Claude Simon


Claude Simon
Claude Simon

Simon in 1985
Born 10 October 1913(1913-10-10)
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Died 6 July 2005(2005-07-06) (aged 91)
Paris, France
Occupation Novelist
Nationality French
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature
1985

Claude Simon (10 October 1913 – 6 July 2005) was a French novelist and the 1985 Nobel Laureate in Literature. He was born in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and died in Paris, France.

His parents were French, his father being a career officer who was killed in the First World War. He grew up with his mother and her family in Perpignan in the middle of the wine district of Roussillon. Among his ancestors was a general from the time of the French Revolution.

After secondary school at Collège Stanislas in Paris and brief sojourns at Oxford and Cambridge he took courses in painting at the André Lhote Academy. He then travelled extensively through Spain, Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy and Greece. This experience as well as those from the Second World War show up in his literary work. At the beginning of the war Claude Simon took part in the battle of the Meuse (1940) and was taken prisoner. He managed to escape and joined the resistance movement. At the same time he completed his first novel, Le Tricheur ("The Cheat", published in 1946), which he had started to write before the war.

He lived in Paris and use to spend part of the year at Salses in the Pyrenees.

In 1961 Claude Simon received the prize of l'Express for "La Route des Flandres" and in 1967 the Médicis prize for "Histoire". The University of East Anglia made him honorary doctor in 1973.

Contents

Style and influences

Simon is often identified with the nouveau roman movement exemplified in the works of Alain Robbe-Grillet and Michel Butor, and while his fragmented narratives certainly contain some of the formal disruption characteristic of that movement (in particular Triptyque from 1973), he nevertheless retains a strong sense of narrative and character. In fact, Simon arguably has much more in common with his Modernist predecessors than with his contemporaries; in particular, the works of Marcel Proust and William Faulkner are a clear influence. Simon's use of self-consciously long sentences (often stretching across many pages and with parentheses sometimes interrupting a clause which is only completed pages later) can be seen to reference Proust's own style, and Simon morever makes use of certain Proustian settings (in La Route des Flandres, for example, the narrator's captain de Reixach is shot by a sniper concealed behind a hawthorn hedge or haie d'aubépines, a reference to the meeting between Gilberte and the narrator across a hawthorn hedge in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu). The Faulknerian influence is evident in the novels' extensive use of a fractured timelime with frequent and potentially disorienting analepsis (moments of chronological discontinuity), and of an extreme form of free indirect speech in which narrative voices (often unidentified) and streams of consciousness bleed into the words of the narrator. The ghost of Faulkner looms particularly large in 1989's L'Acacia, which uses a number of non-sequential calendar dates covering a wide chronological period in lieu of chapter headings, a device borrowed from Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.

Themes

Despite these influences, Simon's work is thematically and stylistically highly original. War is a constant and central theme (indeed it is present in one form or another in almost all of Simon's published works), and Simon often contrasts various individuals' experiences of different historical conflicts in a single novel; World War I and the Second World War in L'Acacia (which also takes into account the impact of war on the widows of soldiers), the French Revolutionary Wars and the Second World War in Les Géorgiques. In addition, many of the novels deal with the notion of family history, those myths and legends which are passed down through generations and which conspire in Simon's work to affect the protagonists' lives. In this regard, the novels make use of a number of leitmotifs which recur in different combinations between novels (a technique also employed by Marguerite Duras), in particular the suicide of an eighteenth-century ancestor and the death of a contemporary relative by sniper-fire. Finally, almost all of Simon's novels feature horses; Simon was himself an accomplished equestrian, and fought in a mounted regiment during WWII (the ridiculousness of mounted soldiers fighting in a mechanised war is a major theme of La Route des Flandres and Les Géorgiques).

Simon's principal obsession, however, is with the ways in which humans experience time (another Modernist fascination). The novels often dwell on images of old-age, such as the decaying 'LSM' or the old woman (that 'flaccid and ectoplasmic Cassandra') in Les Géorgiques, which are frequently seen through the uncomprehending eyes of childhood. Simon's use of family history equally attempts to show how individuals exist in history—that is, how they might feel implicated in the lives and stories of their ancestors who died long ago.

Works

  • Le Tricheur/The Cheat 1945
  • La Corde Raide/The Tightrope 1947
  • Gulliver 1952
  • Le Sacre du printemps/The Anointment of Spring 1954
  • Le vent. Tentative de restitution d 'un rétable baroque/The Wind. Attempted Restoration of a Baroque Altarpiece 1957
  • L'Herbe/The Grass 1958
  • La Route des Flandres/The Flanders Road 1960
  • Le Palace/The Palace 1962
  • La Separation/The Separation 1963 (Play adapted from the novel L'Herbe)
  • Femmes/Women. Ill by Joan Miró. - New edition La Chevelure de Bérénice/Berenice's Hair 1984
  • Histoire/Story 1967
  • La Bataille de Pharsale/The Battle of Pharsalus 1969
  • Orion aveugle. Essai/Blind Orion. Essay 1970
  • Les Corps conducteurs/Conducting Bodies 1971
  • Triptyque/Triptych 1973
  • Leçon de choses/Lesson in Things 1975
  • Les Géorgiques/The Georgics 1981
  • L'Invitation/The Invitation 1987
  • L'Acacia/The Acacia 1989
  • Le jardin des plantes/The Garden of Plants 1997
  • Le tramway/The Trolley 2001
  • Œuvres, Collection Pléiade, Gallimard 2006 [with Le Vent. Tentative de restitution d'un retable baroque (1957), La Route des Flandres (1960), Le Palace (1962), La Bataille de Pharsale (1969), La Chevelure de Bérénice (Reprise du texte Femmes, 1972), Triptyque (1973), "le Discours de Stockholm" (1986, texte prononcé à l'occasion de la remise du Prix Nobel) and Le Jardin des Plantes (1997)]

Bibliography

  • Karen L. Gould, Claude Simon’s Mythic Muse (French Literature Publications, 1979). ISBN 978-9996779565
  • Orion Blinded: Essays on Claude Simon. Karen L. Gould and R. Birn, editors. (Bucknell University Press, 1981).
  • Mireille Calle-Gruber, Claude Simon, une vie à écrire, Paris, Ed. du Seuil, 2011

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Claude Simon — (* 10. Oktober 1913 in Tananarive, Madagaskar; † 6. Juli 2005 in Paris) war ein französischer Schriftsteller. Er erhielt 1985 den Nobelpreis für Literatur. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Simons Literatur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Claude Simon — (Antananarivo, 10 de octubre de 1913 París, 6 de julio de 2005) fue un escritor francés, considerado uno de los padres del nouveau roman. Ganó el Premio Nobel de Literatura en 1985 por la calidad de sus novelas, “que combinan la creatividad del… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Claude Simon — (Tananarive, 10 de octubre de 1913 Paris, 6 de julio de 2005). Escritor francés considerado uno de los padres del nouveau roman. Ganó el Premio Nobel de Literatura en 1985 por la calidad de sus novelas, “que combinan la creatividad del poeta y la …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Claude Simon — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Simon. Claude Simon Activités romancier Naissance 10 octobre 1913 Tananarive, Madagascar …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean-Claude Simon (homme politique) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Jean Claude Simon (homonymie). Jean Claude SIMON Mandats Député de la Haute Loire (2e) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean-Claude Simon — est un des pionniers de la télécommunication par amplificateurs optiques. Il est né à Dalat, Viêt Nam, en 1948. Après son doctorat de 3e cycle en 1975 à l université d Orsay il obtint un doctorat d État en 1983 à l université de Nice. Il intégra… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean-claude simon — est un des pionniers de la télécommunication par amplificateurs optiques. Il est né à Dalat, Viêt Nam, en 1948. Après son doctorat de 3e cycle en 1975 à l université d Orsay il obtint un doctorat d État en 1983 à l université de Nice. Il intégra… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Literaturnobelpreis 1985: Claude Simon —   Simon wurde für seine Romane ausgezeichnet, in denen er das Schaffen eines Dichters und Malers mit einem vertieften Zeitbewusstsein in der Schilderung menschlicher Grundbedingungen vereint.    Biografie   Claude Simon, * Antananarivo… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Jean-Claude Simon (scientifique) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Jean Claude Simon (homonymie). Jean Claude Simon est un des pionniers de la télécommunication par amplificateurs optiques. Il est né à Dalat, Viêt Nam, en 1948. Après son doctorat de 3e cycle en 1975 à l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean-Claude Simon — is one of the pioneers in the field of semiconductoroptical amplifiers. Since 1998 he is Permanent professor at ENSSAT / University of Rennes1. Director of FOTON, research department in Optics and Optoelectronics for Telecom, affiliated to CNRS.… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.