Biography of Maurice Barrès (1862-1923)

Narrator, essayist and French politician, born in Charmes-sur-Moselle (in the Department of Vosges, within the Lorraine region) on September 22, 1862, and died in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Paris) on December 4, 1923. Author of an interesting narrative production that stands out for the elegance of his style and harmony in composition, defended, both in his literary work and his intense political activity, a conservative ideology that dominated the traditional values of nationalism and Catholicism. His novels, undervalued during much of the 20th century by artistic currents and intellectual progressives have been vindicated at the end of this century due to its undeniable influence on the literary tastes of the contemporary France.

Inclined since his youth to humanistic knowledge and the cultivation of literary creation, he/she studied his secondary education at the Lycée of Nancy, where he/she was fascinated by the reading of the works of Gautier (1811-1872), Baudelaire (1821-1867) and Flaubert (1821-1880). Completed his secondary education, he/she went to Paris and, in 1882, he/she undertook higher studies in law, at the time that it was a member in the forums and literary Cenacle of the city from the Seine, where he/she began to frequent the Parnassian circles and to collaborate regularly in different Rotary and magazines. Concerned by the skeptical and rationalist coldness that dominated the French lyrics of the moment - due largely to the success of the intellectual and lucid prose of Anatole France (1844-1924) - fought in the drafting of a trilogy of stories that, soon after, grouped under the title of Le culte du moi (the cult of the self, 1887-1891), sought to get French youth - whichBasically, were addressed - his visceral rejection of bourgeois rationalism and, on the other hand, its harmonious and mystic conception of personality. In fact, in the three novels that make up this cycle - Sous l'oeil des barbares (under the gaze of the barbarians, 1887), a free man (a free man, 1889) and Le jardin de Bérénice (garden of Berenice, 1891)-, Maurice Barrès rejected the established order and proclaimed the supremacy of the 'I' as unique living and tangible reality which in turn took him to prepend the value of sentiment against the force of reason; but already in the second of the above novels, the writer of Charmes-sur-Moselle made it clear that I exalted, individualistic and self-worshiping of its first delivery had evolved into a "me nationalist and traditionalist" in which are embodied the legacy of their cultural ancestors: "the individual self is not something independent [...]. It is a moment of a long culture [...], of a force that has preceded me and that it will survive me."

Meanwhile, Maurice Barrès had started to deploy an intense political activity that led him, in 1889, to be elected by the city of Nancy (capital of the Department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and the Lorraine region). From then on, it became one of the strongest bastions of conservatism nationalist and anti-Semite, ideological position that left well patent in his abundant journalistic articles, published in the newspapers La Cocarde - founded by the own bar in 1894 and Le Drapeau. These collaborations in the daily newspapers achieved singular relevance at the end of the 19th century, when, with regard to the scandal raised by Zola (1840-1902) with his famous article "J' acknowledgement ', Barrès entered fully into the controversy of the Dreyfus affair, he/she declared openly anti-Jewish and viciously attacked the great master of naturalism. Attentive, at the same time, his already relevant narrative career during that murky period in the history of France completed his second novel cycle, Le roman de l' énergie nationale (the novel of national power, 1897-1902), integrated by them deracines (the uprooted, 1897), L'appel au soldat (the call to the soldier, 1899) and Leurs figures (their faces, 1902). Increasingly anchored to his reactionary vision of the present, Barrès offered in these three novels a desolate fresco of French society contemporary, subject - in his opinion-to the whims and ambitions of a political class corrupt, and doomed to impotence in a system of Government that was not to his liking (the parliamentary democracy). His message of conservative, nationalist, and traditionalist came to express unambiguously that the decline of a country has its origin in the neglect of the values of tradition; that the glorious France of the past had to be defended against intellectuals and progressive ideologues; and that Catholicism, staple on the agglutination of the traditional legacy, would be covered by the official agencies if they wanted to keep the territorial, cultural and spiritual unity of the nation.

In this same line of exaltation of a nationalism, extreme patriotism joyful proclamation, Defense enraged Catholic spirituality, calling the recovery of man mystical and providential and emphatic disparagement of the Semitic culture (i.e. in a very close ideological line that, two decades later, would be known around the world as "fascism"), you must locate the following narrative deliveries of Maurice Barrès, including - for the quality of his prose - the titled Les poison Françaises (French friends, 1903), Au service de l'Allemagne (serving Germany, 1905), Colette Baudache (1909) and the colline inspiree (the inspired Hill, 1913).At the time of writing these novels, the author of Charmes-sur-Moselle continued to maintain a fruitful presence on the political landscape of their country, now in the ranks of the infamous "Ligue de la Patrie française" ("Ligue of the homeland"), in which coincided with other writers that, as the narrator and playwright Jules Lemâitre (1853-1914) and the poet and playwright Edouard François Coppée (1842-1908)had been as belligerent as the own Barres in the controversy over the Dreyfus affair. Result of this intense dedication to politics was election as a Deputy for Paris in 1906, where he/she was also appointed member of the Académie Française.

Paradoxically, that reactionary ideology which runs from the beginning to the end the narrative production of Maurice Barrès not looks - or does not, however, clearly - in their elegant and enjoyable travel books, in which carries the elegance of its harmonious and sensual style, as well as the fascination with Eastern culture, sometimes seen from the cynicism and the distance, but always appreciated by your exquisite spirituality. Within this genre of travel literature, notably his works entitled Du sang, the mort et volupté (about blood, voluptuousness and death, 1894), La mort de Venise (the death of Venice, 1902), Le voyage de Sparte (the journey to Sparta, 1906), Greco au le secret de Tolède (Greco or the secret of Toledo1912) and, above all, a garden sur l'Oronte (a garden next to the Oronte, 1922), in which situated in Arab lands a beautiful version of the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde.