Berger, Yves 1934-2004
BERGER, Yves 1934-2004
OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born January 14, 1934, in Avignon, France; died of cancer November 16, 2004, in Paris, France. Educator, publisher, and author. Berger was the former literary director at French publishing house Grasset, as well as being a well-known novelist and essayist who typically wrote on American themes. Growing up in France during World War II, Berger became enamored by the idea of freedom and liberty as symbolized by the American forces that eventually helped to free that country from the Nazis. He read books by American authors and studied English literature at the University of Montpellier and the Sorbonne, where he graduated in 1956. He then started teaching at schools such as Lycée Pasteur and Lycée Lakanal, while also becoming a literary critic for periodicals, including Nouvelle Revue Française, Express; and Le Monde. In 1960 Berger was hired as editor-in-chief at Editions Bernard Grasset in Paris. Here he became an influential force in publishing, releasing award-winning works by such authors as Edmonde Charles-Roux, François Nourissier, and Marie-Claire Blais. Berger was also a prolific and successful author in his own right. An Americophile who was especially fascinated by the Old West of the United States, he regularly published essay collections and novels that celebrated American ideals. Among these are Le sud (1962), translated as The South (1963); Le fou d'Amerique (1976), translated as Obsession: An American Love Story (1978); Les Indiens des plains (1978); L'attrapeur d'ombres (1992); and Santa Fe (2000). His last book, published in 2003, was the extensive Le dictionnaire amoureux de l'Amerique, a "dictionary for lovers of America," that won the Renaudot prize for the essay. Although he was always interested in U.S. culture, Berger was also concerned about French culture and his nation's language; toward this end, he was a member of the Haut Comité de la Langue Française, a government-sponsored organization that championed the cause of keeping the French tongue unsullied by foreign—especially English—words and terminology.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Independent (London, England), January 13, 2005, p. 43.