Martin du Gard


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Martin du Gard

Roger . 1881--1958, French novelist, noted for his series of novels, Les Thibault (1922--40): Nobel prize for literature 1937
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At this magnum opus, to be called Lieutenant-Colonel de Maumort,(1) Martin du Gard had labored sporadically for his last seventeen years, but without illusion of ever bringing it to term.
The upright Martin du Gard was often exasperated, and even rather scandalized, by his confrere's antics, in particular his inveterate pederasty.
The moment Martin du Gard finishes, Gide lopes off after his prey.
Martin du Gard, I hasten to qualify, was not in any significant sense a "gay novelist," and he no doubt would have been mortified to be so pigeonholed.
Martin du Gard is superb as well at depicting the mingled terrors, humiliations, glories, and rewards of French pedagogy, with its almighty baccalaureat.
According to Daspre, Martin du Gard planned to have Maumort sketch a score or more of these eminents penseurs; the mind boggles at the thought of how much bulk this projected gallery would have added to the novel.
No doubt Martin du Gard intended to fuse these pieces into a seamless whole, but who cares?
Nor is this falling-off due only to incompletion, for Martin du Gard also squanders his own steam by interpolating, smack in the middle of the book, another text.
Martin du Gard had big plans for Maumort's army career, including a close relationship with Marshal Lyautey, architect of the Moroccan protectorate, and a temporary rupture over the Dreyfus Affair--all unexecuted.
In grafting on to Maumort his own propensity and resultant anguish, Martin du Gard violated his self-imposed separation of author and character--"Maumort must be very different from me," he told himself--but the novel gains thereby, since Maumort's betrayed love for Germany imparts a sharp tang and historical pathos to these final pages of his memoir.
The nine missives he got around to feature some fine passages, but it's hard to see how Martin du Gard could have jiggered the entire book to fit under this new rubric, which seems to me even more confining and less plausible than that of the diary.
It seems that, besides his iron trunk, Martin du Gard handed down a black box measuring, Daspre informs us in a moment of Kinbotean overkill, 15.