Suarès, André

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SUARÈS, ANDRÉ (Félix André Yves Scantrel ; 1868–1948), French essayist, poet, and critic. Born near Marseilles, Suarès was of Portuguese-Jewish descent. At the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris he was a lifelong friend of the great writer Romain Rolland, to whom he apologetically revealed his Jewish origin. Except for scattered remarks, the fragmentary manuscript L'Antisémitisme, and letters written under a pseudonym in all of which he defends *Dreyfus and attacks injustice, his writings have no Jewish interest. A disciple of *Nietzsche, he adopted a negative attitude toward Judaism.

Possessed of an encyclopedic mind, Suarès was equally at home in literature, art, music, politics, and philosophy. He published poetry and several plays, including La Tragédie d'Elektre et d'Oreste (1905), Cresida (1913), and Orphée (1935), which were never performed. A solitary and secluded life enabled him to devote himself to writing prolifically on the historical, artistic, and literary figures who for him incarnated genius or the heroic soul, and reflected his ideal of grandeur and beauty. His portraits and studies include Images de la grandeur (1901), Troits Hommes: Pascal, Ibsen, Dostoievski (1913), Debussy (1922), Goethe, le grand Européen (1932), and Trois grands vivants: Cervantès. Tolstoï, Baudelaire (1937). Among his meditative writings are Voici l'Homme (1906), Sur la Vie (3 vols., 1909–12), and Valeurs (1936).


G. Savet, André Suarés, Critique (1959); M. Maurin, in: Preuves, 2 (1952), 21–32; S.D. Braun, in: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 7 (1955), 285–91; idem, in: Romanic Review, 58 (1967), 254–70.

[Sidney D. Braun]