May 25, 2007

Morand, a travelling life

Paul Morand is born in Paris in March, 13 1888. Only chilf of high bureaucrat and artist Eugène Morand, he is raised in a christian spirit and in a middle-class surrendings. His parents see Sarah Bernhardt, Lord Douglas and Oscar Wilde who estimates this high-spirited boy. When Morand fails at his major examination of philosophy, his father hires as a tutor the young Jean Giraudoux. Morand and Giraudoux become promptly friends. Graduated from the Paris Institut of Political Studies, Paul Morand passes the ambassady examination and becomes a diplomat.
He is in charge in London when WWI begins. Mobilised, Morand however stays in Great Britain till 1916. En 1917, he works for the Foreign Office, then at the ambassies of Rome and Madrid. Under the influence of Valery Larbaud, Morand begins to practise "a literary nomadism". He sees the Surrealists, writes two poems collections. Then, he releases Tendres Stocks, a compilation of Londoner short-stories prefaced by his friend Marcel Proust. It's in 1922 that Morand becomes famous with Ouvert la nuit, and, one year later, Fermé la nuit. Follow then numerous books, chronicals from the various places Morand went to : Europe of course, but also Africa, United-States and India.
Morand goes back to the Foreign Office in 1938. He is again in charge in London during the shutout of 1940. Back in France and forced to retire, Morand surprisingly comes close with the Government of Vichy, and publishes in 1941 Chroniques de l'homme maigre, a book in favor of Marshal Pétain. From this period date also Propos des 52 semaines, L'Homme pressé, Excursions immobiles. In 1943, Morand is nominated Minister of France in Bucarest and then ambassador in Berne. He must leave after the break between Switzerland and the Government of Vichy. At the end of the war he is dismissed by the temporary government of De Gaulle. Begins then a long exile during which he lives in Switzerland and in Spain. He focuses on his work and publishes Le Dernier Jour de l'Inquisition, Le Coucou et le Roitelet, L'Eau sous les ponts, Hécate et ses chiens, La Folle amoureuse, Fin de siècle, Nouvelles d'une vie, Les Écarts amoureux.
Admired by the young generation of the literary movement The Hussards (Roger Nimier, Michel Déon, Antoine Blondin, Jacques Laurent), Paul Morand knows a time of revival. In 1953, he returns to the french administration and eventually retires in 1955. He builds a varied work made of short-stories, essays, and portraits. In 1971, he publishes the moving Venises, one of his last book.
Paul Morand tries to be received at the Académie Française before the war but fails and presents himself a second time in 1958. His candidature causes the hostility of De Gaulle partisans. The vote is suspended. It's only in 1968 that De Gaulle agrees with a new candidature. Tis time, Morand wins, at eighty years old, the vacant post of Maurice Garçon. Exceptionnally, Morand is not received for his investiture by the French President.
Paul Morand dies in July, 23 1976.
Sources :, Bibliographie des Auteurs Modernes par H. Talvart et J. Place.

Currently, the Librairie Loliée offers

In original editions :
  • 1924 La Fleur Double
  • 1929 Ma Légende – Le Rhône en Hydroglisseur
  • 1930 Champions du Monde
  • 1931 Papiers d’Identité – 1900
  • 1932 Air Indien
  • 1933 Rococo
  • 1935 Bucarest
  • 1936 Les Extravagants – La Route des Indes
  • 1947 Montociel Rajah aux grandes Indes
  • 1954 L'Eau sous les Ponts
In illustrated books :
  • 1924 Tendres Stocks illustré par Chas-Laborde
  • 1925 Fermé La Nuit illustré par Pascin
  • 1950 Rues et Visages de New-York illustré par Chas-Laborde