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Vercors(vĕrkôr`), 1902–91, French writer and illustrator, whose original name was Jean Bruller. Vercors served in the French resistance movement and helped to found Les Éditions de Minuit, which began as an underground publishing firm. For them he wrote Le Silence de la mer (1942, tr. The Silence of the Sea, 1944). This story and the later La marche à l'étoile (1943) deal with the moral impossibility of collaboration with the Germans. Among his many later works are Les Yeux et la lumière (1948), Sylva (1961, tr. 1962), Quota (1966, tr. 1966), and Sillages (1972).
(pseudonym of Jean Bruller). Born Feb. 26, 1902, in Paris. French writer and painter.
Vercors is the son of a publisher; by education he is an engineer. In 1935 he drew sketches on current events that were printed in the Popular Front weekly Vendredi. He had a premonition of the threat of a new war (the album of prints The Encouraging Faces of the War, 1936) but was prevented from actively opposing it by pacifist illusions and a skeptical interpretation of history and the meaning of human existence (the cycle of prints The Dance of the Living, 1932-38). World War II and the capitulation of France in 1940 shattered his metaphysical aloofness. He and P. de Lescure founded the underground Midnight Press in Paris. In the Midnight Press he published, under the name of Vercors (the name of the wooded foothills of the Alps), the novella The Silence of the Sea (written in 1941 and published in 1942; Russian translation, 1959—a literary manifesto of a spiritually unbroken France—as well as the antifascist novella Procession With a Star (1943).
Vercors is a master of the tragic story (“The Verdun Press,” 1947, and “Eyes and Light,” 1948. He is also a witty but sometimes vulnerable moralist (More or Less Man, 1950) and essayist (Wanderings of a Frenchman in China, 1956). The clash of scientific, social, and moral values (the novel Men or Beasts?, 1952; Russian translation, 1957), common characters or extraordinary characters bordering on the anomolous (the cycle of novellas On This Shore, vols. 1-3, 1958-60), and fantasy ideas (the novel Sylva, 1961)—all of this is subordinated in Vercors’ work to the aim of prompting the reader to reflect on whether he should remain aloof from social battles or enter the melee (the novel Anger, 1956) and whether he should follow his conscience or live in the madness of possession and consumption (the satirical novel The Quota, or the Supporters of Abundance, jointly with Coronel, 1966; Russian translation, 1970). At times Vercors expressed the problem of the meaning of human existence abstractly and naturalistically, especially during the crisis periods of his social and political activity (the book of essays P. P. C, 1957). In the periods when his spirits were high, his irony and satire struck down individualism, aggressive ignorance, racist fanaticism, and the decadence of bourgeois ideals. The book of memoirs The Battle of Silence (1967) is devoted to the heroes of the Resistance movement.
WORKSLa Puissance du jour. Paris, 1951.
Les Pas dans le sable. Paris, 1954,
Zoo, ou l’assassin philanthrope. [Paris, 1964.]
Le Radeau de la Méduse. Paris, 1969.
REFERENCESEvnina, E. M. Sovremennyi frantsuzskii roman: 1940-1960. Moscow, 1962.
Sukhomlin, V. “Metod reproduktsii Verkora.” Tvorchestvo, 1957, no. 3.
Cornu, M. “Vercors: Le Radeau de la Méduse.” La Pensée, August 1969, no. 146.
Konstantinović, R. D. Vercors: Ecrivain et dessinateur. Paris, 1969.
V. P. BALASHOV