Prévost, Marcel

Prévost, Marcel

(märsĕl` prāvō`), 1862–1941, French novelist. His novels deal chiefly with feminine questions, portraying severely what Prévost regarded as the moral frailty of modern woman. He won fame with The Demi-Virgins (1894, tr. 1895) in which he attacks feminism. His Lettres à Françoise (1902–12) presents his program for the ideal education of a girl. The combination of mysticism and eroticism in Retraite ardente (1927) aroused protests from the Roman Catholic clergy.

Prévost, Marcel


Born May 1, 1862, in Paris; died Apr. 8, 1941, in Vianne, department of Lot-et-Garonne. French writer. Member of the Académie Française (1909).

Prévost studied at Catholic colleges in Bordeaux and Paris and graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique. His first novel, The Scorpion (1887; Russian translation, 1901), which depicts the mores of a Jesuit college, was written under the influence of Zola.

Prévost wrote romantic and psychological novels that combined erotic scenes with censure of adultery and praise of Christian duty. They included Mademoiselle Jauffre (1889), A Woman’s Autumn (1893; Russian translation, 1893), The Demi-Vierges (1894; Russian translation, 1895; play of the same title, 1898), and The Happy Couple (1901).

In his later works, Prévost was primarily a moralist, as seen in the novels Strong Maidens (vols. 1–2, 1900) and Letters to Françoise (vols. 1–4, 1902–24). The events of World War I were reflected in the novels Petty Officer Bénoît (1916; Russian translation, 1916) and My Dear Tommy (1920).


Oeuvres completes, [vols. 1–33]. Paris, 1887–1924.
L’Homme vierge. Paris, 1948.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Sobr. soch. [books 1–14]. St. Petersburg [1912].
Don-Zhuanshi. Petrograd, 1923.


Bertaut, J. M. Prévost. Paris [1904]. (Contains bibliography.)
M. Prévost. Brussels, 1966.