History of Literature

French literature


Édouard Dujardin

Édouard Dujardin (November 10, 1861–October 31, 1949) was a French writer, one of the early users of the stream of consciousness literary technique, exemplified by his 1888 novel Les Lauriers sont coupés.


Édouard Émile Louis Dujardin was born in Saint-Gervais-la-Forêt, Loir-et-Cher, and was the only child of Alphonse Dujardin, a sea captain.

Dujardin became editor of the journal Revue Indépendente during 1886, and it was in this journal that his first works were published. His association with this journal resulted in it being termed an "important voice for the symbolists" (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center 2004).

When his parents died, Dujardin was the sole heir of their fortune, and he used some of this money to finance the plays Antonia during 1891 and Le Chevalier Du Passé during 1882.

His literary works are extensive and include numerous plays, poems and novels. Dujardin also produced works of literary and social criticism and reminiscence. James Joyce claimed his style of interior monologue owed its influence to works by Dujardin. He continued his involvement with journalism throughout his life and this resulted in numerous disputes with authorities, including charges of treason, though he was never convicted.

Dujardin had expensive and lavish tastes for clothing which was deemed "dandyish" for his time, and was known to frequent Parisian night life. His many dalliances with females were noted and he had had numerous relationships with actresses, models and other glamorous women. Dujardin was also known to have many female friends involved in the arts and he supported some of them financially.

His frivolous lifestyle eventually reduced his finances so he began numerous financial ventures, including gambling and real estate. He also offered his services to periodicals for marketing and advertising campaigns. It was here that the police noticed an article compiled by Dujardin which resulted in a jail sentence, though it was later remitted.

During 1885 Dujardin and Téodor de Wyzewa[1] initiated the Revue Wagnérienne, imitating Félix Fénéon and his Revue Indépendante which had first been published the year before. During 1886 Dujardin and Fénéon joined forces under the banner of a new improved Revue Indépendante. One of the innovations at this time was that the Revue started having small exhibitions in its rooms.

Dujardin married a woman named Germaine during 1893 and they later separated during 1901. They did not divorce until 1924 when he married Marie Chenou, a woman thirty years his junior. He fathered two children, lived a peaceful life during his old age and died aged 88 years old on October 31, 1949.



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