.)

M. V. TOLMACHEV

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His fiction emulated the now-also-defunct French genre of the roman-fleuve or literary river, once exemplified by the work of Jules Romains, in which a group of characters is followed through the passage of decades.
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