Alphonse Daudet is considered to be one of the most iconic names of French literature. Unlike many famous writers in world history, Alphonse wasn’t very well educated, and wrote his first novel at the age of fourteen. Many of Alphonse’s works drew inspiration from instances of his life. His liaison with a model, and the depressing times of his childhood were reflected in few of his books. His works ‘Trente ans de Paris’ and ‘Souvenirs d’un homme
de lettres’ seemed to be more like autobiographies. Though he passed away in the final decade of the 19th century, his name still continues to be popular amongst the citizens of France. A lot of educational institutions in France have been named after this famous writer. However, he was also criticized by many for being anti-Jewish and a monarchist. His book ‘Le Nabab’, revolved around a Jewish politician, and spoke about Alphonse’s strong dislike towards the community. However, Alphonse, till date, is considered by many literature lovers to be one of the handful writers who portray human emotions in a very realistic manner.
Alphonse Daudet was born on May 13, 1841, in Nimes. Daudet, the son of poor factory workers, went to Paris in 1857, where he published his first volume of poetry, “Les Amoureuses,” just a year later. In that same year, he got a position with “Figaro.” From 1860 until 1865, he had a position as secretary to the Duke of Morny, who was a powerful minister and the half brother of Napoleon III. Beginning in 1866, Alphonse Daudet’s humoristic, Naturalistic-leaning “Lettres de mon moulin” appeared as a series in “Figaro.”
Because of this success, he had to concentrate on novels for the next years and published such successful works as “Jack” (1876), the story of an illegitimate child, which was followed by more stories later. In the spirit and method of Charles Dickens, Daudet developed his own somewhat Impressionistic style in his works. In contrast to Edmond de Goncourt, he did not convey a constant feeling of toil and pain, but he was rather a “charmeur,” as Émile Zola named him, giving a sense of
happiness and excitement. As a close friend of Goncourt, Flaubert, and Zola, Alphonse Daudet belonged to the Naturalist school of prose.
Until tomorrow: Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.