BIOGRAPHY ANDRÉ MALRAUX – French writer, André Malraux is one of the great authors of the 20th century. Politician and involved in many struggles, he wrote in particular “The Human Condition”.
Short biography of André Malraux – Writer and politician, André Malraux was born on November 3, 1901 in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. His parents separated when he was only four years old. He grew up surrounded by women, including his mother, his grandmother, and his aunt. Achieved from Gilles de La Tourette syndrome from his childhood, the disease manifests itself in him by tics. Passionate about contemporary literature, art, and more generally culture, he abandoned his studies at the age of 17 to work in a Parisian bookseller. It is there that Malraux will meet Max Jacob. At only 18 years old, André Malraux published his very first book, Paper moons. He then became, between 1921 and 1923, the literary director of Editions du Sagittaire, where he rubbed shoulders with Jean Cocteau and other rising writers. Shortly after, he met Clara Goldschmidt, whom he married in October 1921. Driven by the adventure, Malraux went on a mission to Cambodia, where he was arrested for having participated in the smuggling of Khmer works.
At the insistence of French literary circles, André Malraux was released. He joined Saigon where he committed against the colonization of Indochina by creating a newspaper, Indochina, censored by the French authorities. This is only the first commitment in a life marked by many political battles against fascism. Knowing the condemned daily life, he returned to France with his wife in 1926. He then focused on his literary career, occupying important positions in the publishing industry. He writes a lot, and publishes the novels The Temptation of the West, then The conquerors, largely inspired by his adventures in the East. But it’s good with The human condition that André Malraux accedes to the consecration. Published in 1933, the novel met with great success and its author was awarded the Goncourt price in December of the same year. After years of militancy against fascism, Malraux takes part in the Spanish civil war, between 1936 and 1937. An experience which inspires his novel to him. Hope.
During the Second World War, André Malraux enlisted as a tanker in April 1940. Two months later, he was taken prisoner, and succeeded in escaping, thanks to his half-brother Roland, in September. In 1944, André Malraux joined a group of maquisards and was arrested by the Gestapo. His involvement in the Resistance earned him the opportunity to meet Charles de Gaulle, for whom he had an unfailing admiration, and of whom he became Minister of Information in 1945. Having married Madeleine, widow of his half-brother Roland, André Malraux returned to life. policy after crossing the De Gaulle desert. It then becomes Minister of Cultural Affairs when the General returned in 1958, responsible for promoting French culture. With the aim of safeguarding the French architectural heritage, a “Malraux Law” was created in 1962, making it possible to promote the real estate restoration of certain old districts, thanks to a system of tax deductions.
In December 1964, Malraux gave the speech about the transfer of the ashes of the resistance hero Jean Moulin to the Panthéon:
André Malraux assumed his function as minister for eleven years, during which he notably created the Maisons de la culture. He retired at the same time as General de Gaulle, in 1969. Essayist and historian, first known for his literary work before devoting himself to politics, André Malraux died on November 23, 1976 in Créteil, from skin cancer. He was 75 years old. His ashes were transferred to Pantheon in 1996, at the initiative of Pierre Messmer.
André Malraux: key dates
- November 3, 1901: Birth of André Malraux
- André Malraux was born in Paris, in a family from Dunkirk. His father leaving the family when he was only four years old, André grew up in his mother’s grocery store, surrounded by women.
- October 21, 1921: Malraux marries Clara Goldschmidt
- André Malraux marries Clara Goldschmidt. Following bad investments made with his wife’s money, Malraux ruins the couple. His wife then accompanies him on his adventures, in the East and in Europe. After the birth of their daughter Florence in 1933, they separated in 1937, but did not officially divorce until 1947.
- December 7, 1933: André Malraux receives the Goncourt for The human condition
- Published the same year, the novel The human condition by André Malraux is awarded the Goncourt Prize. Recounting the journey of a group of revolutionaries in Shanghai, this novel is in part inspired by its author’s numerous trips to Asia.
- November 12, 1944: Tragic death of Josette Clotis, mother of André Malraux’s two sons
- After their meeting, Josette Clotis and André Malraux start a relationship in December 1933, when Malraux is married. She gave him a first son, Gauthier, on November 5, 1940. André being still married, it was his half-brother Roland who had to recognize little Gauthier, so that he could bear the name of Malraux. Josette gives birth to a second son, Vincent, in March 1943. The following year, in 1944, she is at the station and is preparing to join André in the free zone. Josette tragically slips off the step, and has her legs torn to pieces by a train. She died of her injuries a few days later, leaving André Malraux’s sons orphaned by their mother.
- May 23, 1961: Gauthier and Vincent Malraux die in an accident
- While the American presidential couple, Jackie and John F. Kennedy, are in France, André Malraux is present. He promises Jackie Kennedy to act as his guide for a private tour of the Louvre. He then learned of the death of his two sons, Gauthier and Vincent Malraux, in a car accident. They were 21 and 18, respectively. Despite the sorrow, André Malraux fulfills his duty as minister and is present with the Kennedys.
- December 19, 1964: Jean Moulin at the Panthéon
- At the initiative of General de Gaulle and the Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, the ashes of Jean Moulin are transferred to the Pantheon in the presence of the family of the deceased and many former resistance fighters. Malraux, in a wonderful speech, pays tribute to the former head of the National Council of Resistance as well as to all the men who fought against the German occupation. By entering the home of the great men of France, Jean Moulin becomes a national hero. A vibrant tribute, to find here.
- November 23, 1976: Death of André Malraux
- André Malraux died in Créteil at the age of 75, from skin cancer. He is buried in the cemetery of Verrières-le-Buisson. A national tribute was paid to him on November 27, in Paris, at the Louvre Palace.
- November 23, 1996: The ashes of Malraux are transferred to the Panthéon
- Twenty years to the day after his death, the ashes of André Malraux are transferred to the Pantheon. Jacques Chirac occupies an important place in the tributes paid to the man of letters and the Gaullist that was Malraux.