Aragon, Louis

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Aragon, Louis

Louis Aragon (lwē ärägôN´), 1897–1982, French writer. One of the founders of surrealism in literature, Aragon abandoned that philosophy for Marxism after a trip to the USSR in 1931. He was a leader of the Resistance during World War II, and he edited the radical Paris daily Ce Soir and later the Communist weekly Les Lettres françaises. Aragon's early works include the volume of poems Feu de joie (1920) and the surrealistic novel Le Paysan de Paris (1926, tr. Nightwalker, 1970). His cycle of social novels concerning political responsibility are translated as The Bells of Basel (1934, tr. 1941), Residential Quarter (1936, tr. 1938), The Century Was Young (1941, tr. 1941), and Aurelien (1945, tr. 1947). Les Communistes, the first of his five-volume cycle of realistic novels, appeared in 1949. His later works include a novel about the artist Jean Louis Géricault, Holy Week (1958, tr. 1961); a history of the USSR from 1917 to 1960, Histoire parallèle (1962, tr. 1964); the novel La Mise à mort (1965); and a two-volume memoir of Matisse (1972). His major works of poetry include Le Crève-coeur (1941), war poems; the series of love poems to his wife, the novelist Triolet: Les Yeux d'Elsa (1954), Elsa (1959), and Le Fou d'Elsa (1963); and Les Chambres (1969).

See Louis Aragon, Poet of the French Resistance (ed. by H. Josephson and M. Cowley, 1945); study by L. F. Becker (1971).

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