Georges Duhamel  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Georges Duhamel (June 30, 1884 - April 13, 1966), was a French author, born in Paris. Duhamel trained as a doctor, and during World War I was attached to the French Army. In 1920, he published Confession de minuit (ISBN 2-7152-1793-5), the first of a series featuring the anti-hero Salavin. In 1935, he was elected as a member of the Académie française.


A noted opponent of cinema and populist entertainment

As Walter Benjamin noted in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Duhamel detested film and "knows nothing of its significance, though something of its structure". He quotes Duhamel as saying "I can no longer think what I want to think. My thoughts have been replaced by moving images." and he called the cinema "a pastime for helots, a diversion for uneducated, wretched, worn-out creatures who are consumed by their worries . . ., a spectacle which requires no concentration and presupposes no intelligence . . ., which kindles no light in the heart and awakens no hope other than the ridiculous one of someday becoming a 'star' in Los Angeles." (Georges Duhamel, *Scènes de la vie future*, Paris, 1930, p. 52.)


Georges Duhamel was born in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris on the 30th June 1884. He was the third child of a family which struggled to survive on the income of his unstable father. After a childhood disrupted by numerous moves, Georges nonetheless passed his baccalaureate in 1902 and decided to become a doctor (though he continued with his literary interests also).

Between 1906 and 1909 he founded l'Abbaye de Créteil with Charles Vildrac (who would become his brother in law). The group brought together poets, writers, musicians and painters. From 1912, he became an editor of the literary review Mercure de France. In 1935, he took over the direction of the review and its publishing house. In 1938, because of Duhamel's anti-war stance, he was replaced by Jacques Bernard, but Duhamel returned to directing the Mercure de France publishers in 1945 (he was majority stock-holder of the company).

When the First World War was declared, Duhamel signed up and worked as an army surgeon for four years, often in dangerous situations. This painful experience provided the subject matter for two narratives which brought him immediate success, Vie des martyrs and Civilization (which won him the Prix Goncourt in 1918). Once he returned to civilian life, Duhamel dedicated himself to literature and defending human civilisation. In 1919, he found two spots in the Val-d'Oise where he would henceforth spend his summers (Sausseron Valley and Valmondois).

In 1935, Duhamel was elected to the 30th chair at the Académie française. Between 1930 and 1940 he traveled to many conferences in France and abroad, speaking brilliantly of French language and culture as well as promoting the idea of a civilisation built on the human heart rather than technological progress.

During the Second World War, Duhamel's work was banned by the Germans. He showed courage in his opposition to the occupation and the Petainist faction of the Académie française, later receiving public praise from Général de Gaulle.

After the war, Duhamel was named president of the Alliance française and returned to public speaking on French culture. He built up numerous schools of the Alliance. Duhamel's health deteriorated from 1960 and he reduced his activities. He died in Valmondois on the 13th April 1966.



  • Vie des martyrs (1917)
  • Civilisation (1918) (Prix Goncourt)
  • La Possession du monde (1919)
  • Les Hommes abandonnés (1921)
  • Vie et aventures de Salavin (5 volumes) (1920-1932)
    • I. Confession de minuit
    • II. Deux hommes
    • III. Journal de Salavin
    • IV. Le Club des Lyonnais
    • V. Tel qu'en lui même
  • Les plaisirs et les Jeux (1922)
  • Le prince Jaffar (1924)
  • La Pierre d'Horeb (1926)
  • Lettres au Patagon (1926)
  • Le Voyage de Moscou (1927)
  • Les sept dernières plaies (1928)
  • La nuit d'orage (1928)
  • Scènes de la vie future (1930)
  • Géographie cordiale de l’Europe (1931)
  • Les jumeaux de Vallangoujard (1931)
  • Querelles de famille (1932)
  • Chronique des Pasquier (10 volumes) (1933-1945)
    • I. Le notaire du Havre
    • II. Le jardin des bêtes sauvages
    • III.Vue de la terre promise
    • IV. La nuit de la Saint Jean
    • V. Le desert de Bièvre
    • VI. Les Maîtres
    • VII. Cécile parmi nous
    • VIII. Le combat des ombres
    • IX. Suzanne et les jeunes hommes
    • X. La passion de Joseph Pasquier
  • Fables de mon Jardin (1936)
  • Mémorial de la guerre blanche (1939)
  • Positions Françaises (1940)
  • Lieu d'asile (1940)
  • Chronique des Saisons amères (1944)
  • La Musique consolatrice (1944)
  • Paroles de médecin (1944)
  • Inventaire de l’abîme (1944)
  • Biographie de mes fantômes (1944)
  • Le temps de la recherche (1947)
  • semaille au vent (1947)
  • Le bestiaire et l'herbier (1948)
  • La pesée des âmes (1949)
  • Le voyage de Patrice Périot (1950)
  • Les espoirs et les épreuves (1953)
  • Lumières sur ma vie (5 volumes)
    • I. Inventaire de l'abime
    • II. Biographie de mes fântômes
    • III. Le temps de la recherche
    • IV. La pesée des Ames
    • V. Les éspoirs et les épreuves


  • Des légendes, des batailles (1907)
  • L’homme en tête (1909)
  • Selon ma loi (1910)
  • Compagnons (1912)
  • Elégies (1920)
  • Anthologie de la poèsie lyrique française (1923)
  • Les voix du vieux monde,mis en musique par Albert Doyen (1925)


  • Paul Claudel (1913)
  • Les Poètes et la poésie (1914)
  • Défense des Lettres (1937)
  • Confessions sans pénitence (1941)


  • La lumière (1911)
  • Dans l'ombre des statues (1912)
  • Le combat (1913)
  • Le cafard (1916)
  • l'œuvre de athlètes (1920)
  • Quand vous voudrez (1921)

See Also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Georges Duhamel" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools