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Jonathan Littell


Jonathan Littell suddenly became a phenomenon in 2006 when he, an American author, published a 900+ page novel in French. He became even more of a phenomenon when he won the prestigious Prix Goncourt for the book. He was born in 1967 in New York, son of the writer Robert Littell. He grew up in France, though went to Yale University. After university, he worked for Action Against Hunger, travelling to countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya and Congo. In 2001 he left to work on Les Bienveillantes (The Kindly Ones), a novel about Nazi Germany, the Eastern Front and the Holocasut (Littell is descended from Polish Jews). The book received much acclaim but has also been heavily criticised, probably in part because Littell is American. Paul-Éric Blanrue (link in French) even wrote a book about it and a 120 page critique of Littell’s French (in French; rtf format). Get a life, Paul-Éric! Littell became a French citizen in 2007.

Other links

Jonathan Littell
Pourquoi écrire en anglais?
Reactions to German translation of Les Bienveillantes
An American novelist scandalizes France
American Novelist Becomes French Citizen
Jonathan Littell (in French)
Jonathan Littell (in French)
En suivant Littell… (in French)
Jonathan Littell et ses anglicismes… La conjuration des imbéciles (in French)
Interview (in French)
Interview (in French)
Interview (in French)


1989 Bad Voltage: A Fantasy in 4/4
2006 Les Bienveillantes (The Kindly Ones)
2006 The Security Organs of the Russian Federation – A Brief History 1991-2005
2007 L’attente (with drawings by Nathalie Bourdreux)
2008 Le sec et l’humide : une brève incursion en territoire fasciste (The Damp and the Dry)
2008 Georgisches Reisetagebuch
2008 Etudes (Etudes)(English translation in Fata Morgana)
2009 Récit sur Rien ((Story About Nothing) English translation in Fata Morgana)
2009 Tchétchénie, An III
2010 En Pièces (In Quarters) (English translation in Fata Morgana)
2011 Triptyque: trois études sur Francis Bacon (Triptych: Three Studies After Francis Bacon)
2011 The Invisible Enemy
2012 Une vieille histoire (An Old Story) (English translation in Fata Morgana)
2013 The Fata Morgana Books (contains translation of tudes (Etudes); Récit sur Rien ((Story About Nothing); In Pièces (In Quarters); (original version))
2015 Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Uprising
2018 Une vieille histoire (nouvelle version) (An Old Story) (updated and longer version of original version – translation forthcoming)
2019 Les récits de Fata Morgana (The Fata Morgana Books)
2023 Un endroit inconvénient (non-fiction with Antoine d’Agata)