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du Bos, Charles


French literary critic; b. Paris, Oct. 27, 1882; d. La Celle Saint-Cloud, Aug. 5, 1939. His mother was English, his grandmother American. He attended the Catholic Collège Gerson and the state lycée, Janson-de-Sailly. At Oxford University (190001) he lost his faith, influenced by the philosophy of Herbert spencer. At Florence and Berlin (190405) he studied philosophy and art criticism. Having met U.S. novelist Edith Wharton through their common friend Paul Bourget, Du Bos, together with André Gide, became active in her projects to aid war victims (191416), and after the war translated her The House of Mirth under the title Chez les Heureux du Monde, his first literary effort. He was Paris correspondent of the London Athenaeum (191921), supervisor of foreign writers at Plon's publishing firm (192227), literary advisor to the Éditions Schiffrin (192627), and secretary of the French Intellectual Union (192527). In 1927 he returned to the Catholic faith and attended Mass daily until his death.

While editing the Catholic quarterly, Vigile, Du Bos lectured at several universities in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland (192532). He taught at the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary's College, South Bend, Ind. (193739). Among his important works should be listed Approximations (7 ser., 192237), Diary (9 v., 190839), and Journal Intime (3 v., 194649). Depending on sympathy rather than on precise judgments, Du Bos's criticism aims at finding the creative source of a work. His Diary, revealing a remarkably wide range of close friendships with the artists of his time, manifests a striking and attractive personality and sensitively follows the course of his spiritual evolution.

Bibliography: a. p. bertocci, Charles Du Bos and English Literature (New York 1949). m. a. gouhier, Charles Du Bos (Paris 1951). j. mouton, Charles Du Bos: Sa relation avec la vie et avec la mort (Paris 1954).

[m. leleu]

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