Jean Giraudoux

Jean Giraudoux

[zheer-uh-doo, zheer-uh-doo; Fr. zhee-roh-doo]
Giraudoux, Jean, 1882-1944, French novelist and dramatist. He was a prolific writer and combined his literary work with a long and successful diplomatic career. His early novels, which display his impressionistic, fanciful style, include Les Provinciales (1909) and Suzanne and the Pacific (1921, tr. 1923). Amica America (1919) relates a stay in the United States. In 1928, Giraudoux launched his dramatic career with Siegfried (tr. 1930), an adaptation of his novel Siegfried et le Limousin (1922, tr. My Friend from Limousin, 1923). Most of his subsequent plays, including Amphitryon 38 (1929, tr. 1937), La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu (1935, tr. Tiger at the Gates, 1955), and Électre (1937), are imaginative modern reinterpretations of Greek myths, satirizing selfishness, greed, and moral frailty. The Madwoman of Chaillot (1945, tr. 1947) is a bitter satire on 20th-century materialism.

See studies by R. Cohen (1968, repr. 1970), G. Lemaitre (1971), and Paul Mankin (1971).

Hippolyte Jean Giraudoux (August 15, 1882January 31, 1944) was a French novelist, essayist, diplomat and playwright. He is considered among the most important French dramatists of the period between World War I and World War II.


Born in Bellac, Haute-Vienne, Giraudoux's father, Léger Giraudoux, worked for the Ministry of Transportation. Giraudoux studied at the Lycée Lakanal, in Paris and upon graduation traveled extensively around Europe. After his return to France in 1910, Giraudoux accepted a position with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the outbreak of World War I, he served with honors and in 1915 he became the first writer ever to be awarded the wartime Legion of Honor.

He was married in 1918, and in the subsequent period between the two World Wars Giraudoux produced the majority of his writing. He first achieved literary success through several of his novels, notably Siegfried et le Limousin (1922) and Eglantine (1927), but it is his plays that gained him international renown. A meeting with Louis Jouvet, in 1928, stimulated his writing.

Before World War II he published in 1939 a highly antisemitic political essay called "Pleins pouvoirs" (Full power).

He is buried in the Cimetière de Passy in Paris.

Partial listing of works

French Wikipedia has a page on Jean Giraudoux.



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