The Wanderer Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Le Grand Meaulnes, 1913 (English translation, 1928)

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Psychological

Time of work: Nineteenth century

Locale: France

Characters DiscussedAugustin Meaulnes

Augustin Wanderer, TheMeaulnes (oh-gews-TA[N] MOHL-neh), a romantic, dreamily adventurous new boy at Sainte-Agathe’s School who magnetically draws the other children to him. After leaving Sainte-Agathe’s, he lives in Paris with Valentine, whom he angrily leaves after learning of her love for Frantz. He marries and deserts Yvonne, but later, grief-stricken when informed of Yvonne’s death, he lovingly accepts the care of his young daughter.

François Seurel

François Seurel (frah[n]-SWAH sew-REHL), the son of M. and Mme Seurel. Prevented by a hip infection from playing with the village boys, he idolizes Meaulnes. After completing his own schooling, he joins his parents as a teacher in the school. He brings Yvonne and the wandering Meaulnes together and is saddened and puzzled over Meaulnes’ later desertion of her.

Frantz de Galais

Frantz de Galais (frah[n]ts deh gah-LAY), an unhappy young aristocrat who joins a gypsy band after losing his fiancée and who later remains briefly at Sainte-Agathe’s. Through Meaulnes, he finally finds his lost love.

Yvonne de Galais

Yvonne de Galais, Frantz’s sister, loved by Meaulnes, who marries and then deserts her. She dies after the birth of a daughter.

Valentine Blondeau

Valentine Blondeau (vah-lah[n]-TEEN blohn-DOH), Frantz’s fiancée, a peasant girl who flees from her home because she believes that a peasant girl should not marry an aristocrat. She becomes a dressmaker in Paris. She is later the mistress of Meaulnes, who deserts her when he discovers that she is Frantz’s lost fiancée. Through Meaulnes, the separated lovers are at last reunited.

M. Seurel

M. Seurel, the head of the middle school and one of the higher elementary classes at Sainte-Agathe’s.

Mme Seurel

Mme Seurel, his wife, the teacher of the younger children.

Millie Seurel

Millie Seurel, their daughter.

M. and Mme Charpentier

M. and Mme Charpentier (shahr-pah>(eh-roh-DYAHS), who demanded the head of John the Baptist on a charger. Also condemned to live through the centuries, she is driven by some power to the meeting place where the will is being read. There she temporarily foils a wicked Jesuit plot by producing a codicil to the will, suspending its execution for three months. At last, she joins Samuel by the cross and echoes his words.

Marius de Rennepont

Marius de Rennepont (mahr-YEWS deh rehn-POH[N]), Samuel’s friend in the seventeenth century, whose modest wealth, wisely invested by Samuel, results in the huge fortune his ill-fated descendants gather to share.


Rodin (roh-DA[N]), the secretary to the provincial of the Jesuits. His villainous scheming is responsible for most of the tragedy. At last, he is killed by a mysterious Indian poison.

Marshal Simon

Marshal Simon (see-MOH[N]), an exiled Bonapartist hero.

François Baudoin

François Baudoin (frah[n]-SWAH boh-DWA[N]), called Dagobert (dah-goh-BEHR), the marshal’s faithful friend. He accompanies the marshal’s daughters from Siberia to Paris to claim their share of the legacy.

Blanche Simon

Blanche Simon (blahnsh) and

Rose Simon

Rose Simon, the marshal’s daughters. Taken to a hospital during a cholera epidemic, they die of the disease.

Gabriel de Rennepont

Gabriel de Rennepont (gah-BRYEHL deh rehn-POH[N]), who is persuaded to become a Jesuit priest by evil Jesuits who intend to make sure he is the only heir. In this they are successful, but the entire inheritance is lost by fire. Gabriel then retires to live out his brief life with the Baudoin family.

Adrienne de Cardoville

Adrienne de Cardoville (ah-DRYEHN deh kahr-doh-VEEL), another Rennepont descendant. Falsely declared insane and committed to an asylum before the first reading of the will, she is later released. At last, after becoming the victim of a malicious report that results in a slaying, she chooses to die with her lover.

Prince Djalma

Prince Djalma (dzhahl-MAH), another Rennepont heir. Led to believe that Adrienne is another man’s mistress, he kills a woman he mistakes for Adrienne and discovers his mistake only after he has swallowed poison.

Agricola Baudoin

Agricola Baudoin (ah-gree-koh-LAH), Dagobert’s son. He is the man whom Prince Djalma, deceived, believes to be Adrienne’s lover.

Jacques de Rennepont

Jacques de Rennepont (zhahk), another heir, a good-hearted sensualist named Couche-tout-Nud (kewsh-tew-NEWD). He is jailed for debt. Later, he is separated from his mistress and dies after an orgy induced by a Jesuit agent.

François Hardy

François Hardy, a benevolent manufacturer and an heir. After the burning of his factory and the spiriting away of his young mistress, he is taken to a Jesuit retreat, where he accepts the doctrines of the order and dies as a result of the penances and fasts.

M. l’Abbe d’Aigrigny

M. l’Abbe d’Aigrigny (lah-BAY day-green-YEE), the provincial of the Jesuits.

BibliographyBlair, Fredrika. Introduction to The Wanderer, by Alain-Fournier, translated by Françoise Delisle. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1953. An analysis of Alain-Fournier’s style that connects it to the impressionist and symbolist movements in art and literature. The translation of the work has been superseded by later ones.Fowles, John. Afterword to The Wanderer, by Alain-Fournier, translated by Lowell Bair. New York: New American Library, 1971. A well-known British novelist explains his enthusiasm for the novel and shows why he thinks the work must be read on its own terms and why it resists conventional critical analysis.Gibson, Robert. The Land Without a Name: Alain-Fournier and His World. London: Paul Elek, 1975. A thorough, dense, yet accessible study that reviews all previous scholarship on Alain-Fournier as well as his posthumously published correspondence. Uses the theme of the lost paradise as its organizing principle.Gurney, Stephen. Alain-Fournier. Boston: Twayne, 1987. A complete introduction to the writer and his work. Relates The Wanderer to Alain-Fournier’s poems and letters, especially the ones he wrote to his brother-in-law, who was a literary and psychological soulmate. Contains a good selected bibliography.Jones, Marian Giles. A Critical Commentary on Alain-Fournier’s “Le Grand Meaulnes.” New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1968. Reviews many important themes of the novel in detail and provides a good starting point for further discussion. Not as comprehensive as Gibson but easier to use in an analysis of the novel.
Categories: Characters