Bazin, René 1853-1932

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Bazin, René 1853-1932

(René François Nicolas Marie Bazin)


Born December 26, 1853, in Angers, France; died July 23, 1932; son of Nicolas and Elizabeth Bazin; married Aline Bricard. Religion: Roman Catholic.


Lawyer, novelist, travel writer, biographer, Essayist.


Academie Française.


Stéphanette, Larousse (Paris, France), 1884, English translation edited by Florentine B. Jassogne and Mildred Severance, published as Stéphanette, Holt (New York, NY), 1936.

Une tache d'encre, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1888, English translation by A. Quiller-Couch published as The Ink Stain, Scribner (New York, NY), 1905.

La sarcelle bleue, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1892.

Madame Corentine, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1893, translation by L.M. Leggatt published as Those of His Own Household, Devin-Adair (New York, NY), 1917.

Les Noellet, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1896.

Sicile: croquis italiens, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1897.

Le blé qui leve, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1899, translation by Edna K. Hoyt published as The Coming Harvest, Scribner (New York, NY), 1919.

Les Oberlé, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1899, translation by Isidore Henry Bowles published as The Children of Alsace, John Lane (New York, NY), 1912.

La terre qui meurt, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1899, Century (New York, NY), 1930, translation by E.K. Hoyt published as Autumn Glory, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1906.

La barrière, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1899, translation by Mary D. Frost published as The Barrier, Scribner (New York, NY), 1910.

De toute son âme, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1900, translation by A.S Rappoport published as Redemption, Scribner (New York, NY), 1908.

En province, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1900.

Le guide de l'empereur, Nelson (Paris, France), 1901.

Contes de bonne Perrette, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1903.

Donatienne, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1903.

L'isolée, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1905, translation published as The Nun, Scribner (New York, NY), 1908.

Les Italiens d'aujourd'hui, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1906,English translation published as The Italians of To-Day, Holt (New York, NY), 1908.

Mémoires d'une vieille fille, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1908.

Contes choisis de René Bazin, D.C. Heath (Boston, MA), 1908.

Le mariage de Mademoiselle Gimel, dactylographe, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1908, translation by Edna K. Hoyt published as The Marriage of Mademoiselle Gimel, and Other Stories, Books for Libraries Press (Freeport, NY), 1970.

La douce France, J. de Gigord (Paris, France), 1911, translation by M. Dougherty published as Gentle France, M.H. Gill (Dublin, Ireland), 1913.

Davidée Birot, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1912, translation by Mary D. Frost published as Davidée Birot, Scribner (New York, NY), 1912.

Nord-sud: Amérique—Angleterre—Corse—Spitzberg, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1913.

Gingolph l'abandonné, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1914.

Pages religieuses; temps de paix, temps de guerre, A. Mame (Tours, France), 1915.

Récits du temps de la guerre, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1915.

Aujourd'hui et demain; pensées du temps de la querre, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1916.

La closerie de Champdolent, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1917.

Les nouveaux Oberlé, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1919.

Pierre & Joseph, translated by Frank Hunter Potter, Harper (New York, NY), 1920.

Charles de Foucauld: explorateur du Maroc, ermite au Sahara, avec un portrait, un fac-similé d'autographe et une carte-itinéraire, Plon-Nourrit (Paris, France), 1921, translation by Peter Keelan published as Charles de Foucauld: Hermit and Explorer, Benzinger Bros. (New York, NY), 1923.

Fils de l'église, A. Mame (Tours, France), 1923, translation, with a preface by the Archbishop of Cardiff, published as Sons of the Church, Benzinger (New York, NY), 1928.

Il était quatre petits enfants, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1923, translation by Margery Williams published as Juniper Farm, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1930.

Baltus le Lorrain, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1926.

Pius X, Sands (London, England), 1928.

Roi des archers, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1929, translation by Mary Russell published as The King of the Archers, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1934.

Magnificat, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1931, English translation published as Magnificat, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1932.

Un monastère de Saint Pierre Fourier, "Les Oiseaux," Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1932, translation by Sister Mary Aline published as Take This Child, B. Humphries (Boston, MA), 1948.

Étapes de ma vie, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1936.

La faneuse endormie: et autres nouvelles, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1949.


René Bazin was born to a comfortable provincial family in the Angers region of France and spent much of his childhood at the family country home in the Vendee region where he formed his Catholic and traditionalist worldview.

By all accounts Bazin had an extremely happy childhood, which he recounted in his early book of memoirs, Contes de Bonne Perette, where he could, "see the infinite in things, and … listen to its life."

Bazin attended the local lycée and studied for the priesthood in Angers; took a degree in law but practiced for a short time only, deciding to teach criminal law at the Catholic University at Angers. He was writing all the time, and little by little, he decided to devote himself to literature full time.

The main preoccupation of his novels is a embrace of the existing French agrarian way of life and a protest against the emerging spirit of trade unionism and the naturalist school embodied by Emile Zola. There was a literary movement at the time in France that moved away from Zola's brutal realism to a more sympathetic analysis of motivation and Bazin was a part of it. According to his obituary in the London Times, the critic and novelist Charles Le Goffic described his work as "a sort of great fresco of workaday France." His novels have also been compared to the paintings of Millet, whom he admired.

His belief in the essential goodness of the French peasant culture extended to his own laborers, whom he treated with the utmost respect, and his Catholic view about poverty ("a blessing in disguise").

Stéphanette, his first novel, appeared when he was thirty-one. It was well received, and his novel Une tache d'encre, and his along with his first travel book, Sicile, received awards from the French Academy, where he was admitted as a member in 1904. Unetache d'encre is a traditionally constructed love story turning on the relative merits of country life versus city life. It is set mainly in Paris, but Bazin soon became known for his novels of rural life, located often in Anjou, the Vendée, or in Alsace.

The most famous of his novels is La terre qui meurt, the story of a farming family living in the Vendean marshes, and how the lure of city life called young people away from the land. Almost equally well known is Les Oberlé, a novel about the unhappy division of Alsace in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War as seen through the eyes of an Alsatian soldier who deserts from Germany to cross into France. Le blé qui leve is a condemnation of trade unionism in the framework of a novel.

In all, Bazin was the author of about fifty volumes of fiction and travel literature. Edmund Gosse praised Bazin's books in French Profiles noting the "pure and comfortable talent" exhibited in his "refined cheerful, and sentimental novels"—novels "that every girl may read."



Bazin, René, Contes de bonne Perrette, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1903.

Cogny, Pierre, Sept romanciers au dela du roman: Portraits de Bazin, Besus, Billy, Estang, Ikor, Lanoux, Lesort, retouches par eux memes, Nizet (Paris, France), 1964.

Galarneau, Joffre, Réné Bazin et le Probleme Social, P. Lethielleux (Paris, France), 1966.

Gosse, Edmund, French Profiles, Scribner (New York, NY), 1914.


French Studies Bulletin, spring, 1962, Michael Cardy, correspondence of René Bazin, p. 1; winter, 2000, Martine Gambrel, analysis of the work of René Bazin, p. 12.

James Joyce Quarterly, fall, 1995, Mary Power, article on René Bazin and James Joyce, p. 118.

La Table Ronde, Volume 4, 1963, Willy de Spens, article on René Bazin, p. 101.

Nouvelles Litteraires, September 1971, Guy Le Clech, article on René Bazin, p. 57.

Nouvelles Revue des Deux Mondes Paris, May 1, 1966, Philippe Heriat, article on René Bazin, p. 6.