Thursday, January 21, 2016

Edmonde Charles-Roux: resistant, journalist, writer … and paradoxical – L’Express

Resigned, she no longer siégiait for two years at the Académie Goncourt. But it took the disease and old age are attacking frontally to solve it. Edmonde Charles-Roux died at the age of 95 years. In January 2014, she had spent his marshal’s baton to Bernard Pivot, before throwing permanently a few months later, his ballot. But in 2013, to 93 years, Edmonde Charles-Roux still chaired the august company … Here the literary portrait that we had then erected it in 2013, just days before the prize Goncourt.

July 14, in the gardens of the Elysee. The barker announcement, thundering: “Miss Charles-Roux”. Hardly intimidated Edmonde advances towards Charles de Gaulle: “It is there before me, immense, and he greets me with these words:” You vote wrong, but you write well “He loved . Forget Palermo , it was one of my enthusiastic support, “recalls, amused, Mrs. Charles-Roux Defferre, some forty-five years later. Chance of life, she has just received a letter from the Elysee, asking him to be ready in December, Francois Hollande to hand over in person Grand’Officier insignia of the Legion of Honour. But beforehand, Monday, November 4, the president of the Académie Goncourt vote (good?) For the 111th winner of the most famous French literary prize.

Edmonde Charles-Roux? At 93 years, this great lady of letters continues to impress his interlocutors. Drouant paneling to the party of Humanity, the Canebière at the offices of Grasset, rue des Saints-Peres, the Legionnaires ceremonies in Aubagne, in Nancy Book Fair, his travels emerging geography of his life. A life of battles and passions, commitments and convictions, romantic as hell. Ready to hit the road yesterday to defend the homeland and now the pen to save the home of his dear friends Aragon and Elsa Triolet, Edmonde Charles-Roux (ECR) is not defeatist kind. “Ardente, bellicose, warlike,” Bernard-Henri Levy, who rubs since 1975. “Elegant, modest, talented,” said Pierre Bergé announces, in a movement of pride, knowing sixty years. “Gay and extraordinarily dynamic” in the eyes of Bernard Pivot, his friend of Goncourt. His name is sesame, the doors open, the phones will drop out. To say, always the same admiration without a discordant word. There is a Charles-Roux mystery: why is it that this intellectual bourgeois off mode, the combative spirit and the heart to the left, both subversive and fragile, self-taught and educated, so kindly raised? Fascination with the paradoxical beings? Courage respect? Deference?

In off, one wonders about his ability

It’s off that some members of the august Academy are questioning its liveliness implying that it might be time that passes control of the presidency … François Nourissier, his predecessor, reached by Parkinson’s disease, had he not decided just two hours after s’ be drowsy at a luncheon in 2002 to cede the presidency to his girlfriend Edmonde? At his age, Edmonde is exceptional, we hear from all sides. But hearing, concentration, ability to roll with the punches down, inevitably, they say in an aside. But the challenge, we know, is paramount, ensuring the Goncourt, in the raw, from 250,000 to over 800,000 copies. Not a year or so without the world of publishing and the press to cry shenanigans, corruption, the wrong choice, as recalled Pierre Assouline in its délcieux Living with Drouant ( Galli-mard). Scandal in 1998 when Paule Constant wins the Grail while Houellebecq signs his Elementary Particles . Doubts in 2002 when with François Nourissier, Edmonde puts its weight behind Pascal Quignard to top. Malaise in 2004 when an investigation of Canal + trap academicians including Edmonde qualifies his sworn friends “insolent and vachards old anarchists”. Controversy in 2007 when a head of Albin Michel sends to the President a letter Advocacy (provocative and clumsy) for Neither Adam nor Eve Amélie Nothomb …

Writer and journalist Bernard Pivot poses with his précédeseur as President of the Academy Goncourt, Edmonde Charles-Roux, January 7, 2014 in Paris.

The writer and journalist Bernard Pivot poses with his précédeseur to the presidency of the Académie Goncourt, Edmonde Charles-Roux, January 7, 2014 to Paris. Tribouillard

Privilege of age or privilege of a life curiosities, ECR saw the whole earth: Hélène Lazareff, Louise de Vilmorin, Violette Leduc, William Klein, Yves Saint-Laurent, Balthus, Derain, Welles, Maurice Druon, Zizi Jeammaire, Roland Petit, Rossellini, Rosi, Coco Chanel, François Mitterrand, etc. . to speak only of the dead … Peel’s memory book, is to enter fifty years of news, fashion, art, politics, literature … No boasting, however, to the lady to high cheekbones and the eternal knot – “Do not change the hairstyle”, advised him one day Aragon- always prim Chanel rigueur- -tailleurs, including Jacques Chazot, they say, would be inspired to imagine his Marie -Chantal. An image that annoyed his friend François Nourissier. Snob, no, elegant, yes, he wrote in substance in the long portrait he devoted himself in 2000 in In the absence of Engineering (Folio), continuing “voice, perhaps the phrasing, indefinable accent? This is probably hence it was sin, “It is with the same voice she receives, while simplicity in his apartment near the Seine, nestled on the top floor a mansion where lived the chief of police of the Empire, Joseph Fouche, which belonged to his parents a while.

Girl ambassador and friend of Legionnaires

And to qu’ECR might never write It direct Vogue (1950 to 1966) nor, during those same years, “live like a boy,” in the words of his father, publish ten books (including the Prix Goncourt in 1966 and two successful biographies about Coco Chanel, The Irregular , and Isabelle Eberhardt, The nomadic ), much less marry Defferre (from 1973-1986) and enter the Goncourt jury (since 1983); but as his family the good bourgeois Marseilles discount, lead a life worthy of notable women from the coast. Yet it is from these same Charles-Roux (major industrial and traders parents diplomat father) that the young Edmonde learns the taste of freedom, like that of the rebellion, and acquires a taste for uprooted from all walks .

Prague, 1920-1930. His father, Francois, Ambassador (“one of the three best of the early twentieth century,” proclaims his daughter), also performed miracles, she said, an important French culture, bringing the institute philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch and the future director of the World Hubert Beuve-Mery, preventing even a serious confrontation … tennis: “The Czechs were bad players, remembers Edmonde In a match of the Davis Cup against. the “musketeers” Borotra, Cochet, Lacoste … in 1926, there was a beginning of pugilism. The ambassadors were summoned to play the line referees. ” 1932: Family (François, Sabine his wife, and their three children Cyprienne, John and Edmonde) moved to Rome. Then in Marseille. It was there that as an university, Edmonde, driving license just in pocket, leading to six am attend nursing course at the Hospital of Timone. If … It’s that we do not mess with the motherland in Charles-Roux. 1940: hired as ambulance at 11th Foreign Infantry Regiment, she is wounded at Verdun. After three years in the Resistance, she joined the Office of General de Lattre de Tassigny, was soon named, always chignon in place despite the orders of its leader (“there are things with which we must not break”), assistant Social 5th Armoured Division -composée including two divisions of the Legion. Appraisal: a Military Cross, 1st Class braid of honor and unwavering friendship with the Legionaries.

“It is of extraordinary fidelity. So much so that in 2007, she was appointed -measures exceptionally corporal, said General Christophe de Saint Chamas, the Foreign Legion commander. When we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Camerone, in Aubagne, in April, she was there, under the very eyes of young people who saw this old lady ten times medalist as them. ” “These are my friends, claiming Edmonde. I like their way of being, thinking, caring sunk. And there are many among Czechs eux..Ironie of life, I even met a Captain Hervé Bazin ([namesake of the author of Viper in the Fist , former president of the Goncourt jury] Ed), it can not be invented. Still, I returned twisted by war . I hate her. ” Twisted, but good to be married in the eyes of his family. “These are the same that send my forehead and on my return, want to see me …. row,” quips Edmonde.

“The peasant Arles” at the head of Vogue

“The war is not learning at the ball”: the first sentence of his first article (on the debutante ball) Vogue sounds like a response. For the meantime, “the peasant Arlesienne” and calls it one day Coco Chanel, never short of a picnic, is mounted in Paris. “Peasant”, she did not stay long. Because “Chiffon” baptize like “lambs” L’Express Françoise Giroud “one step ahead” of all these young ladies, writes François Nourissier. “Free and courageous”, thus also sees the Marie Dabadie, the secretary of the Académie Goncourt, who knows from his years Vogue . She welcomes in its pages all the artists of the time, down to the sulfur in the eyes of American owner: “She spent most of her time smuggling, reports Nourissier: a Soviet author, a photo Elsa, a subversive subject, “and his mentor, the Communist poet Aragon …

One day in 1966 she decides to cover a black mannequin. The water drop. “I was disturbing, for sure. The next day, the accountant gave me my pay, saying ‘I am afraid, it’s the last’. I was fired.” . Maurice Couve de Murville, Minister of Foreign Affairs and friend, moved in, and Nourissier François-Régis Bastide, two columnists monthly, resign. Despite the hubbub political-worldly, at age 46, ECR is unemployed. The friend Nourissier always him (the one who wrote, “to 1957 to 1958, both single, we left we provide through life some nice memories”), asks him about the manuscript (the “Arlesienne”) she speaks so often. “Actually, I had six years to write it. I show it to Francis, who gives it to Bernard Privat, Grasset.”

On 21 November 1966, Forget Palermo , powerful fresco on the Sicilian exile, receives the Prix Goncourt. “A beautiful little revenge after his layoff,” said Pierre Berge. Thrown under the spotlight, the daughter of an ambassador is equally at home in the Roman salons of his youth. Invited by Defferre, Mayor of Marseilles, who wants to honorary citizen, she went on the Old Port. On his return to Paris, she received a telegram from the Mayor: “I arrive.” Cavalier, but effective. Start of romance, and Marie is -Gaston secret official: the king of Marseille divorced. In 1973 Edmonde went to live in Marseilles. Bernard-Henri Levy, who witnessed those years, recalls with fondness “this loving couple.. They were very youthful, very inflamed in their relationship I loved seeing them together At the funeral of Gaston, in 1986, Edmonde grief was overwhelming. Indifferent ceremonial whole policy was la France it was a wounded woman who accompanied the coffin. ”

Widow of Defferre, diva Marseille

This Provence, Edmonde never left her, embedded in a perpetual shuttle between Paris and his house foot of Mont Sainte-Victoire (“your Machu Picchu to you,” said the Chilean president Allende, hosted a day) near Aix, she brought the festival to the baptismal font. In Paris, the appointments, the Goncourt lunch at Drouant; in the south, writing, friends and fame! “In the street, in Marseilles, everyone recognizes it, says the lawyer criminal lawyer Bottai Sophia, the most modest and old. It represents the best years of the city. With it, you never get bored. I, I tell him stories of gangsters, she tells me about literature. ” Edmonde, which is not a paradox, do not hate big mouths, it is true, Yesterday Moroccan putschist General Mohamed Oufkir, today Bernard Tapie, Marseille’s Socialist Jean-Noel Guerini or patrick mennucci. “Yes, it’s like, it’s a vanity on his part, confirms, amused, Jeanne Laffitte, the publisher and bookseller in Marseille, for ages that leads research for biographies of her friend. The last precisely relates to a stirring man, Zinovy ​​Pechkoff (1884-1966), adopted son of Gorky and secret agent of de Gaulle, the most Dantesque wanderings of Tsarist Russia to the PRC through the trenches of Picardy. ” The research has not been easy. And as Edmonde military is demanding and it is not to omit something. “Suddenly, difficult to put the word” end “to this bushy biography.

Help L ‘ Humanity

Demanding and woman of her word. President for ten years of the Association of Friends of the Humanity (“it was necessary to save the newspaper”), Edmonde (not encartée) never misses a party Humanity – “at the beginning, long ago, it was the provocation, bitching to my parents,” admits Edmonde The slanting eyes more sparkling than ever. The artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest, whom she spent over two years ago, the trafficking of heroin altogether. And remember laughing seeing again this year, the lady at bun, always chic, very comfortably in the rain, feet in the mud, plate of sausage and glass of red wine in plastic hands. It is with the same natural that the president of the Académie Goncourt paced last year the corniche of Beirut, a week after an attack. While the postponement of the trip was mentioned, Edmonde was categorical: “We told them yes, we do not cancels.” The promise? Advertise here, in Lebanon under heavy military surveillance, at the 20th edition of the Francophone Book Fair, the third selection of the Prix Goncourt and give a nod to young Middle East, following the example of the French Goncourt Students, appoint their winner.

That’s also what appeals to the cosmopolitan at heart: “To support the advancement of this pretty tranquil price lighthouse prices worldwide.” More generally, the 11th president of the Goncourt Academy enjoys the company of young people and reading the early novels. “It’s a good fairy, ignites the novelist Carole Martinez. When she likes a book, defends it with incredible energy. She argued sewn Heart with the Emmanuel Robles prices at a time where nobody talked about it, and she wrote a paper on it in La Provence and another on From field of Whispers . ” sewn Heart , but also mum … not to mention Edmonde winners of recent years and likely candidates homegrown 2013.

“We took the risk of cheerfulness”

She keeps her enthusiasm for his fellow jury, as Bernard Pivot, fell under the spell of “wonderful smile” of its president: “I knew a little through head-to-head that I had devoted to Bouillon cultur e with the release of his book on Defferre, Man of Marseille (Grasset) in 2003. There is a phrase that I love her: Right Edmonde, cheerfulness, despite the age, young and open mind – “We took the risk of cheerfulness.” without its support, none of the reforms in our regulations would have been possible. ” The nine Drouant form a protective pad around Edmonde, especially when the wild horde of photographers and cameramen rush, every first Monday of November, in the lounge of the restaurant of the Place Gaillon. They will all be there, too, in December, at the Elysee Palace for his elevation to the dignity of grand’officier of the Legion of honor, as they had been in April 2010, when Nicolas Sarkozy had given him the insignia Commander. “She hesitated, remembers Marie Dabadie, Pivot had to convince, explain that it was pleased that the Academy and the Republic who welcomed.” The great friend of Chevènement (“the only one that had a dimension of Head of State”) has met with Nicolas. Verdict? “His speech was well, he has a talent, I do not know which, but my praise will stop there, that’s a lot for me.”

Holdout Edmonde. Always ready to fight, despite locomotion increasingly hesitant. True to his convictions, Gaston, in Marseille (the “adventure capital”), to his publisher, Grasset. Seductress. Secret. Edmonde Charles-Roux will leave no memoirs. His biographers will do that. At their own risk?


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