Merle, Robert (Jean Georges) 1908-2004

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MERLE, Robert (Jean Georges) 1908-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born August 29, 1908, in Tebessa, Algeria; died March 27, 2004, in Monfort L'Amaury, France. Educator and author. Merle was a literature professor in France who also won awards and critical recognition for his novels and was most familiar in the United States for writing the book that became The Day of the Dolphin. Born in Algeria, he was educated at the Sorbonne, where he earned a doctorate degree. He taught high school literature classes during the 1930s, and with the onset of World War II served in the French Army and was captured in 1940. After the war, he returned to academia, teaching English and American literature at various institutions, including the University of Rennes, the University of Toulouse, the University of Caen, the University of Rouen, and the University of Paris X in Nanterre; he also taught at the University of Algiers during the mid-1960s. When he was not teaching, Merle proved himself a talented writer, winning the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1949 for his military novel Weekend à Zuydcoote, as well as the Prix de la Fraternité in 1962 for L'lle and the Prix Franz Hellens in 1974 for the science fiction novel Les hommes protégés. Occasionally, he would venture into speculative science fiction, as with Un animal doué de raison (1967), which was adapted as the 1973 George C. Scott film, The Day of the Dolphin, and the post-holocaust story Malevil (1972). He was also a serious student of history, penning an ambitious, thirteen-volume fictional work set in France during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, collectively titled Fortune de France. Other books of note by Merle include La Mort est mon métier (1952) and Derrièr la vitre (1970). Also working as a translator of books by writers ranging from Jonathan Swift to Erskine Caldwell, he continued publishing into the twenty-first century, with his last novel, Complots et cabalas, being released in 2001.



Reginald, Robert, Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.


Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2004, p. B11.

New York Times, April 3, 2004, p. A25.

Times (London, England), May 21, 2004, p. 40.

Washington Post, April 2, 2004, p. B9.