Deschodt, Eric

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DESCHODT, Eric

PERSONAL:

Male.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Editions Perrin, 76, rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France.

CAREER:

Journalist, novelist, and biographer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Prix du Roman historique de Blois (Grand Prize for Historical Novels), 2000, for Le Seul amant; Prix Littéraire des Amis de Cabourg-Littérature Générale, 2004, for Marguerite et les enragés (title means "Marguerite and the Mad Ones").

WRITINGS:

(Translator) Barry Goldwater, Voici ma politique (The Conscience of a Conservative), L'Esprit Nouveau (Paris, France), 1964.

La France envolée: L'Aviation et la décadence, 1906-1976: Essai, Société de production littéraire (Paris, France), 1977.

La Vérité sur la folie de Charles VI, 1380-1422, Société de production littéraire (Paris, France), 1977.

Les Demoiselles sauvages, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1978.

Le Roi empoisonné, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1978.

(Translator) Ken Smith, Poissons d'eau douce: Recueil illustraté des principales espèces, Editions Floraisse (Paris, France), 1978.

Arbustes et buissons: Quelques espèces de nos campagnes, Editions Floraisse (Paris, France), 1978.

Le Général des galères: Roman, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1979.

Saint-Exupéry: Biographie, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1980.

Les Îles captives: Roman, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1981.

La Gloire au Liban: Roman, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1982.

Le Roi a fait battre tambour: Roman, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1984.

Eugénie, les larmes aux yeux: Roman, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1985.

Le Royaume d'Arles: Roman, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1988.

Mirabeau: Roman d'une terre de France, J. C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1989.

Gide, le "contemporain capital," Editions Perrin (Paris, France), 1991.

Histoire du Mont-de-Piété, Le Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1993.

L'Orgueil du guerrier: Claude Barrès, Editions Perrin (Paris, France), 1994.

Agrippa d'Aubigné: Le Guerrier inspiré, R. Laffont (Paris, France), 1995.

D'un musée l'autre en Picardie, photographs by Jacques Boulay, Editions du Regard (Paris, France), 1996.

Saint Exupéry, Pygmalion (Paris France), 2000.

(With Jean-Claude Lattès) Le Seul amant: Roman, Editions du Seuil (Paris, France), 2000.

The Little Book of Cigars, Flammarion (Paris, France), 2000, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 2001.

Gustave Eiffel: Un Illustre inconnu, Pygmalion (Paris, France), 2003.

Le Scorpion d'or: Roman, Table Ronde (Paris, France), 2003.

(With Jean-Claude Lattès) Marguerite et les enragés (tile means "Marguerite and the Mad Ones"), Editions du Seuil (Paris, France), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

Eric Deschodt is a journalist and the author of more than twelve novels, six historical biographies, and a history of the cigar called The Little Book of Cigars. Deschodt often creates characters who act upon dreams of past glories. Le Royaume d'Arles is Deschodt's 1988 story of Anatole de Meyrargues, a decorated and wounded hero of the Western Front. Through his protagonist, Deschodt explores French history in the first half of the twentieth century, especially the conditions that led educated Frenchmen to embrace right-wing groups, such as the Action français, and to collaborate with the Germans. The aftermath of World War I has left Anatole thoroughly disgusted with the world and, after a brief law career, he joins the priesthood. Eventually, his family connections will secure him a promotion to monsignor.

Anatole is the thoroughly unmodern man, in love with the Crusades, the glorious France of Louis XIII, and the chivalry of knighthood. Already disgusted with the mediocrity and weakness of the Third Republic, Anatole sees it as his duty to collaborate with Hitler's Germany against the godless Soviet Union. During the drôle de guerre, he serves as an army chaplain, and after France's surrender, volunteers for the Vichy-based Legion des Volontaires Français and is part of the ill-fated German invasion of Russia in the winter of 1941. The aftermath of the war sees him imprisoned for wartime collaboration and finally living in an abbey as a confessor to six Benedictine nuns.

As Charles A. Baker wrote in the French Review, "Anatole de Meyrargues was not the only Frenchman of his generation whose right-wing political stance influenced him to collaborate actively with the Germans in World War II, after France was defeated. To suggest that dissatisfaction with French policy in the 1930s and the general chaos it led to were reasons for deciding to collaborate does not satisfy those who are looking for a more convincing psychological profile of people whose motives are still not clearly understood a half century later." Nevertheless, Baker also noted, "Within the parameters he has established for himself, Eric Deschodt, in a clear and spare style, has depicted in broad outline a character and an era, and he has done so very well."

Along with his longtime friend and publisher, Jean-Claude Lattès, Deschodt was awarded the prestigious Grand Prize for Historical Novel at the 2000 Rendezvous de l'histoire Festival in Blois, France. Their award-winning novel, Le Seul amant, is the deeply researched story of the kingdom of Cochin, a small state on the Malabar coast, deep in the southwestern region of the Indian peninsula. In the middle of the fifteenth century, Goda Varma rules a kingdom that is home to Hindus, primitive Christians, Muslims and a prosperous colony of Jews. Deschodt and Lattès describe a multicultural population that is thriving under a tolerant monarch. This comes to an end when two events coincide: Goda Varma is abandoned by his lover, the sacred dancer Shobita, and the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives seeking spices and bringing the Inquisition. A merchant is murdered, and the violence begins. With the Inquisition comes the end of harmony, and with the pain of an unrequited love, Goda Varma decides on war against the Portuguese. A reviewer on the French magazine Web site Lire called the book "a plentiful novel." The two authors also collaborated on the 2004 historical novel Marguerite et les enragés ("Marguerite and the Mad Ones"), for which they received the 2004 Prix Littéraire des Amis de Cabourg.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

French Review, December, 1984, Ruth Holzberg-Namad, review of La Gloire au Liban, p. 309; March, 1987, Robert M. Henkels, Jr., review of Eugénie, les larmes aux yeux, p. 558; October, 1989, Charles A. Baker, review of Le Royaume d'Arles, p. 202.

Times Literary Supplement, March 6, 1992, Peter Fawcett, review of Gide, le "contemporain capital," p. 9.

ONLINE

Lire Web site,http://www.lire.fr/ (October 13, 2004), review of Le Seul amant.*

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