Charles Vildrac

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vildrac, Charles


(pseudonym of Charles Messager). Born Nov. 22, 1882, in Paris. French writer and critic.

Vildrac founded the society “The Abbey” (1906-07) and was associated with the unanimist school. Vigor, kindness, and reflection on the essence of life are qualities of the lyrics in Images and Visions (1907). In the doctrines of unanimism, Vildrac saw a means for affirming sympathy for the unfortu-nate of the world, for example in the collection Discoveries (1912; Russian translation, 1927). The courage and spiritual strength he found in the common people were expressed in the collection A Book of Love (1914). In Songs of a Desperate Man (1920), “full of a most tender humanity and deep pain” (A. V. Lunacharskii, Sobr. soch., vol. 5, 1965, p. 436), the poet damned imperialistic slaughter and mourned its victims. The war, portrayed in his Stories (1926), and the egoistic pursuit of happiness, the theme of his drama Steam-boat Tenacity (1919; Russian translation, 1936), convinced Vildrac of the illusory nature of unanimist schemes. The play Michel Auclair (1921) reveals his disillusionment. The themes of subsequent works include the inevitability of social struggle, in the novella Demobilized (Russian translation, 1929); the monstrous ugliness of hierarchical power, in the farce The Gardener from Samos (1932, published 1947); and the moral steadfastness of the worker in the play Three Months in Prison (1938, published 1942). Vildrac joined the group Clarte and was close to R. Rolland. He defended the USSR in the book New Russia (1937), in the speech “The USSR and Childhood” (1945), and in the article “Fifty Years” (1967). During the Resistance he composed the hymn to liberty Paris 1943, which was translated into Russian in 1968.


Théâtre, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1943-48.
Lazare. Paris, 1945.
Pages de journal, 1922-1966. Paris, 1968.
In Russian translation: Teoriia svobodnogo stikha. Moscow, 1920. (Coauthor, G. Duhamel.) “Novaia Rossiia.” Znamia, No. 11, 1937. [“Stikhi.”] In Ten’ derev’ev: Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov. Translated by I. Ehrenburg. Moscow, 1969.


Lunacharskii, A. V. “Sharl’ Vil’drak.” Sobr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1965.
Pavlov, L. “Vospominaniia Virdraka.” Literaturnaia gazeta, no. 4, Jan. 22, 1969.
Bouquet, G., and P. Menanteau. Charles Vildrac. [Paris, 1959.] (Bibliography included.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Petit Traite de versification (1923; "Small Treatise on Versification"), by Romains and Georges Chenneviere, and Notes sur la technique poetique (1910; "Notes on Poetic Technique"), by Georges Duhamel and Charles Vildrac, outlined the Unanimiste theories of prosody, which resembled those of the American poet Walt Whitman in encouraging the use of strongly accented rhythms and the replacement of symbols and allegory by simple and unadorned diction.
Le passager has been awarded the Prix Charles Vildrac, and its seventy-seven texts help us appreciate Alan Bosquet's view that "there is nobody in current poetry with this natural power, this mal to be lived out beyond screaming, this imagery where stars are viscerally felt."