[bleyz; Fr. blez]
Cendrars, Blaise, 1887-1961, Swiss-born French writer whose real name was Frédéric Sauser. He was at various times an art critic, a journalist, and a film director, and he traveled widely, notably in China and Africa. Before World War I, he was associated with Apollinaire, Picasso, and Braque, his poetry conveying a flood of images and emotions that reflected cubist principles. During the war he lost an arm fighting with the Foreign Legion. Later, he wrote fast-paced adventure novels with an exuberant, jazzlike cadence. Cendrars' writing anticipated both surrealism and the nouveau roman, and he had a strong influence on Apollinaire. His works include a collection of poems, Du Monde entier (1919) and the novels L'Or (1925, tr. Sutter's Gold, 1926) and Moravagine (1926, tr. 1928).
Pascal, Blaise, 1623-62, French scientist and religious philosopher. Studying under the direction of his father, a civil servant, Pascal showed great precocity, especially in mathematics and science. Before he was 16 he wrote a paper on conic sections which won the respect of the mathematicians of Paris; at 19 he invented a calculating machine. Credited with founding the modern theory of probability, Pascal also discovered the properties of the cycloid and contributed to the advance of differential calculus. In physics his experiments increased knowledge of atmospheric pressure through barometric measurements and of the equilibrium of fluids (see Pascal's law). As a young man, Pascal came under the influence of Jansenism, and in 1651 his sister Jacqueline, who had also embraced Jansenist beliefs, entered the convent at Port-Royal, the center of the movement. As a result of the death of his father and of his own narrow escape from death, Pascal in 1654 experienced what he called a "conversion" and thereafter turned much of his attention to religion. When Antoine Arnauld, a noted Jansenist, was attacked by the Jesuits, Pascal championed him in his Lettre escrite à un provincial (1656). Those Provincial Letters, rendered into Latin, quickly circulated throughout Europe, and they still hold a leading place in the literature of polite irony. Pascal's religious writings were posthumously published as Pensées de M. Pascal sur la religion et sur quelques autres sujets (1670). For a modern edition see Thoughts: An Apology for Christianity (tr. 1955). In the Pensées, famous both as a religious and philosophical classic, Pascal states his belief in the inadequacy of reason to solve man's difficulties or to satisfy his hopes. He preached instead the final necessity of mystic faith for true understanding of the universe and its meaning to man.

See biographies by A. J. Krailsheimer (1980), H. H. Davidson (1983); studies by E. Cailliet (1944, repr. 1973), R. Hazelton (1974), and S. E. Melzer (1986).

Compaoré, Blaise, 1951-, Burkinabe military and political leader, president of Burkina Faso (1987-), b. Ouagadougou. An army captain and minister of justice under President Thomas Sankara, he led the 1987 coup in which Sankara was killed, and for the next four years headed a military government. Running unopposed as a civilian, he won the 1991 presidental election and was reelected in 1998 and 2005. His regime has been marked by an expanded private sector, increased foreign investment, and greater political stability. Although there have been some democratic reforms, he has implicated in human-rights abuses, including the death of a reporter. Also, Burkina Faso has had frequent conflicts with neighboring Côte d'Ivoire.

See biography by J. R. Guion (1991).

L'Hôpital-Saint-Blaise (Ospitalepea) is a small village and commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of southwestern France.

It is located in the former province of Soule.


The 12th century Romanesque church of L'Hôpital-Saint-Blaise has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.

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