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From the middle ages to modern times, Normandy has inspired the greatest of authors, be they natives or incomers
A timeless source of inspiration:
Alain Chartier, François de Malherbe, Alphonse Allais, Alain, André Breton, Roland Barthes, Jacques Prévert, Didier Decoin...

In the early days of Norman history, the region already played an active role in France's literary development and its contribution has continued throughout the ages.
Authors born in Normandy:
15th Century: Alain CHARTIER (circa 1385- circa 1435), born in Bayeux was one of the most renowned of France's Middle Age poets and one of the foremost eulogists of courtly love. He also depicted the distress experienced in France under English occupation. Jean MAROT (circa 1450-circa 1526), born in Mathieu, great French poet and rhetorician, father to the poet Clément MAROT.
16th Century: François de MALHERBE (1555-1628), born in Caen and educated in Normandy's Universities. Renowned as being the author who, between Hellenism and Latinism from the Renaissance and his own regional dialects, contributed towards establishing the French language and in setting the rules of an art that was to be further elaborated by the great classical authors of the following century.
17th Century: Jean Regnault de Segrais (1624-1701), born in Caen, poet, man of letters and French translator. He was elected member of the Académie Française in 1662. He translated Virgil and composed pastoral poems.
19th Century – 20th Century: Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly (1808-1889), born in Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, was a French novelist and journalist whose style was subject to controversy. He contributed to stimulating the French literary world during the second half of the 19th Century. Octave FEUILLET (1821-1890), born in Saint-Lô, was a successful novelist and dramatist. He was elected member of the Académie Française in 1862. Alphonse ALLAIS (1854-1905), born in Honfleur, humorist. Henri de Régnier (1864-1936), born in Honfleur, poet. Lucie DELARUE-MARDRUS (1874-1945), born in Honfleur, woman of letters. ALAIN (1868-1951), whose true name was Émile - Auguste CHARTIER, born in Mortagne-au-Perche, philosopher, journalist and French teacher. André BRETON (1896-1966), born in Tinchebray, writer, poet, theorician of surrealism. Max-Pol FOUCHER (1913-1980), born in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, writer, journalist and French television celebrity.
Roland BARTHES (1915-1980), born in Cherbourg, French writer and semiologist. He was one of the main influences in the development of French schools of theory including structuralism and semiology.

They all chose Normandy: Normandy, with its verdant countryside, its small, lively towns and villages, its contrasting coastline and its invigorating climate; so many features which have drawn and retained the literary attention of authors, poets and novelists who, throughout the centuries, have chosen to live, to work or to rest there.
The Countess of Ségur in Aube (Orne), Charles Baudelaire in Honfleur (Calvados), Marcel Proust in Cabourg (Calvados), Roger Martin du Gard in Sérigny (Orne), Jacques Prévert in Omonville-la-Petite (Manche), Marguerite Duras in Trouville-sur-Mer (Calvados), Boris Vian in Landemer (Manche), Françoise Sagan in Honfleur (Calvados)…
Many a year has gone by; however, Normandy's appeal to literary enthusiasts has continued to prevail. Today, many authors have chosen to live in Normandy, and others regularly come to visit, seeking inspiration and an environment propitious to literary creation. Among the « seniors »: Alain Robbe-Grillet, member of the Académie française, novelist and film-maker, who moved to Le Mesnil, in Orne; the author Gilles Perrault, resident in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont in Manche and Didier Decoin resident in La Hague in Manche.
The most abundant literary generation includes authors born in Normandy during or immediately following World War II: Jacques-Pierre Amette (Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, 1943), Michel Besnier (Tourlaville, 1945), Patrick Grainville (Villers-sur-Mer, 1947). The philosopher, Michel Onfray, is worthy of a special mention; born in Argentan (1959), he created the first "Université Populaire" (Popular University) in Caen and the "Université du Goût" (Taste University) in Argentan, his hometown.

  • Buste de Barbey d'Aurevilly au musée Barbey d'Aure
  • Livres anciens