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Mauriac, François


(French, 1885–1970)

Mauriac, first published as a poet, was a devout Catholic whose elegantly written novels are acute psychological studies of human morality and need. Tending to centre on crises in which worldly and emotional impulses are set against spiritual and religious demands, they are powerful, observant portraits of internal conflict. Begin with Thérèse Desqueyroux (1927), which deals with a young woman's murderous attempts to liberate herself from her husband, and her subsequent struggle with her own spirituality. Move on to The Unknown Sea (Les Chemins de la mer; 1939), the story of the upper-middle-class Revolou family and their various responses to sudden poverty and loss of social standing after their father's financial ruin and suicide. Mauriac's work has been widely translated. He was elected to the French Academy in 1933, and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1952.

Graham Greene, André Gide, William Golding  SR

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