Adler, Laure 1950-

views updated

Adler, Laure 1950-


Born March 11, 1950, in Caen, Basse-Normandie, France; married Fred Adler (an ethnologist), 1968.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Editions Gallimard, 5, rue Sébastien-Bottin, 75328 Paris cedex 07, France.


Journalist and historian. Cultural advisor to François Mitterand, 1989; "Le Cercle de Minuit," television presenter, 1993-97; France Culture Radio, secretary, 1974, director, 1999-2005. Also worked at Grasset and Arte.


Prix Femina, 1998, for Marguerite Duras.


A l'aube du feminisme: le premieres journalistes, 1830-1850, Payot (Paris, France), 1979.

Miserable et glorieuse la femme du XIXe siecle, Fayard (Paris, France), 1980.

Secrets d'alcove: histoire du couple de 1830 a 1930, Hachette Litterature (Paris, France), 1983.

L'amour a l'arsenic: histoire de Marie Lafarge, Denoel (Paris, France), 1985.

(With Alain Veinstein) Avignon: 40 ans de festival, introduction by Bernard Dort, Hachette (Paris, France), 1987.

La vie quotidienne dans les maisons closes: 1830-1930, Hachette (Paris, France), 1990.

Les femmes politiques, Seuil (Paris, France), 1993.

L'annee des adieux, Flammarion (Paris, France), 1995.

Marguerite Duras, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1998, translation by Anne-Marie Glasheen published as Marguerite Duras: A Life, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2000.

A ce soir (memoir), Gallimard (Paris, France), 2001, translation by Anne-Marie Glasheen published as Until Tonight: A Memoir, Granta Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Dans les pas de Hannah Arendt (title means "In the Steps of Hannah Arendt"), Gallimard (Paris, France), 2005.

(With others) Paris aux noms des femmes, Descartes & Cie (Paris, France), 2005.

Les femmes qui lisent sont dangereuses, Flammarion (Paris, France), 2006.


Laure Adler is a journalist and historian who spent her childhood living in Africa, where her father worked as an agricultural engineer. When she was seventeen, she moved to France and married her first husband, Fred Adler, the following year. Adler worked as a secretary at France Culture Radio and twenty-five years later became its director. During this time she was also a presenter for a political show on French television and a cultural advisor to former French president François Mitterand.

Adler has written several biographies of women. In 2005 she wrote Dans les pas de Hannah Arendt, which translates to "In the Steps of Hannah Arendt." Arendt was a German-born Jew who broke from the synagogue, seeing Judaism as part of her identity rather than her spirituality. Quoted in an article in the European Jewish Press by Rebecca Assoun, Adler commented that she was "inspired by [Arendt's] strength of character, her independent mind, and the questions she raised about her people."

In 1998 Adler won the Prix Femina award for another biography, Marguerite Duras. Best known in the United States for Hiroshima, Mon Amour and The Lover, Duras published sixty-five works of fiction, twenty-five plays, twenty-nine film scripts, and numerous articles in literary reviews. Duras was born near Saigon in 1914 and spent her traumatic childhood there before moving to France to pursue her political science studies at the Sorbonne. Through her changing politics during World War II and a lifetime of affairs, Adler presents the life of Duras in her biography using personal communication, letters, and information from a network of close associates and friends.

Reviewers were mostly pleased with Adler's reconstruction of Marguerite Duras's life. John L. Brown, writing in World Literature Today, commended Adler's "scrupulously researched and documented biography." In the New Statesman, Michele Roberts noted that Adler "has written a biography, interweaving historical facts with critical appraisals, that at times reads like a novelistic meditation, full of epigrams." A critic writing in Publishers Weekly believed that even the book's cover "will inflame readers' attention." The same critic felt that Adler "balances her subject and her times with a familiarity that draws readers in and makes reading particularly pleasurable."

Seventeen years after the death of her infant son, Adler wrote A ce soir, recounting her pregnancy and her son's hospitalization and subsequent death. This work, titled Until Tonight: A Memoir, was translated into English the following year. The chain of tragic events began when Adler received word at work that her nine-month-old son, Remi, had fallen ill and been rushed to a hospital. Here he struggled with respiratory blockage and went into a coma. He died of acute respiratory distress syndrome after several months in intensive care. The book received positive reviews. Julia Abramson, writing in World Literature Today, called it "neither a novel nor exactly a memoir" and believed that Adler "gives a lapidary, sober account" of her son's brief life. Dr. Jeffrey Geller, reviewing the book in Psychiatric Services journal, observed that Adler wrote about her experience "as an agonized poet would." He went on to suggest that this book would become "assigned reading" to "anyone who is involved in the care of patients." In conclusion, a reviewer in Publishers Weekly commented that "readers who appreciate a sensitive meditation on the brevity of life may cherish Adler's emotional memorial to her baby son."



Adler, Laure, A ce soir, Gallimard (Paris, France), translation by Anne-Marie Glasheen published as Until Tonight: A Memoir, Granta Books (New York, NY), 2002.


Booklist, November 15, 2000, Donna Seaman, review of Marguerite Duras: A Life, p. 604.

European Jewish Press, December 20, 2005, Rebecca Assoun, review of Dans les pas de Hannah Arendt.

New Statesman, October 16, 2000, Michele Roberts, review of Marguerite Duras, p. 54.

Psychiatric Services, January, 2006, Jeffrey Geller, review of Until Tonight, pp. 145-147.

Publishers Weekly, October 16, 2000, review of Marguerite Duras, p. 61; December 23, 2002, review of Until Tonight, p. 54.

Quadrant, September, 2001, Iain Bamforth, review of Marguerite Duras, p. 85.

World Literature Today, winter, 2000, John L. Brown, review of Marguerite Duras, p. 111; spring, 2002, Julia Abramson, review of A ce Soir, p. 182.


Evene Web site, (June 17, 2006), author profile.

Internet Movie Database, (June 17, 2006), author profile.