Born Oct. 16, 1907, in Acy-en-Multien, Oise Department; died May 12, 1965, near the city of Bourg-en-Bresse. French writer and public figure.
Vailland joined the French Communist Party in 1952. He published the surrealistic journal Grand jeu (1927). Vailland was a participant in and chronicler of the Resistance Movement (the novel Strange Game, 1945). After Vailland became disenchanted with modernism (the essay Surrealism Against the Revolution, 1948), he found in realism the possibilities for refined psychological analysis (the novel Blows to the Back, 1948), historical substantiation of the ideas and actions of a 20th-century man (the novel A Young Man Alone, 1951), pronouncing a verdict against the military (the play Colonel Foster Admits His Guilt, 1951; Russian translation, 1952), and expressing sympathy for millions of fellahin (the sketches What I Saw in Egypt, 1952; Russian translation, 1953). Vailland visited the USSR in 1953.
In the novel Beau Masque (1954; in Russian translation, Pierrette Amable, 1956), Vailland presented a penetrating examination of all the classes of French society and put proletarian solidarity and the human grandeur of his heroes in the foreground. According to Vailland the solitary pursuit of happiness is a trap for the worker (the novel 325,000 Francs, 1955). Having undergone a spiritual crisis and having lost his historical optimism, Vailland limited himself in his last works to a naturalistic anatomy of individual passions (the novels The Law, 1957 and The Holiday, 1960) and psychological incidents (the novel The Trout, 1964). But even during his last years Vailland protested against bourgeois obscurantism (the collection of essays The Cold Look, 1963).
WORKSEcrits intimes. Paris, 1968.
In Russian translation:
“325,000 frankov.” Zvezda, 1956, no. 7.
REFERENCESEvnina, E. M. Sovremennyi frantsuzskii roman, 1940-1960. Moscow, 1962.
Biblio, 1959, no. 10. (Issue devoted to Vailland.)
F. N. “Roger Vailland.” France Nouvelle, 1965, May 19-25, no. 1022.
Brochier, J. J. R. Vailland. Paris, 1969.
V. P. BALASHOV