Jean, Raymond 1925–

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Jean, Raymond 1925–

PERSONAL: Born November 21, 1925, in Marseille, France; son of Alexandre (a customs inspector) and Judith (Polacco) Jean; married Georgette Martel, October 29, 1949; children: Rémy, Laurent, Marion, Sylvie. Education: Lycée de Marseille, Facultés des lettres d'Aix et de Paris, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Actes Sud, LP 90038, Arles 13633, France.

CAREER: Professor in France, 1948, and in United States and Vietnam, 1953–58; cultural attaché, Maroc, Morocco, 1958–59; Université de Provence, Provence, France, professor, beginning 1974.

AWARDS, HONORS: Prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle, 1983, for Un fantasme de Bella B. et autres récits; Legion of Honor; Order of Merit.


Le bois vert (poems), P. Seghers (Paris, France), 1953.

Les ruines de New York (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1959.

Les grilles (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1963.

Hélène et les oiseaux, illustrations by René Moreu, Éditions La Farandole (Paris, France), 1965.

La littérature et le réel, de Diderot au "noveau roman," (literary criticism), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1965.

Le village (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1966.

Paul Éluard par lui-même (biography), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1968.

La vive (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1968.

Les deux printemps (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1971.

La ligne 12, Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1973.

La poétique du désir: Nerval, Lautréamont, Apollinaire, Éluard (literary criticism), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France) 1974.

La femme attentive (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1974.

La fontaine obscure: une histoire d'amour et de sorcellerie en Provence, au XVIIe siècle (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1976.

Lectures du désir: Nerval, Lautréamont, Apollinaire, Éluard (literary criticism), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1977.

Pratique de la littérature (literary criticism), 1978.

La rivière nue (novel), 1978.

(Editor) Victor Hugo, Écrits de Victor Hugo sur la peine de mort, Éditions Actes/Sud (Maussane les Alpilles, 1979.

La singularité d'être communiste, Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1979.

Photo souvenir (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1980.

Une ville d'or: adaptation théâtrale d'après "Noël" de Jean Giono, J. Laffitte (Marseille, France), 1981.

Choses parlées: entretiens (interviews), Champ Vallon (Seyssel, France), Diffusion, Presses Universitaires de France (Paris, France), 1982.

L., Seuil (Paris, France), 1982.

Un fantasme de Bella B. et autres récits, Diffusion, Presses Universitaires de France (Paris, France), 1983, translation by Juliette Dickstein published as Bella B.'s Fantasy and Other Stories, Hermes House Press (Northampton, MA), 1988.

L'or et la soie (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1983.

Jean Tortel (literary criticism), 1984.

Les lunettes, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1984.

(With Jean-Noël de Soye) Le piéton de Marseille, A.C.E. Éditeur (Paris, France), 1984.

Cézanne, la vie, l'espace (biography), Seuil (Paris, France), 1986.

La lectrice (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1986.

Transports (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), Diffusion, Presses Universitaires de France (Paris, France), 1988.

Un portrait de Sade (biography), Actes Sud (Arles, France), Diffusion, Presses universitaires de France (Paris, France), 1989.

Le roi de l'ordure (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1990.

(Editor) Gustave Flaubert, Mademoiselle Bovary, Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1991.

Les perplexités du juge Douglas: et autres nouvelles, Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1991.

L'attachée (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1993.

Cézanne et Zola se rencontrent, Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1994.

La cafetière (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1995.

Le clou: dialogue en sept journéees, Le Temps des Cerises (Paris, France), 1995.

Le dessus et le dessous, ou, Lérotique de Mirabeau, Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1997.

Lire, écrire autour de Raymond Jean, edited by Madeleine Borgomano and others, Publications de l'Université de Provence (Aix-en-Provence, France), 1998.

La leçon d'écriture, (stories), Editions de l'Aube (La Tour d'Aigues, France), 1999.

Tutoiements, Arléa (Paris, France), 2000.

René Char: un trajet en poésie (literary criticism), La Renaissance du livre (Tournai, France), 2001.

Clotilde, ou, Le second procès de Baudelaire (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 2002.

Le livre et le mot: essai, Leméac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2004.

Les baigneuses et autres nouvelles, Transbordeurs (Marseille, France), 2005.

Contributor to books, including L'artiste, témoin de son temps (conference papers), Université de Provence (Aix-en-Provence, France), 1990, and Paul, Max et les autres: Paul Eluard et les surréalistes, Editions de l'Albaron (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie), 1993; author of preface, Lettres de prison, by Gabrielle Russier, Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1970, translated and published as The Affair of Gabrielle Russier, Knopf (New York, NY), 1971.

ADAPTATIONS: La lectrice was adapted to film by Michel Deville, 1989.

SIDELIGHTS: French writer Raymond Jean is the author of novels, short stories, essays, and works of literary criticism. Jean was awarded the Prix Goncourt for Un fantasme de Bella B. et autres récits, which was translated and published as Bella B.'s Fantasy and Other Stories. The eight stories of this volume explore the relationships between men and women. Leslie Carper, writing in Small Press Review, stated that the stories are "magical … blending fiction, fantasy and feminism…. Jean has skillful command over his material and uses the wizardry of magical realism and the piquant wit of irony to point to inequities between men and women. That he does so with felicitous charm and surprising conclusions makes this an altogether winning collection."

The five stories found in La leçon d'écriture are all about the process of writing. Donald J. Dziekowicz reviewed the collection in World Literature Today, finding that it "abounds with examples of Jean's virtuosity…. It can be perceived as an ironic critique of postmodernist writing, our media-controlled society, and the consequences that result from our participation therein…. La leçon d'écriture is a pleasurable reading experience in which the author targets the very object he loves: writing. It is sharply satirical, cleverly intertextual, humorous, and disturbing."

Among Jean's novels is La femme attentive, the story of a woman discovered shoplifting a clock and the cruelty to which she is subjected by the store detective who catches her. L. is narrated by Laurent, a young drug addict who commits suicide. D.C. Cooper wrote in World Literature Today that L. "is deeply moving because of its sincerity and compassion, totally free from either self-pity or condemnation." La lectrice is perhaps Jean's most well-known novel. It is the story of Marie Constance, a young married woman with little to do. She becomes a reader, first for a paraplegic young man who is fascinated by her knees and legs, and ultimately for a judge who asks her to read the works of the Marquis de Sade while wearing no panties.

In Les lunettes Jean muses on his own experiences with glasses and contact lenses and how wearers of glasses are treated differently than nonwearers. He also speculates on how history might have been changed if certain people, like the murderous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, had worn glasses. J. Silenieks wrote in World Literature Today that "the narrative provides delightful reading and engaging insights into the contemporary scene as viewed by a bespectacled writer who alternates his comic and tragic vision with consummate skill."



French Review, February, 1995, E. Nicole Meyer, review of L'attachée, pp. 570-571.

Publishers Weekly, July 17, 1987, review of Bella B.'s Fantasy and Other Stories, p. 57.

Small Press Review, May, 1988, Leslie Carper, review of Bella B.'s Fantasy and Other Stories, p. 1.

Times Literary Supplement, August 23, 1974, review of La poétique du désir: Nerval, Lautréamont, Apollinaire, Éluard, p. 902; January 31, 1975, W.D. Redfern, review of La femme attentive, p. 120.

World Literature Today, summer, 1983, D.C. Cooper, review of L., pp. 429-430; summer, 1985, Maryann de Julio, review of Jean Tortel, p. 400, J. Silenieks, review of Les lunettes, p. 404; autumn, 1987, Guy R. Mermier, review of La lectrice, pp. 605-606; spring, 1989, Eric Sellin, review of Transports, pp. 293-284; summer, 1991, Karlis Racevskis, review of Le roi de l'ordure pp. 448-449; winter, 1995, Donald J. Dziekowicz, review of Cézanne et Zola se rencontrent, p. 92; spring, 1996, John L. Brown, review of La cafetière, p. 352; summer, 2000, Donald J. Dziekowicz, review of La leçon d'écriture, p. 622; winter, 2002, Lara Merlin, review of Tutoiements, p. 173.

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Jean, Raymond 1925–

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