Giraudoux, Jean


Giraudoux, Jean

▪ French author
born Oct. 29, 1882, Bellac, Fr.
died Jan. 31, 1944, Paris

      French novelist, essayist, and playwright who created an impressionistic form of drama by emphasizing dialogue and style rather than realism.

      Giraudoux was educated at the École Normale Superiéure and made the diplomatic service his career. He became known as an avant-garde writer with a group of early poetic novels, such as Suzanne et le Pacifique (1921). Although those works were generally considered difficult, farfetched, and precious, other works soon appeared. In Siegfried et le Limousin (1922), Giraudoux depicts in silhouette, as it were, the hostility between two enemies, France and Germany, as a background to his story of a man who suffers from amnesia. Bella (1926) is a love story behind which can be glimpsed the rivalry between two statesmen, a nationalist and an internationalist. Thus, what was to become the central theme of Giraudoux's plays was made clear: a pair of opposites, whatever they might be—man and God in Amphitryon 38 (1929), man and woman in Sodome et Gomorrhe (1943), or the world of paganism and the world of the Old Testament in Judith (1931).

      Giraudoux's theatrical career began in 1928 with Siegfried, a dramatization of his own novel, which introduced the actor and director Louis Jouvet, with whom Giraudoux was associated until World War II. It is notable that apart from Intermezzo (1933), in which a timid ghost revolutionizes a small provincial town until a romantic little schoolteacher restores order, Giraudoux never worked on an original subject: he sought inspiration in classical or biblical tradition as in Électre (1937) and Cantique des cantiques (1938; “Song of Songs”). He adapted Margaret Kennedy's novel The Constant Nymph in Tessa, la nymphe au coeur fidèle (1934) and La Motte-Fouqué's fairy tale of a water sprite who loves a mortal man as Ondine (1939).

      Among Giraudoux's other important works combining tragedy, humour, and fantasy rendered in a style of exceptional virtuosity are La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu (1935; Eng. adaptation by Christopher Fry, Tiger at the Gates) and La Folle de Chaillot (1946, Eng. adaptation by Maurice Valency, The Madwoman of Chaillot), in which a tribunal of elderly, eccentric Parisian ladies, assisted by a ragpicker, wipe out a world of speculators. He also wrote the scripts to two films: La Duchesse de Langeais (1942) and Les Anges du péché (1944).

      In his plays Giraudoux tries to resolve the conflict between opposites by bringing them into contact. By this means he explores such fundamental dualities as war and peace, life and death, man and woman, and finally the meaning of human destiny. He treats these serious themes, however, not through the realistic depiction of psychological conflict but rather through a process of investigation, discussion, and reflection that is communicated to the audience through his characters' recitatives and badinage. Giraudoux's language is lyrical, poetic, and rich with metaphors, paradoxes, and allusions. The sense of humour so evident in his plays is marked by brilliant wit and a devastating sense of the absurd.

      Giraudoux served in World War I and was awarded the Legion of Honour. From 1939 to 1940 he served as commissioner of information in the French government.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Giraudoux, Jean — (1882 1944)    writer, diplomat    Born in Bellac, Jean Giraudox, whose impressionistic style of writing helped to change the canons of realism in the French theater, studied in Paris and Munich, Germany. in 1910, he entered the foreign service,… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Giraudoux, Jean — ► (1882 1944) Escritor francés. Cultivó la novela y el teatro. Obras: Anfitrión 38 (1929), Judith (1931) y Sodoma y Gomorra (1943), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Giraudoux — Giraudoux, Jean …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Giraudoux — Jean Hyppolyte Giraudoux (* 29. Oktober 1882 in Bellac, Haute Vienne; † 31. Januar 1944 in Paris) war ein französischer Berufsdiplomat und Schriftsteller. Als dieser war er vor allem für die Entwicklung des französischen Theaters der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Giraudoux — (Jean) (1882 1944) écrivain et diplomate français: Siegfried et le Limousin (1922), Bella (1926), etc. Théâtre: La guerre de Troie n aura pas lieu (1935), électre (1937), la Folle de Chaillot (posth., 1945) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jean Giraudoux — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Giraudoux. Jean Giraudoux Giraudoux vers …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean-Pierre Giraudoux — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Giraudoux. Jean Pierre Giraudoux Parlementaire français Date de naissance 29 décembre 1919 Date de décès 9 juin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean Racine — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Racine. Racine Portrait de Racine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean Giraudoux — Jean Hyppolyte Giraudoux (* 29. Oktober 1882 in Bellac, Haute Vienne; † 31. Januar 1944 in Paris) war ein französischer Berufsdiplomat und Schriftsteller. Als solcher war er vor allem für die Entwicklung des französischen Theaters der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jean-louis barrault — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Barrault. Théâtre Par catégories …   Wikipédia en Français


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