Louis Aragon


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Aragon, Louis

 

Born Oct. 3,1897, in Paris. French writer and political figure. Member of the French Communist Party since 1927 and of the Party’s central committee since 1954.

In 1915, Aragon enrolled in a Paris medical school and beginning in 1917 served as a medical orderly in World War I. He wrote his first poems in 1917. In the early 1920’s he became an adherent of dadaism (collection of poems Fireworks, 1920) and later, of surrealism. Criticism of the bourgeois world is already strongly pronounced in his early poems. In subsequent works, Aragón developed toward realism. The Soviet Union became the symbol of the new world for him; this is evident in the narrative poem The Red Front (1931; Russian translation, 1931) and the collection of poems Hurrah, Urals! (1934). The cycle of novels The Real World (1934–51) depicts the working class as a rising force of the nation. During the German fascist occupation, Aragon was one of the organizers and bards of the French Resistance (1940–44) and contributed to the underground newspaper Lettres Françoises. In the collections of poems Knife in the Heart (1941), Elsa’s Eyes (1942), The Wax Museum (1943), and The French Dawn (1945), in the collection of short stories Decline and Grandeur of the French (1945), and in other works the bitterness of France’s defeat is inseparable from the call to battle. Between 1946 and 1953 he published two books of documentary prose, The Communist Man. In the collection of poems A Knife in the Heart Again (1948), Aragon sharply criticizes the penetration of US imperialism into Europe. The cycle The Real World was concluded in 1949–51 with the novel The Communists (Russian translation, 1953; new and revised French edition, 1967). The narrative poem Eyes and Memory (1954) is an attempt to poetically interpret mankind’s paths of development. Aragon did much to popularize Soviet literature in France; he published the book Soviet Literatures (1955), where he wrote about the full growth of the multinational culture of the USSR. The partly biographical narrative poem Unfinished Novel (1956) is devoted to the political events of the 20th century. The novel The Holy Week (1958; Russian translation, 1960) depicts the artist’s path toward the people against a broad social and historical background. Aragon is also the author of the narrative poem The Poets (1960) and of the experimental lyrical novels Death for Good (1965) and Blanche, or Oblivion (1967). He published several books and articles on problems in modern literature in which he opposed the dogmatic interpretation of socialist realism; at the same time he also expressed several debatable thoughts.

Aragon is a member of the World Peace Council. He has been awarded the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Peoples (1957) and received honorary doctor of science degrees from Moscow and Prague universities.

WORKS

Choix de poèmes. Moscow, 1959.
Poésies (Anthologie, 1917–1960). Paris, 1960.
Les Oeuvres romanesques croisés d’Elsa Triolet et Aragon, vols. 1–32. Paris, 1965–67.
La Mise a mort. [Paris, 1965.]
Blanche ou l’oubli. [Paris, 1967.]
Aragon parle avec Dominique Arban. [Paris, 1968.]
Les Chambres. Paris, 1969.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–11. Moscow, 1957–61.
Literatura i iskusstvo: Izbrannye stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1957.
Neokonchennyi roman. El’za. Poemy. Moscow, 1960.

REFERENCES

Pesis, B. O geroe progressivnoi literatury Frantsii. Moscow, 1956.
Pesis, B. Ot XIX k XX veku: Traditsiia inovatorstvo vo frants, lit-re. Moscow, 1968.
Trushchenko, E. Lui Aragon. Moscow, 1958.
Sotsialisticheskii realizm ν zarubezhnykh literaturakh. Moscow, 1960.
Isbakh, A. Lui Aragon. [Moscow, 1962.]
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Balashova, T. Tvorchestvo Aragona. Moscow, 1964. (Bibliography, pp. 291–308.)
Balashova, T. “Liricheskii epos Aragona.” In Poeziia sotsializma. Moscow, 1969.
Pisateli Frantsii. Moscow, 1964.
Puzikov, A. “Chitaia Aragona.” In his book Portrety frantsuzskikh pisatelei. Moscow, 1957.
Zhukov, Iu. “Zloba dnia: K itogam parizhskogo literaturnogo sezona.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1968, no. 8.
Lui Aragon: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1956.
Lescure, P. de. Aragon romancier. Paris, [1960].
Roy, Cl. Aragon. Paris, 1962.
Sadoul, G. Aragon. Paris, 1967.
“Elsa Triolet et Aragon.” Europe, 1967, nos. 454–55. (With bibliography.)

A. A. ISBAKH

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Magnitogorsk." By Louis Aragon. Litterature internationale 4 (1933-34): 82-83.
But it is the images that remain in the mind such as the 1973 Sunday Times cover showing a pin-up of Marilyn Monroe looking nothing like the American icon she later became and the 1933 images showing Germany's army ominously on the march or an apocalyptic view of horseman and horse wearing gas masks, both produced by the French magazine Vu - hailed by poet Louis Aragon 'as the first major illustrated magazine in the world.'
Despite countless testimonials from Louis Aragon, Lillian Hellman, Pablo Neruda, Jean-Paul Sartre, and others, he wasn't really of the left, it turns out; he was merely an "aberration." No Stalin, no problem.
And saving the best for last, Danielle Darrieux, all 85 elegant years of her, sings "Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux" ("There Is No Happy Love"), a poem by Louis Aragon set to music by Georges Brassens.
THROUGHOUT HISTORY, women have been recognized only in terms of their relationship to men as daughters, lovers, or wives, and this is particularly so in the case of Elsa Triolet, known primarily as lover, wife, and muse of one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, Louis Aragon. From the moment they first met in 1928, Aragon celebrated her in his poems; he created a new mythology based on Elsa and his relationship with her, culminating in her apotheosis in Le fou d'Elsa (1963).
But, given the evidence presented here of the European peasantry's survivability, along with its capacity to innovate, 1 would prefer to close on a note of continuity: perhaps we are all becoming, like Louis Aragon's Parisians, urban peasants.
Visionary writing in the twentieth century is represented by two surrealist works, Louis Aragon's Le paysan de Paris (1926) and Andre Breton's Nadja (1928), William Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959), the subject of a celebrated obscenity trial, and two texts by contemporary feminist writers, Monique Wittig's Les Guerilleres (1969) and Jamaica Kincaid's At the Bottom of the River (1985).
Louis Aragon, an eminence grise of the French Communist party, took an interest in the production and lobbied the Soviet authorities on Plisetskaya's behalf.
Angela Kimyongur's Socialist Realism in Louis Aragon's Le Monde reel is consequently a useful corrective to such views since it highlights certain misconceptions and misrepresentations whilst retaining sufficient critical distance to offer a balanced and well-written account of Aragon's fiction.
but let Louis Aragon tell it: "At the cafe in the hubbub of voices, in plain daylight, and the elbowing, Robert Desnos has only to shut his eyes, and he speaks, and in the midst of the bocks, the saucers, the whole place collapses with a prophetic roar.
In addition to the more recent work, Yearbook #1 contains some surrealist artifacts: short pieces by Hugo Ball, Louis Aragon, Erik Satie, Giorgio Di Chirico, Gertrude Stein, John Cage, and Morton Feldman.