Lunel, Armand

views updated


LUNEL, ARMAND (1892–1977), French novelist. The descendant of an old Provençal Jewish family, Lunel was born in Aix-en-Provence. After studying law, he later taught philosophy in Monaco. Writing in his spare time, he made his name with his sensitive and imaginative portrayals of Provence and its colorful inhabitants, both Jews and non-Jews. Lunel's major works include L'Imagerie du Cordier (1924); Nicolo-Peccavi, ou l'Affaire Dreyfus à Carpentras (1926); Noire et grise (1930); Le Balai de sorcière (1935); Jérusalem à Carpentras (1937), a collection of short stories; La Maison de la femme peinte (1946); Les Amandes d'Aix (1949); and La Belle à la fontaine (1959).

Lunel wrote librettos for his childhood friend, the composer Darius *Milhaud, notably the text of Esther de Carpentras (1926), on which Milhaud later based his opéra-bouffe, Barba Garibo (1950), and the oratorio David (1954), which was performed for the 3,000th anniversary of Jerusalem. "Esther," inspired by an old Provençal Purim play, evokes the humor and drama of Jewish life in Carpentras during the Middle Ages. Lunel also initiated a series of books on the French provinces, to which he himself contributed J'ai Vu Vivre La Provence (1962). Lunel was awarded the Gobert History Prize of the French Academy for his The Jews of Languedoc Provence and The French States of the Pope (1975) and the 1976 French Grand Prix for Literature.


A. Spire, Quelques Juifs et demi-Juifs (1928); Guide Religieux de la France (1967), 596.

[Moshe Catane]