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Jean Giono

Biography

Jean Giono was born in Manosque in 1895. His father was an anarchist cobbler of Italian origin. As the family was not well-off, Jean had to leave school early and went to work in a bank. During World War I, he was called up and fought at Verdun. His eyes were affected by gas but his best friend was killed. His experiences turned him into a pacifist and this will be seen in some of his work. After the war, he resumed his job at the bank. His father died shortly afterwards. By now, he had started writing and worked on a novel called Angélique, which was never finished and published posthumously. However, some of his poems were published in magazines. He then finished a novel – Naissance de l’Odyssée – a retelling of the Greek myth of Odysseus, but it was rejected and was only published later. However his first novel published – Colline (Hill of Destiny) – was very successful and was praised highly by André Gide. He was able to leave his job at the bank and become a full-time writer. He went on to publish a series of successful novels, as well as poems, plays, newspaper articles and essays. Le Grand Troupeau (To the Slaughterhouse) was a novel highly critical of the slaughter of World War I.

Because of his pacifism, he was arrested in 1939 at the start of the war as being pro-Nazi but was soon released. He changed his style, being more influenced by Stendhal than by the classics, as had been the case with his earlier novels. He even tried to write a Balzacian Comédie humaine but this was only partially achieved. After the war, he was again considered one of the greatest French writers. He died in 1970 in his birth town of Manosque. He will be most remembered for his earlier beautiful, lyrical novels of rural France though his later novels show a certain bitterness, possibly because of his unhappy wartime experiences.

Other sites

Jean Giono
Jean Giono
Jean Giono (in French)
Jean Giono (in French)
Jean Giono le voyageur immobile (in French)
Centre Jean Giono (in French)

Bibliography

1923 Accompagné de la flute (poetry)
1929 Colline (Hill of Destiny; later: Hill) (novel)
1929 Un de Baumugnes (Lovers are Never Losers) (novel)
1930 Naissance de l’Odyssée (novel)
1930 Présentation de Pan (essays)
1930 Regain (Harvest; later: Second Harvest) (novel)
1931 Le Grand Troupeau (To the Slaughterhouse) (novel)
1931 Manosque-des-plateaux (essays)
1932 Jean le Bleu (Blue Boy) (novel)
1932 Solitude de la pitié (Solitude of Compassion) (novel)
1933 Le Serpent d’Etoiles (The Serpent of Stars) (essays)
1934 Le Chant du monde (The Song of the World) (novel)
1936 Les Vraies Richesses (essays)
1936 Que ma joie demeure (Joy of Man’s Desiring) (novel)
1937 Batailles dans la montagne (novel)
1937 Refus d’obéissance (essays)
1938 Le Poids du ciel (essays)
1938 Lettre aux paysans sur la pauvreté et la paix (essays)
1939 Précisions (essays)
1939 Recherche de la pureté (essays)
1941 Pour saluer Melville (novel)
1941 Triomphe de la vie (essays)
1943 L’eau vive (novel)
1943 Le bout de la Route – Lanceur de Graines – La Femme du boulanger (drama)
1947 Un roi sans divertissement (novel)
1947 Le Voyage en caliche (drama)
1947 Noé (fiction)
1948 Fragments d’un paradis (novel)
1949 Les Âmes fortes (novel)
1949 Mort d’un personnage (novel)
1951 Le Hussard sur le toit (US/UK: The Horseman on the Roof; UK: The Hussar on the Roof) (novel)
1951 Les Grands Chemins (novel)
1952 Le Moulin de Pologne (The Malediction) (novel)
1953 L’Homme qui plantait des arbres (The Man Who Planted Trees) (novel)
1953 Voyage en Italie (An Italian Journey) (essays)
1955 Notes sur l’affaire Dominici suivi de Essai sur les caractères des personnages (The Dominici Affair) (essays)
1957 Le Bonheur fou (The Straw Man) (novel)
1958 Angelo (Angelo) (novel)
1958 Hortense ou l’Eau vive (novel)
1959 Domitien, suivi de Joseph à Dothan (drama)
1963 Le Désastre de Pavie (The Battle of Pavia, 24th February, 1525) (essays)
1965 Deux cavaliers de l’orage (Two Riders on the Storm) (novel)
1966 Le Déserteur (novel)
1968 Ennemonde et Autres Caractères (Ennemonde: A Novel) (novel)
1969 La Chute des Anges, Fragment d’un Déluge, Le Cœur-Cerf (poetry)
1970 L’Iris de Suse (novel)
1972 Les Récits de la demi-brigade (novel)
1974 Le Cheval fou (drama)
1976 Les Terrasses de l’Ile d’Elbe (essays)
1977 Faust au village (novel)
1980 Angélique (novel)
1982 Cœur, Passions, Caractères (novel)
1982 Dragoon suivi d’Olympe (novel)
1984 Les Trois Arbres de Palzem (essays)
1986 De Homère à Machiavel (essays)
1987 Images d’un jour de pluie et autres récits de jeunesse (essays)
1988 La Chasse au Bonheur (essays)
1991 Le Bestiaire – Ramsay (novel)
1993 Provence (essays)
1993 Le noyau d’abricot et autres contes (stories)
1995 Les Héraclides (essays)
1998 De Montluc à la”Série Noire” (essays)
2001 Pistes pour le bonheur (miscellaneous posthumous works)
2001 Virgile ou les palais de l’Atlantide (novel)