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André Maurois


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French biographer, novelist, and essayist. In 1938 he was elected to the Académie Française.

Maurois was born in Elbeuf, Normandy. His father owned a textiles factory, where Maurois worked for a time as director before turning to literature. In this decision he was influenced by the philosopher Alain (1868–1951), who had taught him in Rouen and whose biography Maurois published in 1949. During World War I Maurois served with the British army as liaison officer and was awarded the DCM and later the KBE. Les Silences du Colonel Bramble (1918; translated as The Silence of Colonel Bramble, 1919) is a humorous recollection of life in an English officers' mess.

The first of a long series of romanticized biographies, Ariel ou la Vie de Shelley, appeared in 1923. This was followed by biographies of Disraeli (1927), Byron (1930), and Voltaire (1935), À la Recherche de Marcel Proust (1949), Lélia, a biography of George Sand (1952), Olympio ou la Vie de Victor Hugo (1954), and Prométhée ou la Vie de Balzac (1965). The remainder of Maurois's literary output consists of novels, such as the semiautobiographical Bernard Quesnay (1926), based on his experiences as director of his father's factory, and Climats (1928); short stories, such as La Machine à lire les pensées (1937); histories of England (1937) and the USA (1962); and critical and philosophical essays.

Subjects: Literature

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