Émile Zola, the photographer: personal collection goes under the hammer

Thousands of photographs and equipment belonging to writer’s grandson expected to fetch up to £53,000 at auction

Émile Zola is best known as the 19th century French author of celebrated works including Thérèse Raquin, Nana and Germinal.

Now, the leader of the Naturalist literary movement is being recognised as a talented and experimental photographer with the auction of a rarely seen personal collection of pictures.

Continue reading...

Canadian professor discovers what could be only footage of Marcel Proust

Black-and-white film shows man who could be French writer at wedding of daughter of one of Proust’s close friends, says Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan A Canadian university professor claims to have found the only existing moving picture of French writer Marcel Proust. The black-and-white footage of a wedding cortège filmed in 1904 shows a brief glimpse of a man in his 30s with a neat moustache, wearing a bowler hat and pearl-grey formal suit, descending a flight of stairs on his own. Most of the other guests are in couples. Continue reading...

Céline: French literary genius or repellent antisemite? New film rekindles an old conflict

A movie drama about the innovative novelist has fuelled a thorny national debate about his legacyIt is 55 years since Dr Louis Ferdinand Auguste Destouches – better known as the writer Céline – died. For more than five decades French historians, intellectuals and politicians, among others, have struggled – and failed – to agree on his legacy. To some, the author who influenced writers such as Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski is one of the greatest of France’s literary giants. Others revile Céline as an unrepentant Nazi sympathiser and antisemite who called for the extermination of French Jews. Continue reading...

France’s top literary prize awarded to Mathias Énard

Énard wins Prix Goncourt for Boussole, described as ‘poetic eulogy to the long history of cultural exchanges between east and west’

France’s oldest and most prestigious literary accolade, the Prix Goncourt, has been awarded to Arabic and Persian scholar Mathias Énard for his novel Boussole (Compass).

The choice of Énard, who has collected a succession of prizes for his work since 2003, justified his status as this year’s favourite for the high-profile award.

Continue reading...