Simon, Claude


Simon, Claude
▪ 2006
Claude Eugène Henri Simon 
      French author (b. Oct. 10, 1913, Tananarive [now Antananarivo], Madagascar—d. July 6, 2005, Paris, France), avoided traditional literary convention—plot, chronology, and character development—to craft challenging works that made him a leading figure in the French nouveau roman (“new novel,” or antinovel) movement and earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1985. Simon grew up in France and studied in Paris and at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. His wartime experiences informed many of his works, including his first novel, Le Tricheur (1945). Simon, who was influenced by William Faulkner and Marcel Proust, used stream of consciousness, detailed descriptions, and dense prose (typically lacking punctuation and often employing sentences more than 1,000 words in length) as he sought to depict the human condition. His works became prominent examples of the nouveau roman and were praised for their creativity and lyricism. Perhaps his most important creation was a cycle of novels that featured recurring characters—L'Herbe (1958), La Route des Flandres (1960), Le Palace (1962), and Histoire (1967), the latter of which was awarded the Prix Médicis.

* * *

▪ French author
in full  Claude Eugène Henri Simon  
born October 10, 1913, Tananarive [now Antananarivo], Madagascar
died July 6, 2005, Paris, France

      writer whose works are among the most authentic representatives of the French nouveau roman (New Novel) (“new novel”) that emerged in the 1950s. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1985.

      The son of a cavalry officer who was killed in World War I, Simon was raised by his mother in Perpignan, France. After studies at Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge, he traveled widely and then fought in World War II. He was captured by the Germans in May 1940, escaped, and joined the French Resistance, managing to complete his first novel, Le Tricheur (1945; “The Trickster”), during the war years. Later he settled in his hometown in southern France, where he bought a vineyard and produced wine.

      In Le Vent (1957; The Wind) Simon defined his goals: to challenge the fragmentation of his time and to rediscover the permanence of objects and people, evidenced by their survival through the upheavals of contemporary history. He treated the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War in La Corde raide (1947; “The Taut Rope”) and Le Sacre du printemps (1954; “The Rite of Spring”) and the 1940 collapse of France in Le Tricheur. Four novels—L'Herbe (1958; The Grass), La Route des Flandres (1960; The Flanders Road), La Palace (1962; The Palace), and Histoire (1967)—constitute a cycle containing recurring characters and events. Many critics consider these novels, especially La Route des Flandres, to be his most important work. Later novels include La Bataille de Pharsale (1969; The Battle of Pharsalus), Triptyque (1973; Triptych), Les Géorgiques (1981; The Georgics), and Le Tramway (2001; The Trolley).

      Simon's style is a mixture of narration and stream of consciousness, lacking all punctuation and heavy with 1,000-word sentences. Through such masses of words, Simon attempted to capture the very progression of life. His novels remain readable despite their seeming chaos.

Additional Reading
Critical studies of Simon's work include Randi Birn and Karen Gould (eds.), Orion Blinded: Essays on Claude Simon (1981), analyses of his works and of his stature in the literary community; Alastair Duncan (ed.), Claude Simon: New Directions (1985); Ralph Sarkonak, Understanding Claude Simon (1990), on his novels; Celia Britton (ed.), Claude Simon (1993); and Alastair Duncan, Claude Simon: Adventures in Words (1994), essays on Simon's works and their critical reception.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Simon, Claude — (1913 )    writer, Nobel laureate    Born in Tananarive, Madagascar, Claude Simon, the son of a French army officer, was brought up by his mother in Perpignan and educated in Paris and England. using a stream of consciousness effect, with… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Simon, Claude — ► (n. 1913) Escritor francés. Fue un representante del nouveau roman. Fue premio Nobel de Literatura en 1985. Obras: El viento (1957), Tríptico (1973), La invitación (1987), La acacia (1989) y Le tramway (2001), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Simon-Claude Mimouni — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mimouni. Simon Claude Mimouni, né le 26 avril 1949 à Bône (Annaba) en Algérie[1], est un écrivain français spécialisé dans le domaine de l histoire des religions, notamment du christianisme et d …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Simon-claude constant-dufeux — (1801 1870) est un architecte français. Il étudie à l école des Beaux arts, où il est élève de François Debret. Il emporte le Grand prix de Rome en 1829. En 1851, il est chargé, sur la proposition de Questel, des travaux de restauration du Temple …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Simon-Claude Constant-Dufeux — (1801 1870) est un architecte français. Il étudie à l école des Beaux arts, où il est élève de François Debret. Il emporte le Grand prix de Rome en 1829. En 1851, il est chargé, sur la proposition de Questel, des travaux de restauration du Temple …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Simon Claude Mimouni — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mimouni. Simon Claude Mimouni, né le 26 avril 1949 à Bône (Annaba) en Algérie[1], est un écrivain français spécialisé dans le domaine de l histoire des religions, notamment du christianisme et du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Simon, Claude (-Eugène-Henri) — born Oct. 10, 1913, Tananarive, Madag. French writer. Captured while fighting in World War II, he escaped to join the French Resistance. He completed his first novel during the war. His works, mixing narration and stream of consciousness in… …   Universalium

  • Simon, Claude (-Eugène-Henri) — (10 oct. 1913, Antananarivo, Madagascar–6 jul. 2005, París, Francia). Escritor francés. Durante la segunda guerra mundial fue capturado por los alemanes, pero logró escapar y se unió a la resistencia francesa. Terminó su primera novela durante la …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Saint-Simon, Claude-Henri de Rouvroy, count de — (1760 1825)    philosopher, economist    A distant cousin of louis de rouvroy, duke de saint simon, Claude Henri de Rouvroy, count de Saint Simon was born in Paris and served as a military officer in the American War of Independence. Returning to …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Saint-Simon, Claude-Henri de Rouvroy — (1760–1825) French social philosopher and founding father of socialism. After considerable political activity during the French revolution, Saint Simon founded the journal L’Industrie . His experience in the revolution led him to perceive that… …   Philosophy dictionary


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.