Goncourt


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Goncourt: Prix Goncourt

Goncourt

Edmond Louis Antoine Huot de , 1822--96, and his brother, Jules Alfred Huot de , 1830--70, French writers, noted for their collaboration, esp on their Journal, and for the Acad?mie Goncourt founded by Edmond's will

Goncourt

 

The brothers Edmond de Goncourt (born May 26, 1822, in Nancy; died July 16, 1896, in Champrosay) and Jules (born Dec. 17, 1830, in Paris; died there June 20, 1870). French writers.

The creative cooperation of the Goncourt brothers is unique in world literature. In the 1850’s and the 1860’s the Goncourts created—with a remarkable integration of two different literary personalities—novels, plays, studies of the history and art of the 18th century, and, finally, the Diary. Realistic and naturalistic principles of the artistic reflection of reality are interwoven in their works. Their interest in the depiction of contemporary life and their attempt to study it in detail and to convey it in their works is connected with the tradition of critical realism. The novel Charles Demailly (1860) shows the ruin of a talented man in the world of the corrupted press; in Renée Mauperin (1864) psychological analysis aids the exposure of bourgeois morals. In Soeur Philomène (1861) and in Germinie Lacerteux (1865), their best novel, the Goncourt brothers introduced the life of the “lower classes” into the sphere of artistic representation and pictured the spiritual world of the people of the “poor classes.” In the program introduction to Germinie Lacerteux the authors demanded the right to depict the tragedy of the common man. However, in proclaiming the slogan “a precise, documentary reproduction of life” in the novel, they arrived at passive observation and a naturalistic subordination to fact. Social pessimism and aristocratic indifference to politics led them away from the social conflicts of the epoch. Also inherent in the novels of the Goncourt brothers were a substitution of the typical by the everyday and of the social by the physiological, as well as an interest in pathology, all of which were characteristic of the naturalistic method. The naturalistic features were especially objectionable in their last cooperative novels, Manette Salomon (1867) and Madame Gervaisais (1869).

The main artistic achievement of the Goncourt brothers was the creation of an impressionistic manner of literature that conveyed the most subtle spiritual states and subjective sensations. By the mastery of their picturesque delineation and the expressiveness of their style the Goncourt brothers enriched the tradition of French prose. However, in their impressionistic descriptions people and objects often became only elements of a visual impression.

A retreat from the principles of realism is especially evident in the work of Edmond Goncourt after the death of his brother Jules. In the 1870’s and 1880’s, in addition to works on Japanese art (Outamaro, 1891; Hokusai, 1896), he wrote several novels, such as Chérie (1884), that revealed such features of decadence as asociality, character disintegration, and mannerism of style. His best work, the novel Les Frères Zemganno (1879; Russian translations, 1936 and 1959), is devoted to the fate of brothers who are circus artists.

The Goncourt brothers kept the Diary, which Edmond continued down to 1895; it was published in full from 1956 to 1958. The Diary contains an often subjective reflection of the literary life of the epoch and the aesthetic opinions of the Goncourt brothers and of their contemporaries.

The will of Edmond Goncourt provided that his wealth be given to the fund of an annual literary prize, which the Academy of the Goncourts awards to this day. The Goncourt Prize is one of the esteemed literary awards in France.

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1–3, 6. With an introduction by V. Gofman. Moscow, 1911–12.
Zhermini Laserte—Aktrisa: Otryvki iz dnevnika. Edited and with an introduction by N. Rykova. Leningrad, 1961.
Dnevnik . . . lzbrannye stranitsy, vols. 1–2. [Introduction by V. Shor.] Moscow, 1964.
Goncourt, Edmond. Aktrisa (La Faustin). Introduction by A. Efros. Moscow, 1933; Penza, 1957.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Zola, E. Les Romanciers naturalistes, 2nd ed. Paris, 1881.
Billy, A. Les Frères Goncourt. Paris, 1954.
Baldick, R. The Goncourts. London, 1960. (With bibliography.)

Z. M. POTAPOVA

Goncourt

annual award for best French fiction. [Fr. Lit.: NCE, 1106]
See: Prize
References in periodicals archive ?
The French writer Jules Renard writes mocking the establishment supervising the award: "The Goncourt Academy seems ill to me, as if it's an infirmary for old friends.
Lo que pensaron los Goncourt, Woolf o Renard y pusieron por escrito se lee desde hace decadas, con numerosas notas al pie de pagina, pues no todos los personajes mentados consiguieron ser inmortales, salvo por esa mencion en el diario.
He has excited the Parisian literary elite, as is evident from his near-win of the Goncourt.
A second award, Le Choix de l'Orient, launched by the French Institute of Lebanon and the Middle East office of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie in 2012 and sponsored by the Goncourt Academy, will see a jury made up of 26 students from 19 institutions in Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Djibouti, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen select their choice of winning title from this year's Goncourt shortlist of four.
Cahiers Edmond et Jules de Goncourt 9 (2002): 125-51.
Cet hommage a Fouad Laroui, laureat du prestigieux Prix Goncourt, est un honneur mais aussi un devoir pour le CCME dont la mission est de rapprocher les Marocains du monde de leur pays a travers notamment les liens culturels a meme d'entretenir durablement cette relation d'appartenance", a declare a la MAP le president du groupe de travail cultures, education et identites, Younes Ajrai, precisant que le CCME va poursuivre ses initiatives visant a honorer les createurs marocains du monde, dignes representants de la culture marocaine.
His Goncourt win comes with Corsica making headlines over a jump in violence, with 38 murders and 117 attempted murders since the start of 2011, for a population of just over 300,000 -- the highest homicide rate in Europe.
The Past Ahead was short-listed for the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman in France and won the Ouest-France Prize in 2008.
PARIS, Dhu-AlHijjah 6, 1432, Nov 2, 2011, SPA -- Natural sciences teacher Alexis Jenni won France's most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, on Wednesday with a debut novel about France's colonial wars, Reuters reported.
High-school biology teacher Alexis Jenni on Wednesday won France's top literary award, the Goncourt Prize, for his first novel, "L'art francais de la guerre" (The French Art of War).
What on Earth is a French existentialist and winner of France's top literary award, the Prix Goncourt, doing being reviewed here?
In the epilogue, the narrator--presumably Edmond de Goncourt himself--is being shown around the penitentiary by the self-satisfied local prefect.