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Alain-Fournier was born Henri Alban Fournier in 1886 in Chapelle d’Angillon. His parents were teachers. When he was twelve, he was sent to school in Paris, staying at a friend of his grandmother. In 1901 he went to school in Brest to prepare for naval school but dropped out. He continued his studies at different schools. In 1903, he met Jacques Rivière and they became close friends. In 1905, a key moment in his life occurred. He saw a beautiful woman – Yvonne de Quiévrecourt – and never forgot her. He met her a couple of times later but she married and had children. She was to influence his key work.

After a spell in England, he returned to France to try for the exams to gain admission to the Ecole normale but failed. From 1907 to 1909 he did his military service. During this time, he was doing some writing while learning about Yvonne de Quiévrecourt’s marriage and then her having children. After military service, he continued to publish smaller pieces but he had started thinking of the book that would become Le Grand Meaulnes (Le Grand Meaulnes). It was finally published in 1913. He was working on another novel and a play, when World War I started. He was called up and promoted to lieutenant. Soon after – 1st September 1914 – he was reported missing in action.

Books about Alain-Fournier

Robert Gibson: The End of Youth: the Life and Work of Alain-Fournier
Violaine Massenet: Alain-Fournier (in French)
Alain Rivière: Alain-Fournier: Alain-Fournier, les chemins d’une vie (in French)
Pierre Suire: Alain-Fournier: Au miroir du Grand Meaulnes (in French)

Other sites

Alain-Fournier’s Colombe Blanchet (includes translation of the text)
Alain-Fournier (in French)
Alain-Fournier (in French)
Alain-Fournier (in French)(1886-1914) (in French)
Alain-Fournier (1886-1914) (in French)
Alain-Fournier et Saint-Remy-la-Calonne (where he died (they claim to have found his body) – in French)
Alain-Fournier à La Chapelle d’Angillon et Nançay (in French)


1913 Le Grand Meaulnes (Le Grand Meaulnes; Big Meaulnes; The Wanderer; The End of Youth; The Lost Domain)
1924 Miracles (poetry)
1990 Colombe Blanchet – Esquisses d’un second roman inédit