Mauriac, François

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Mauriac, François

Mauriac, François (fräNswäˈ mōryäkˈ), 1885–1970, French writer. Mauriac achieved success in 1922 and 1923 with Le Baiser au lépreux and Genitrix (tr. of both in The Family, 1930). Generally set in or near his native Bordeaux, his novels are imbued with his profound, though nonconformist, Roman Catholicism. His characters exist in a tortured universe; nature is evil and man eternally prone to sin. His major novels are The Desert of Love (1925, tr. 1929), Thérèse (1927, tr. 1928), and Vipers' Tangle (1932, tr. 1933). Other works include The Frontenacs (1933, tr. 1961) and Woman of the Pharisees (1941, tr. 1946); a life of Racine (1928) and of Jesus (1936, tr. 1937); and plays, notably Asmodée (1938, tr. 1939). Also a distinguished essayist, Mauriac became a columnist for Figaro after World War II. Collections of his articles and essays include Journal, 1932–39 (1947, partial tr. Second Thoughts, 1961), Proust's Way (1949, tr. 1950), and Cain, Where Is Your Brother? (tr. 1962). Mauriac received the 1952 Nobel Prize in Literature.


See his memoirs (1959, tr. 1960); study by C. Jenkins (1965).

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Mauriac, François


Born Oct. 11, 1885, in Bordeaux; died Sept. 1, 1970, in Paris. French writer. Member of the Académie Française (1933). Father of C. Mauriac.

Mauriac was the son of a merchant. He graduated from the department of literature at the University of Bordeaux. Mauriac began his literary career as a poet (1909). His first novel, Young Man in Chains, about a young provincial in Paris, appeared in 1913. He gained recognition for his novels A Kiss for the Leper (1922), Genetrix (1923), Thérèse (1927; Russian translation, 1927), Vipers’ Tangle (1932; Russian translation, 1934), and The Unknown Sea (1939; Russian translation, 1957). In 1943, Mauriac, a member of the Resistance, published under the pseudonym Forez a collection of antifascist articles, Le Cahier noir.

After the war, Mauriac was a supporter of C. De Gaulle’s regime; at the same time, however, he denounced the French colonial wars. Of his postwar novels the most famous are Le Sagouin (1951; Russian translation, The Monkey, 1955), The Lamb (1954), and Maltaverne (1969; Russian translation, 1970). His Bloc-notes (1952–70), notes on political, moral, and aesthetic subjects, was published in the newspapers L’Express and Le Figaro. In his writings, Mauriac strongly criticized capitalist society from the point of view of Catholic morality. His works depict the everyday life of the bourgeoisie and nobility and the moral strivings of youth torn between religious impulses and the demands of the flesh. Mauriac’s works, which were influenced by Dostoevsky and Proust, combine psychological analysis and naturalistic detail in the description of the vices of his characters.

Mauriac’s aesthetic views were expressed in The Novel (1928), The Novelist and His Characters (1933, 1970), and Mémoires intérieurs (1959); in these works he defended realism from a Christian point of view and condemned modernism in literature. In 1952 he was awarded the Nobel Prize.


Oeuvres complètes, vols. 1–12. Paris, 1950–56.
Ce que je crois. Paris, 1962.
Nouveaux Mémoires intérieurs. Paris, 1965.
Thérèse Desqueyroux. Le Noeud de vipères. Les Chemins de la mer. Introduction by R. Grachev. Afterword and notes by E. Etkind. Moscow [1966].
Bloc-notes: 1961–1964. Paris [1968].
In Russian translation:
Tereza Deskeiru. Fariseika. Martyshka. Podrostok bylykh vremen. Introduction by L. Andreev. Moscow, 1971.


Shkunaeva, I. D. Sovremennaia frantsuzskaia literatura. Moscow, 1961.
Vaksmakher, M. N. Frantsuzskaia literatura nashikh dnei. Moscow, 1967.
Maurois, A. Literaturnye portrety. Moscow, 1970.
Kirnoze, Z. I. Fransua Moriak. Moscow, 1970.
Wurmser, A. “F. Mauriac et nous.” L’Humanité, Sept. 2, 1970.
Goesch, K. F. Mauriac: Essai de bibliographic chronologique. Paris, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.