Rosny, J. H

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rosny, J. H


joint pen name of two French writers, the brothers Joseph Henri Boëx (born Feb. 17, 1856, in Brussels, and died Feb. 15, 1940, in Paris) and Séraphin Justin François Boëx (born July 21, 1859, in Brussels, and died June 15, 1948, in Ploubazlanec, Côtes-du-Nord).

Until 1909 the Boëx brothers wrote jointly. They then published separately under the pen names Rosny aîné (the elder) and Rosny jeune (the younger). They followed Zola’s naturalist school and after its dissolution remained faithful to its tradition of socially oriented prose dealing with mores. Their novels posed urgent social questions and reflected the contradictions of life in France from the late 19th to the early 20th century. The novel Nell Horn of the Salvation Army (1886; Russian translation, 1888) dealt with city slums, and The Immolation (1887) with the life of poor peasants. The literary bohemia was the subject of The Termite (1890). The everyday life of physicians and their experiences in the community were dealt with in The Untamed One (1895), Under the Burden (1906; Russian translation, 1908), and The Squalls (1912; Russian translation, 1925).

Of particular interest are the works depicting the class struggle of the French workers and the everyday life of socialists, including The Bilateral, (1887), The Imperious Goodness (1894), and The Lost Souls (1899). The brothers’ novels combine sympathy for victims of social injustice and understanding of the moral appeal of revolutionaries with a reformist concept of peaceful social development. Their novels devoted to prehistoric man (Vamireh, 1892; Russian translation, 1959) and The Gigantic Feline (1920; Russian translation, 1924) have been widely read. Rosny aîné wrote a popular novel on the same subject, The War for Fire (1911; Russian translations, 1911, 1928, 1966).


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3, Moscow, 1959.
Lunacharskii, A. V. “Ocherki frantsuzskoi literatury: Roman iz rabochei zhizni.” Sobr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow, 1965.
Kerbow, J.-B. “Rosny, romancier maudit.” Revue des sciences humaines. Lille, 1967.


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