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He did not think good of old age, complained of being bored and no longer able to travel those who came to visit him in his retirement from the Chevreuse Valley, the presbytery of Choisel where he had settled there more than half a century. Came late to writing – he had 42 years with the publication of his first novel – Michel Tournier had stopped publishing fiction in middle 1990s He leaves behind a work hailed, from its beginnings to its importance its ability to blend myth and history, the mundane and the transcendent, numerically small but significant, in terms of its longevity – nine novels for adults and children, a handful of collections of stories and news, some trial; in spring 2015, Gallimard had published Letters German spoken to his friend Hellmut Waler, 1967-1998 . Regularly cited for the Nobel literature laureate, Michel Tournier died Jan. 18 at his home in Choisel, surrounded by his family, said his godson, Laurent Feliculis, the writer regarded as his adopted son. He was 91 years old
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Born in 1924 in a Germanic family – his father abandoned the teaching of German to launch commercially – Michel Tournier is intended to philosophy, he studies, after the Second World War, at the University of Tübingen . Returning to France after obtaining its license, this admirer of Kant, which he targuera all his life to be one of the few owners of the complete works in German, and Jean-Paul Sartre, his “spiritual father” waives his plans after failing to aggregate twice. He often repeated that he would not have written if he had been received for this exam.
“Friday or wildlife” and “The Erl King”
A friend of Gilles Deleuze, Roger Nimier or Pierre Boulez, he began working for the French Radio-television broadcasting and Europe 1, before entering as a player and German translator (Erich Maria Remarque include ) Plon. In the early 1960s, the photography enthusiast presents the television show “Darkroom”. In 1970, it will cause the Rencontres d’Arles, the world festival dedicated to the art.
Meanwhile, he made a very notable entry onto the literary scene, publishing Gallimard (which will publish the bulk of his work) Friday, or, The Other Island (1970), the first novel of its production he felt worthy to be presented to a publisher. Success, and public criticism, is immediate, for this rereading of Rousseau’s myth of Robinson, who won the Grand Prix of the French Academy. In 1971, he rewrote for children this first novel in the form of Friday or wildlife. Studied in classes, sold millions of copies, it will remain the ” rent “ and ” favorite book “, as he said, one who does not conceive of writing not to be read.
Three years after Friday appears The Erl King , which earned its author the Prix Goncourt, awarded unanimously. This novel takes its title from a famous poem by Goethe and tells the story of Abel Tiffauges, French imprisoned in Germany following the phoney war, which, after crossing Göring, will eventually become “the ogre of Kaltenbom fortress “ forcibly recruiting children destined to perish in the defense of this fortress during the Soviet invasion. If this text demonstrates great knowledge that Tournier has Germanic civilization, it includes all the clarity of his writing to combine realism and magic, or rather a form of supernatural: his great literary model is the Three Tales Flaubert. With this second novel, the writer also indicates the prominence that will explore the famous figures and legendary characters in his work. At the ogre Kaltenbom respond well in 1978 that “hippie” , Heather Cock . In 1975, The Meteors , the third novel by Michel Tournier large completes the proof of this fascination with the myths: it explores that of Castor and Pollux of Gemini through characters. The place that take household waste reflects her interest Tournier for what he refers to as a “aesthetic sordid wonderful” – knowing he does not disdain advanced scatology, if it blends philosophy, as was the case in Friday and The Erl King .
winner and jury member Goncourt
His first three novels remain, the general view, the great works of Michel Tournier. He became a key figure in the literary life, even if he lives, removed at Choisel, to avoid most of the temptations. Since 1973 he is part of the jury of the Prix Goncourt. His books continue to be welcomed as events. As news of the Heather Cock (1978) or his fourth novel, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar (1980), the Three Kings, where he shows his face, Again, a mystic. Thus, even Gilles and Jeanne (1983), in which he focuses on the characters of the Maid and Gilles de Rais, his marshal became ogre. In 1985, La Goutte d’or allows him to evoke his passion for photography through the journey of a young Berber, a photograph taken by a tourist was stripped of his image, who goes in search of the woman, what will make it of racism in France.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Michel Tournier has become the focal point in French literature Francois Mitterrand comes, four times, visiting him in his abbey during his two terms. Based in Choisel but few focused on the writer’s myth removed in an ivory tower, he speaks a lot in the media, French and foreign, do not disdaining to assault provocative or offensive. In 1989, the newspaper says enthusiastically single Newsweek “The abortionists are the son and grand-son of Auschwitz monsters. I would restore the death penalty for these people “ – justify later remarks, he does not deny, for disgust ” visceral “ to the voluntary interruption pregnancy. In 1996, he says that the Gayssot Act, which defines the offense of contesting crimes against humanity and transforms “a historical fact in an article of faith whose negation becomes blasphemy” – his sentence drawing parallels between the Holocaust and the Immaculate Conception dogma.
His comrades of the Goncourt Academy always defend and it is a pillar of literary life. His books, stories, novels, essays, are published and translated around the world, while he, proud to have become a “school Author” , spends much of his time in schools to explain his work and communicate the pleasure of reading to children. Even if he writes him less and less.
In 2009, he decided to leave the Goncourt Academy, because of his age, fatigue and lack of appetite – necessary for deliberative feast at Drouant. Appearing eternally capped in recent years, a small woolen cap, this former lover of travel (particularly sub-Saharan Africa and Canada) will say to the end satisfied with the life he has led. In 2002, the lover of “real novel” allergic to the evocation of intimacy, had issued a Journal extime , in which he wrote: “An idea for paradise: after my death, I am faced with a panorama where my life is spread in every episodes. Add me to reconsider this or this one and relive it (…) . This is what I’m consumed with nostalgia and regret, remembering scenes of my life which I have not given the attention they deserved. “
Michel Tournier in 7 dates
December 19, 1924: birth Paris
1945-1949: Philosophy studies at the Univesity of Tübingen, where he met Gilles Deleuze
1967: Friday received the Grand Prize of Roman Academy
1970 Prix Goncourt for The king of alders . Michel Tournier joins the Goncourt Academy two years later
1985 La Goutte d’or
2009: resignation of the Goncourt Academy