Simon, Claude 1913-2005
SIMON, Claude 1913-2005
(Claude Eugéne Henri Simon, Claude Henri Eugéne Simon)
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 10, 1913, in Tananarive, Madagascar; died July 5, 2005, in Paris, France. Writer. Often associated with the New Novelists school, Simon was a Nobel Prize winner whose challenging prose style eschewed literary conventions to experiment with sentence structure and disjointed time. A year after his birth in Madagascar, his father passed away and he was brought to France; his mother, too, died when he was just eleven, and Simon was then raised by his grandparents. They provided him with a good education, and he attended the prestigious Collége Stanislas. Simon's later fiction was profoundly influenced by his war experiences. He joined the International Brigades that aided the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, and he also fought for the French against Nazi Germany in World War II. After the fall of France, he was taken prisoner in Saxony, but eventually escaped to Salses to continue the fight with the French Resistance. The chaos of war would make its way into several of his novels. When World War II ended, Simon purchased a vineyard in the south of France, and winemaking became his main occupation, in addition to writing. Influenced by such authors as William Faulkner and Marcel Proust, Simon unabashedly experimented with his fiction. Many critics associated him with the French "nouveau roman," style which disposed of conventional literary components such as plot and character development. However, Simon did not fully fit into this category because, unlike others in this school, he used metaphor liberally in his writing. Among his works are Le vent (1957; translated as The Wind, 1959), La route des Flandres (1960; translated as The Flanders Road, 1961), which won the Prix de l'Express, Histoire (1967; translated in 1968), which won the Prix Medicis, L'invitation (1987; translated as The Invitation, 1991), and Le Tramway (2001). Simon won the Nobel Prize in 1985.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2005, p. B14.
New York Times, July 10, 2005, p. A23.
Times (London, England), July 11, 2005, p. 47.