Marcelle Tinayre ( 1877-1948) was born Marguerite-Suzanne-Marcelle Chastean. 1 She completed her education through the level of the baccalauréat, the university entrance examination that concludes French secondary education. 2 Chasteau did not complete a university education, however, choosing instead to marry Julien Tinayre, a painter and engraver, just two weeks after she passed her final examinations. She turned to literature early in her marriage and published two novels, Vive les vacances ( Hooray for Holidays [ 1895]) and L'Enfant gaulois ( The Gallic Child [ 1897]), under the pseudonym of Charles Marcel. Tinayre soon began earning her living from her writing and used her own name for her novels and journalism for the remainder of her life.
Tinayre contributed regularly to a wide variety of newspapers and periodicals, such as La Mode pratique, La Vie heureuse, and Le Temps. She wrote the first serial story published in Marguerite Durand's La Fronde and through that connection made her first contacts in the world of French feminism. The novels she wrote before 1914 were concerned with the psychology of love and how male-female relations governed the situation of most women. She increasingly became a proponent of feminism and the independence of women. This led her to an interest in women usually considered marginal to society and to literature; she created, for example, several admirable and respected spinsters, perhaps the first in French literature.
In 1908 Tinayre was named to receive the Legion of Honor (chevalier), but she wrote a satirical piece on the award before she received it; consequently, her name was removed from the honors list. In 1939 she received the Barthou Prize from the French academy.