Authors: Alain-Fournier

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

French novelist

Author Works

Long Fiction:

Le Grand Meaulnes, 1913 (The Wanderer, 1928; also known as The Lost Domain, 1959)

Colombe Blanchet, 1922, 1924 (fragment).


Correspondance avec Jacques Rivière (1905-1914), 1926-1928

Letters au petit B., 1930

Lettres d’Alain-Fournier à sa famille (1905-1914), 1930

Towards the Lost Domain: Letters from London, 1905, 1986 (W. J. Strachan, editor)


Miracles, 1924 (poetry and short stories)


Alain-Fournier (ah-lan fewrn-yay), born Henri-Alban Fournier at La Chapelle-d’Angillon on October 3, 1886, spent a pleasant childhood and went to school in Brest, Bourges, and Paris. It was the school at Brest that served as part of the setting for his famous novel, The Wanderer. This minor masterpiece, based partly on Alain-Fournier’s own life and partly on a loose reconstruction of the life of English poet John Keats, tells of the attempt of a young schoolboy to discover through the haze of experience what is philosophically and psychologically real. Alain-Fournier himself was a symbolist, strongly influenced by the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire. In his novel he was, in part, all of his characters, splitting himself into different types in order to discover some identity and meaning in experience through a symbolic and poetic prose. Philosophically, he was strongly influenced by the work of Henri Bergson.{$I[AN]9810000275}{$I[A]Alain-Fournier[Alain Fournier]}{$S[A]Fournier, Henri-Alban;Alain-Fournier}{$I[geo]FRANCE;Alain-Fournier[Alain Fournier]}{$I[tim]1886;Alain-Fournier[Alain Fournier]}

After he left school, Alain-Fournier wrote for various contemporary journals in Paris before World War I. The Wanderer was well received upon its publication in 1913, and Alain-Fournier’s death in an early skirmish of the war was widely mourned. After the war his novel was to have a profound influence on young French writers who found in Alain-Fournier’s style a fierce and delicate instrument with which to trace the wanderings of the spirit toward reality. Miracles, a collection of Alain-Fournier’s poems and eleven of his short stories dealing with his life in Paris, all written between 1905 and 1911, was published posthumously by his friend and brother-in-law Jacques Rivière in 1924.

BibliographyCancalon, Elaine D. Fairy-Tale Structures and Motifs in “Le Grand Meaulnes.” New York: Peter Lang, 1975. Provides a stimulating discussion of an important element in Alain-Fournier’s novel.Ford, Edward. Alain-Fournier and “Le Grand Meaulnes” (“The Wanderer”). Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999. Discusses Alain-Fournier’s life and his interest in primitivism, arguing that Le Grand Meaulnes is a primitivist novel. Explains the novel’s structure, the literary influences that shaped Alain-Fournier’s work, and the novel’s influence on other writers.Gibson, Robert. Alain-Fournier: “Le Grand Meaulnes.” London: Grant & Cutler, 1986. Brief yet excellent in-depth study of the novel is the work of a scholar many consider to be the leading authority on Alain-Fournier in the English-speaking world.Gibson, Robert. The End of Youth: The Life and Work of Alain-Fournier. Exeter, England: Impress, 2005. Gibson, who published his first biography of Alain-Fournier in 1953, reassesses the author’s life and work based on newly discovered information. Includes new material about the two great loves of Alain-Fournier’s life, Yvonne de Quièvrecourt and “Simone,” the leading boulevard actress of her day, as well as many letters from Alain-Fournier’s friends and fellow writers, a compilation of his work as a literary gossip columnist, the complete drafts of his second novel, and the plays left unfinished when he went off to war in 1914.Gurney, Stephen. Alain-Fournier. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Presents an informative general introduction to the life and work of Alain-Fournier.Turnell, Martin. The Rise of the French Novel: Marivaux, Crèbillon fils, Rousseau, Stendhal, Flaubert, Alain-Fournier, Raymond Radiguet. New York: New Directions, 1978. Discussion of important French authors devotes a chapter to Alain-Fournier, providing biographical information as well as analysis of The Wanderer and Miracles.Ullmann, Stephen. “The Symbol of the Sea in Le Grand Meaulnes.” In The Image in the Modern French Novel: Gide, Alain-Fournier, Proust, Camus. 1960. Reprint. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977. Chapter examining sea imagery in Alain-Fournier’s novel is part of a larger work on the use of symbolism by four important modern French novelists.
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