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Georges Bernanos


Georges Bernanos was born in Paris in 1888. His father was a decorator. He had considered becoming a priest but gave up the idea and studied law and literature at the Sorbonne before his military service. He had very right-wing views, supporting a return to the monarchy as well as being a staunch Catholic. He served in the army during World War I and was wounded several times. In 1917 he married a woman who was allegedly a descendant of the brother of Joan of Arc. They had six children. After the war, he worked in insurance till he was able to make a career out of writing. His novels, most of which were written between 1926 and 1938, dealt with Catholic themes and the struggles of faith. He had also been involved in Action française but left when it was condemned by the Vatican. In 1933 he was injured in an accident and was later evicted from his house because of debts. The family moved to Majorca, as it was cheaper. He was initially supportive of Franco (his son joined the Phalange, before deserting) but later turned against him because of the cruelty of the nationalists.

The family left Spain in 1937 but then moved to South America because of the rise of fascism, finally settling in Brazil. They returned to France after the War where Bernanos turned down both political office and membership in the Académie française. They lived for a while in Tunisia in 1947 but returned to France the following year, as Bernanos’ health was deteriorating. He died the following year. Robert Bresson‘s film of Journal d’un Curé de Campagne (Diary of a Country Priest) won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1951. While still read in France, his Catholicism has meant that his work is not much read abroad.

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Georges Bernanos
Georges Bernanos (1888-1948)
Bernanos, Georges
Georges Bernanos (in French)
Georges Bernanos (in French)
Georges Bernanos (in French)
Georges Bernanos (in French)
Georges Bernanos (in French)


1926 Sous le Soleil de Satan (Star of Satan; Under Satan’s Sun) (novel)
1926 Saint Dominique (essay)
1927 L’lmposture (The Imposter) (novel)
1928 Une nuit (story)
1928 Madame Dargent (story)
1929 La Joie (Joy) (novel)
1929 Jeanne relapse et sainte (Sanctity Will Out) (essay)
1931 La Grande peur des Bien-Pensants (essay)
1935 Un Crime (US: A Crime: UK: The Crime) (novel)
1936 Journal d’un Curé de Campagne (Diary of a Country Priest) (novel)
1937 Nouvelle Histoire de Mouchette (Mouchette) (novel)
1938 Les Grands Cimetières sous la Lune (Diary of My Times) (essay)
1939 Scandale de la Vérité (essay)
1939 Nous autres Français (essay)
1942 Lettre aux Anglais (Letter to the English) (essay)
1943 Monsieur Ouine (The Open Mind; Monsieur Ouine) (novel)
1943 Frère Martin (essay)
1943 Le Chemin de la Croix-des-Âmes (essay)
1944 Ecrits de combat
1946 La France contre les robots (essay)
1949 Dialogues des carmélites (The Fearless Heart; The Carmelites) (drama)
1949 Les Enfants humiliés (Tradition of Freedom) (essay)
1950 Un Mauvais rêve (Night Is Darkest) (novel)
1953 La liberté, pour quoi faire? (essay)
1955 Dialogue d’ombres, nouvelles. Suivies des Premiers essais romanesques (stories/essays)
1965 Le crépuscules des vieux (essays)
1961 Français, si vous saviez… (essay)
1968 The Last Essays of Georges Bernanos
1971 Combat pour la vérité. Correspondance inédite 1904-1934
1971 Combat pour la liberté. Correspondance inédite 1934-1948
1975 La vocation spirituelle de la France
1983 Lettres retrouvées. Correspondance inédite 1904-1948
1983 Les predestines (stories)
1999 The Heroic Face of Innocence: Three Stories
2009 Brésil, terre d’amitié (essay)