Martin Du Card, Roger

Martin Du Card, Roger


Born Mar. 23, 1881, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, department of Hauts-de-Seine; died Aug. 23, 1958, in Belleme, department of Orne. French author.

Martin du Gard came from a family of lawyers. He was educated at the Ecole des Chartes, a higher archival and historical educational institution. From the very beginning of his career, Martin du Gard was interested in the development of human personality and the formation of character. The emotional power of his novel Jean Barois (1913; Russian translation, 1958) lies in the affirmation of democracy and of philosophical materialism. The novella Old France (1933; Russian translation, 1934) depicts the destructive influence of gold on human relations.

Martin du Gard’s principal work was the cyclical novel, The World of the Thibaults, which won him the Nobel Prize in 1937 (Russian translations, 1936, 1959, 1972). The work was begun as a family chronicle and included the parts The Gray Notebook (1922), The Penal Colony (1922), A Sunny Time (1923), The Day of the Doctor (1928), Little Sister (1928), and Father’s Death (1929); it grew into a political novel, presenting a detailed picture of French life at the beginning of the 20th century. The Thibaults was completed in the 1930’s (The Summer of 1914, 1936, and Epilogue, 1940), at the time of the Popular Front movement. The story of the collapse of a bourgeois family becomes, in Martin du Gard’s work, the history of the decline of a whole class. The life of Oscar Thibault, the head of the family, who has become hardened and cynical, is a typical example of how society cripples man. In opposition to egoism and individualism, Martin du Gard presents the ideal of a well-balanced, active man, Antoine Thibault. Before his death at the end of World War I, Antoine Thibault, a talented children’s doctor, finds in himself the strength to condemn his chosen path of compromise. Protest against his father’s despotism leads Jacques, the youngest of the brothers, to revolutionary activity; he perishes during his lone attempt to prevent the imperialist war. In the person of Jacques Thibault, Martin du Gard created the image of a rebel and hero actively opposing bourgeois society. In The Summer of 1914 there is a carefully documented description of the preparation for World War I by the imperialist powers; the collapse of the Second International is depicted.

As a novelist, Martin du Gard strove for maximum objectivity. His characters are revealed in their actions and dialogue. His works contain typical features of French classical literature, namely, broad social panoramas, an acute concern with ethical problems, and clarity of thought. In the creation of his major characters and in his striving to perceive the “dialectic of the soul,” Martin du Gard was inspired by his favorite author, L. N. Tolstoy. His work marked a significant progress in the development of French critical realism. During World War II, Martin du Gard was an antifascist and French patriot. In his Autobiographical and Literary Reminiscences (1955), he defended realism in art.


Oeuvres completes, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1955.
Les Thibault. Moscow, 1960.
“R. Martin du Gard et J.-R. Bloch: Correspondance (1909-1946).” Europe, 1963, 1964, 1965, nos. 413-419/420.
A. Gide et R. Martin du Gard: Correspondance, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1968.
J. Copeau et R. Martin du Gard: Correspondance, vols. 1-2 Paris, 1972.
In Russian translation:
“Vospominaniia.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1956, no. 12.


Motyleva, T. Inostrannaia literatura i sovremennost’. Moscow, 1961.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Narkir’er, F. S. Rozhe Marten diu Gar. Moscow, 1963.
Rozhe Marten diu Gar: Biobibliografich. ukazatel’. Compiled by A. V. Paevskaia. [Moscow] 1958.
Lalou, R. R. Martin du Gard. Paris, 1937.
Borgal, C. R. Martin du Gard. Paris, 1957.
Boak, D. R. Martin du Gard. Oxford, 1963.
Robidoux, R. R. Martin du Gard et la religion. Paris [1964].
Schalk, D. L. R. Martin du Gard: The Novelist and History. Ithaca, N.Y. 1967.