Reader's Encyclopedia

Daudet, Léon (1868 - 1942)

French journalist and writer. The son of Alphonse Daudet, he gave up medicine to devote himself to political journalism. His intemperate, antidemocratic articles, polemical essays, and diatribes at first appeared in Le Gaulois, Le Figaro, and the fanatically anti-Semitic La Libre Parole. In 1908, Daudet became coeditor with Charles Maurras of the ultraroyalist Catholic journal Action française, L'. For twenty years, the force of his invective was feared, and he wielded a political influence that enabled him to be elected to the Chamber of Deputies, where he served from 1919 to 1924. His influence was, however, insufficient to sustain a murder charge which he had brought against the chauffeur in whose cab his son had committed suicide. The chauffeur prosecuted him, and, following a noisy trial, he was sentenced to prison for defamation. With royalist help, he escaped and fled to Belgium in 1927. Besides his journalism, Daudet wrote several novels, including Les Morticoles (1894) and Sylla et son destin (1922). His nonfiction books include L'Avant - guerre (1913), Souvenirs (1914), L'Hérédo (1916), Le Monde des images (1919), and Le Stupide XIX Siécle (1922).

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