Romains, Jules

Romains, Jules

(zhül rômăN`), 1885–1972, French writer, whose original name was Louis Farigoule. A brilliant student of philosophy, he became known as the chief exponent of unanimism, a literary theory positing the collective spirit or personality, e.g., the spirit of a city. This concept pervades an early collection of his poems, La Vie unanime (1908). Romains's principal work is the novel cycle Men of Good Will (27 vol., 1932–46; tr. 14 vol., 1933–46), which gives an intricate and panoramic view of French life from 1908 to 1933. Among his other novels are Mort de quelqu'un (1911; tr. The Death of a Nobody, 1914) and Les Copains (1913; tr. The Boys in the Back Room, 1937). His plays, considered masterpieces of French theater, include Cromedeyre-le-Vieil (1920), in which an isolated village returns to primitive ways, and the satirical farce Knock; ou, Le Triomphe de la médecine (1923; tr. Doctor Knock, 1925).


See study by D. Boak (1974).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Romains, Jules


(pen name of Louis Farigoule). Born Aug. 26, 1885, in Saint-Julien-Chapteuil, in the department of Haute-Loire; died Aug. 14, 1972, in Paris. French writer. Member of the Académie Française (1946).

Romains graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1906. He began his career as a poet and was the founder of the unanimist school. In the 1920’s he wrote grotesque farces denouncing political mores and learned and literary charlatanism, including Dr. Knock (1924; staged 1923), the “cinematographic tale” Donogoo-Tonka (1920; staged 1930), and the comedy Monsieur le Trouhadec in the Grip of Debauchery (1923).

In the 1930’s, Romains’s political views underwent a shift to the right. He did not understand the currents of historical development and consequently failed in his attempt to create an epic of French life between 1908 and 1933 in the novel Men of Good Will (vols. 1–27, 1932–6; Russian translation, vols. 1–4, 1933), a work notable for its systematic and objective approach.

Romains’s articles and speeches (1939–60) about World War II and the fate of France and of bourgeois democracy were collected in The Highs and Lows of Freedom (1960), the philosophic essays To Preserve Reason (vols. 1–3, 1960–67), and the reminiscences Friendships and Encounters ( 1970).


Portraits d’inconnus. Paris [1962].
In Russian translation:
Sobr. sock, vols. 1–9. Leningrad, 1925–30.
Izbr. stikhi. Translated by A. Efros. Moscow, 1928.


Lunacharskii, A. V. “Molodaia frantsuzskaia poeziia.” Sobr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1965.
Lunacharskii, A. V. “Predislovie.” In J. Romains, Gospodin Truadek ν
lapakh razvrata. Moscow [1925], Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959. Vol. 4: Moscow, 1963.
Berry, M. Jules Romains. Paris [1959].
Livres de France, 1966, no. 8 (special issue).
Cuisenier, A. J. Romains. Paris [1969]. (Contains bibliography.)
L’Humanité, Aug. 18, 1972, p. 7. (Obituary.)


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