Audoux, Marguerite 1863–1937

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Audoux, Marguerite 1863–1937

PERSONAL: Born July 7, 1863, in Sancoins, France; died February 1, 1937, in France.

CAREER: Worked as a dressmaker and a shepherdess.

AWARDS, HONORS: Prix Femina, 1910, for Marie-Claire.


Marie-Claire (novel), E. Fasquelle (Paris, France), 1910, translation by John Nathan Raphael, Hodder & Stoughton (New York, NY), 1911.

Valserine, and Other Stories, Hodder & Stoughton (New York, NY), 1912, reprinted, Books for Libraries Press (Freeport, NY), 1970.

L'atelier de Marie-Claire (novel), E. Fasquelle (Paris, France), 1920, translation by F.S. Flint published as Marie Claire's Workshop, Thomas Seltzer (New York, NY), 1920.

De la ville au moulin (novel), E. Fasquelle (Paris, France), 1926.

Douce lumière (novel), Grassett (Paris, France), 1937.

SIDELIGHTS: French author Marguerite Audoux was honored in the year of her death, 1937, with the launch of a magazine named after her novel Marie-Claire. The life of the protagonist of the story in many ways resembles that of Audoux herself. At the age of three, her mother died of tuberculosis, and her father left her and her sister in the care of an aunt. They were then placed in an orphanage, and Audoux was apprenticed to a tailor. Her interest in literature blossomed when she found a book of stories in the attic of the house on a rural farm where she later worked as a shepherdess. Later, Audoux moved to Paris, where she took on a variety of jobs before opening her own dressmaking shop. She was one of the "group of Carnetin," writers who met regularly in the village of Seine-et-Marne in 1908. Critics found it difficult to believe that the author of Marie-Claire could be the woman who had come from a peasant background and who supported herself with her sewing until she died.

Nina Hellerstein, presenting a study of Audoux's life and work in the French Review, wrote that the author's four novels and other writings are "virtually forgotten. This neglect is all the more surprising in that Marie-Claire is an exceptionally interesting and powerful work." Hellerstein noted that "the novel, like all autobiographical fiction, is far from a simple reproduction of 'real' experience. Its most notable qualities are the result of conscious construction and a complex narrative technique that transforms the raw material of memory into a compelling tale of loss and of self-discovery."



Philip, Anne Glenday, editor, Marie-Claire à Villevieille, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1953.


French Review, December, 1995, Nina Hellerstein, "Narrative Innovation and the Construction of Self in Marguerite Audoux's Marie-Claire," pp. 246-254.