Henri Troyat

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Troyat, Henri


(real name Lev Tarasov). Born Nov. 1, 1911, in Moscow. French writer. Member of the Académie Française since 1959.

Troyat was educated in the law and has lived in France since 1918. His first novels were False Light (1935) and The Spider (1938); the latter won him the Goncourt Prize. Troyat is the author of several literary biographies, including Firebrand: The Life of Dostoyevsky (1940), Pushkin (1946), and Tolstoy (1965). He wrote several cycles of historical novels recalling the revolutionary and patriotic traditions of the Russian people. In The Seed and the Fruit (5 vols., 1953–58) and the trilogy The Eygletières (1965–67; Russian translation, 1969), Troyat analyzed the contemporary French bourgeoisie and portrayed the breakdown of the family and the tragedy of young people in a consumer society. He is also known as a writer of novellas, which have appeared in the collections Common Grave (1939) and Eve’s Gesture (1964). Troyat’s plays include The Living (1946) and Sébastien (1949).


Gogol. Paris [1971].
Le Carnet vert et autres nouvelles. Moscow, 1974.
In Russian translation:
“Sneg v traure.” Moskva, 1965, no. 9.
“Anna Predail’.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1975, no. 8.


Gannes, G. “Henri Troyat.” In his book Messieurs les best-sellers. Paris [1966].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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I also dived into Henri Troyat's two-volume biography about Lev Tolstoy because it was in the shelves at home, in much the same way I read the Hardy boys or the Bobsey children or the Nancy Drew books.
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Cote biographie historique, c'est un voyage exceptionnel dans la Russie tsariste du XIXe siecle avec Alexandre 1er et Nicolas 1 er du maitre du genre Henry Troyat. Ce penchant pour l'histoire est accentue par la presence dans mes affaires des derniers numeros de l'excellente revue Zamane, dont le dernier numero en arabe ne manque pas de sensations fortes etant entierement dedie au sexe dans la religion musulmane (cela me rappelle que le numero d'ete des Cahiers du cinema est consacre a l'erotisme- sauf qu'il n'a pas encore ete distribuechez nous.
I just finished Henri Troyat's biography of Chekhov, which was outstanding!
The five would be Richard Ellmann's Joyce, Henri Troyat's Tolstoy (which Mailer told me was the best biography he had ever read), Justin Kaplan's Walt Whitman, Michael Millgate's Thomas Hardy, and Edel's Henry James.
As Tolstoy's biographer, Henri Troyat, perceptively observes of Tolstoy's subsequent alteration of the plot, it was as if "the characters began to impose their own wills on the author [and] the theme veered off in another direction." It is in this context that Tolstoy's favorite maxim--from Goethe's Faust--becomes so clear: "Glaubst zu shieben und wirst geschoben" ("You think you are pushing, but you are being pushed").