Octave Mirbeau

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mirbeau, Octave


Born Feb. 16, 1848, or 1850, in Trévières, Calvados department; died Feb. 16, 1917, in Paris. French writer.

The son of a physician, Mirbeau graduated from the Jesuit college in Vannes. He was influenced by anarchist ideas and the aesthetics of the decadents. His first book of short stories, Letters From My Cottage (1886), is marked by a striving for truth, as are the novel Calvary (1886; Russian translation, 1908) and the anticlerical novels Abbe Jules (1888; Russian translation, 1907) and Sébastien Roch (1890; Russian translation, 1907). However, the realism of these novels is weakened by naturalistic detail and recourse to the realm of mental disorder.

In the mid-1890’s, Mirbeau established close ties with the democratic intelligentsia. Together with E. Zola, he came out in defense of Dreyfus. His play The Evil Shepherds (1897; Russian translation, 1900) centers on the struggle between workers and factory owners. His best play, Business Is Business (1903; Russian translation, The Power of Money, 1903), continues his tendency toward socially meaningful drama. Mirbeau’s last works were the book of travel essays The 628-E8 Automobile (1907; Russian translation, Automobile Journey, 1908) and the play The Hearth (1908; Russian translation, 1908), in which he satirizes bourgeois philanthropy.


Oeuvres completes, vols. 1–9. Paris, 1934–36. In Russian translation: Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1–10. Moscow, 1908–11.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 5. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(1e) The recognition of our authors is undoubtedly supported by the appreciation of the literary milieu of Paris, as in the article by Mirbeau (2e) on Maeterlinck, and by the aura of the northern exoticism of the Belgians (Denis 106-107).
Menos ironico, pero casi tan ambiguo, Octave Mirbeau dedica su obra El jardin de los suplicios, a los sacerdotes, los soldados, los jueces y los hombres, "encargados de instruir y gobernar a los hombres" (4), aunque no sabemos si lo hace para amonestarlos por sus excesos o para mejor instruirlos en ellos.
| Enjoy fine dining at Mirbeau Hotel and Spa's Bistro Restaurant (plymouthmirbeau.com), and at East Bay Grille, on Plymouth's waterfront (eastbaygrille.com).
Adviertase que hablo de la literatura corriente y a la moda, de lo que hierve en la gigantesca olla podrida de la publicidad parisiense; de ningun modo de los solitarios obreros, de los trabajadores concienzudos que forman una especie de aristocracia, fuera de la influencia oficial y del consentimiento de la multitud, un Remy de Gourmont, un Paul Adam, un Mauclair, un Mirbeau, un Gustave Kahn" (Barcia 1977: 112-3).
In the Romantic and decadentist tradition, the presence of green eyes connotes something fatal, sadistic or vicious, from Becquer's Los ojos verdes to the cruel, homicidal characters of Barbey d'Aurevilly and Octave Mirbeau. Green eyes appear repeatedly in homosexually-themed literature.
Huysmans, Gustave Flaubert, Maurice Barres, Octave Mirbeau, Paul Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire.