Reader's Encyclopedia

Duhamel, Georges (pen name of Denis Thevenin, 1884 - 1966)

French dramatist, novelist, essayist, and poet. A leading member of the Abbaye Group, Duhamel wrote several plays early in his career: La Lumiere (1911; translated as The Light, 1914), Le Combat (1913; translated as 1915), and L ' OEuvre des athletes (1920). His Vie des martyrs (1917; translated as New Book of Martyrs, 1918) and Civilisation (1918, Prix Goncourt; translated as Civilization, 1919) describe his experiences as a doctor on the front lines and in hospitals during World War I. But the best known of Duhamel's writings are the romans - fleuves, Vie et aventures de Salavin (5 vols, 1920 - 32), the story of a mediocre yet idealistic man who tries to become a saint but fails, and La Chronique des Pasquiers (10 vols, 1933 - 45), a semiautobiographical portrait of a family under the Third Republic. His essay La Possession du monde (1919) urges, as do his novels, the cultivation of the inner life on which is based the fraternity of mankind.

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