Rolin, Dominique 1913–

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Rolin, Dominique 1913–


Born May 22, 1913, in Brussels, Belgium; naturalized French citizen, 1955; daughter of a librarian and an educator; married second husband, Bernard Milleret (a sculptor), 1955 (died 1957); children: (first marriage) one daughter.


Home—Paris, France.


Novelist, short story writer, playwright, and children's author. Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, affiliate, 1933-36; Member of Jury Fémina, 1958-65.


Prix de la Nouvelle, Mesure, 1936, for La peur; Prix Fémina, 1952, for Le soufflé.


La peur (novella), 1936.

Les Marais (novel), Éditions Denoël (Paris, France), 1942.

Het moeras, vertaald door Bert Parloor, [Ghent, Belgium], 1943.

Anne la bien-aimée, [Belgium], 1944.

Les deux soeurs (novel), Denoël (Paris, France), 1946.

Moi, qui ne suis qu'amour, Denoël (Paris, France), 1948.

L'ombre suit le corps, Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1950.

Eloi, nouvelle, Oeuvres Libres (Paris, France), 1950

Les enfants perdus, Éditions Vineta (Lausanne, France), 1951, translated by Joyce Emerson as The Girl Who Ran Away, Alvin Redman (London, England), 1956.

Le soufflé (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1952, translation by David Moore published as The Pulse of Life, Alvin Redman (London, England), 1954.

Les quatre coins (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1954.

Le gardien, Denoël (Paris, France), 1955.

Conte triste de l'horloge, Oeuvres Libres (Paris, France), 1956.

L'epouvantail, pièce en quatre actes, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1957.

Artémis, Denoël (Paris, France), 1958.

Contes, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1959.

Le lit, Denoël (Paris, France), 1960.

Le for intérieur, Denoël (Paris, France), 1962.

La maison, la forêt, Denoël (Paris, France), 1965.

Maintenant, Denoël (Paris, France), 1967.

Le corps, Denoël (Paris, France), 1969.

Le fauteuil magique, Casterman (Tournai, France), 1971.

Les éclairs, Denoël (Paris, France), 1971.

Lettre au vieil homme, Denoël (Paris, France), 1973.

Deux, Denoël (Paris, France), 1975.

Dulle Griet, Denoël (Paris, France), 1977.

L'enragé: Récit, Ramsay (Paris, France), 1978, translation by Elaine L. Corts published as Divine Madman, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 2005.

L'infini chez soi, Denoël (Paris, France), 1980.

Le gâteau des morts, Denoël (Paris, France), 1982, translation by Jennifer Curtiss Gage published as The Deathday Cake, University of Missouri (Columbia, MO), 1987.

La voyageuse, Denoël (Paris, France), 1984.

L'enfant-roi, Denoël (Paris, France), 1986.

Trente ans d'amour fou, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1988.

Bruges la vive, Editions Ramsay/de Cortanze (Paris, France), 1990.

Vingt chambers d'hôtel, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1990.

Un convoi d'or dans le vacarme du temps, Ramsay/de Cortanze (Paris, France), 1991.

Deux femmes un soir, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1992.

Les geraniums: Nouvelles de jeunesse, et quelques autres, Éditions de la Différence (Paris, France), 1993.

Le jardin d'agrément, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1994, translation by Monique F. Nagem published as The Garden of Delights, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1998.

Train de rêves, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1994.

L'accoudoir, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1996.

La rénovation (novel), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1998.

Journal amoureux (novel), Gallimard (Paris, France), 2000.

Le futur immédiat (novel), Gallimard (Paris, France), 2001.

Plaisirs, Gallimard (Paris, France), 2002.

Lettre à Lise (novel), Gallimard (Paris, France), 2003.

Contributor to periodical Le Point.


The literary career of Belgian novelist Dominique Rolin spans more than six decades. After a few minor works, she published her debut novel, Les Marais, in 1942. In addition to more than thirty novels, Rolin has also written short stories, children's literature, and drama. Known for a narrative style that is very personal, Rolin has written many novels that are autobiographical in nature and often allude to various aspects of her own private life. Over the course of her career, which many critics break up into at least three phases, Rolin received her share of critical praise and commercial success. She has also earned a number of literary awards, including the Prix de la Nouvelle in 1936 for her novella, La peur, and the prestigious Prix Fémina in 1952 for her novel Le soufflé. Because Rolin's style of work changed over the course of her career, critics have struggled to classify her. Literary critic Adma d'Heurle addressed this in an issue of World Literature Today: "It is difficult to identify Rolin with any literary school, although she has been, at times, classified as belonging to the nouveau roman movement, popular in France after World War II." D'Heurle added: "She is an original writer whose distinctive style and innovative approach to confessional literature set her apart from any literary school or style of fiction."

Born in Brussels, Belgium, Rolin relocated to Paris, France, when she was thirty years old. Enamored with French culture and the Paris literary scene, Rolin not only stayed there, she became a French citizen in 1955. For this reason, she is considered at least as much a French writer as she is a Belgian one. Despite leaving her homeland, however, Rolin continued to use the land of her ancestors as the backdrop for many of her novels. One of the main reasons Rolin moved to Paris is that French reviewers were praising Les Marais, and she wanted to go where she was getting the recognition. Soon after arriving in Paris in 1946, she published her third novel, Les deux soeurs. After several more novels, including Le soufflé and Les quartre coins, she met her second husband, a sculptor named Bernard Milleret. They married in 1955, but he was stricken with cancer and died in 1957. His death was a turning point in both Rolin's life and work. Thereafter, her books became much more autobiographical and personal. She chronicled her husband's last days in the novel Le lit, which was written in the form of a journal. Also, she began developing a first-person, intimate narrative style, for which she became recognized by readers and literary critics in France. One ability that Rolin has shown over the course of her career is to create stories out of the mundane experiences of everyday life. For example, her novel La rénovation revolves around the renovation of the old apartment building in which she lives in Paris. In the book, the building is given human-like qualities and is portrayed as a victim of the construction workers hired to alter its appearance. Like many of her other works, the book was praised by critics, including Monique F. Nagem of the French Review: "As in her other novels, Rolin chooses to stretch the conventions of narrative fiction with oneiric imagery and a plot structure that artfully combines stream of consciousness with realism to deepen an understanding of her inner universe and the mysteries of human actions," Nagem wrote. Rolin continues to write and publish books. In 2000, at the age of 87, she published Journal amoureux, which a contributor to the Economist called "a vivid and joyous account." In the book the narrator (Rolin), mourning the death of her husband, meets a young man named Jim. This same character has made appearances in many of Rolin's novels, and there is speculation that he represents a real lover in the author's life. Despite the large number of novels Rolin has published and the success she has earned, only a few of her novels have been translated into English.



Economist, June 17, 2000, review of Journal amoureux, p. 15.

French Review, October, 1997, Nina Ekstein, review of L'accoudoir, p. 139; October, 1999, Monique F. Nagem, review of La rénovation, p. 169.

World Literature Today, autumn, 1989, Marilyn Gaddis Rose, review of Trente ans d'amour fou, p. 653; spring, 1993, Pamela A. Genova, review of Deux femmes un soir, p. 327; autumn, 1993, Bettina L. Knapp, review of Les geraniums: Nouvelles de jeunesse, et quelques autres, p. 773; summer, 1998, Adma d'Heurle, review of La rénovation, pp. 580-581.