Writer Christian Giudicelli is dead


Christian Giudicelli, January 1, 2004.

Novelist, playwright, critic and publisher, the man of letters Christian Giudicelli died on May 14, in Paris, at the age of 79.

The only son of a couple of civil servants, he was born in Nîmes on June 27, 1942 and, if the light of the place marked him, the child was very bored there. A chance when it puts you on hold for meetings, sharpens curiosity and promotes empathy. Two women then count more than anything, who assure him that he is handsome, attractive and lucky. Her great-aunt Yette contrasts with Cévennes Protestant morality by not taking offense at her taste for boys, which gives her the right to“happy eroticism”. His Corsican grandmother, meanwhile, welcomes him during his stays in Zonza with an explicit “Miracolo! ».

Passing from the high school of Nîmes to the Sorbonne, in Paris, the young man dreams of being an actor, plays Don Juan Diaz in a play by Mérimée, but does not shine there and very quickly tries his hand at novel writing. From his first texts, he imposes a less casual than disenchanted tone, the assumed lucidity not adorning itself with any panache. The Young Man with the Unicorn (Threshold, 1966), A private lesson (Threshold, 1968), A handful of sand (Threshold, 1971), The Islanders (Seuil, 1976): all are distinguished by the French Academy, but the young writer is not moved by it, always attracted by the theater, where he gives his first texts as a playwright – The Queen of the Night (L'Avant-scène, 1977), The Song of the Goat (L'Avant-scène, 1981), Early youth (Actes sud, 1987), a duo of women who no longer expect anything from life and whose creation at the La Bruyère theater in Paris, with Annie Girardot and Odette Joyeux, ensures lasting fortune. The literary laurels consecrated him in the meantime. A family matter (Seuil, 1981) earned him the 1982 Valery-Larbaud prize, and if The Vanishing Point (Seuil, 1984) was topped on the eighth ballot by The place (Gallimard), by Annie Ernaux, for the 1984 Renaudot, he won the prize two years later for Resort (Gallimard).

The taste of the lost

Everything seems easy to this discreet man who obtains recognition without having to fight for it. The protection with which his parents surrounded him, others ensured him without fail as soon as he arrived in Paris. His companion, the painter and draftsman Claude Verdier (1932-1997), like him from the Gard, watched over his junior by ten years during the thirty years that their love lasted, only interrupted by the death of the artist – Christian Giudicelli belatedly revealed its strength in a sumptuous diary of mourning (After you, Threshold, 2004). The man of letters and radio Roger Vrigny (1920-1997) welcomed him to France Culture in his literary programs, where the young man made a lasting place for himself, as at Gallimard, where he soon revealed himself to be a scrupulous publisher. Finally, he sat on the Renaudot jury in 1993.

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