Eugène Sue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Eugène Sue
Eugène Sue 3.jpg
Born Joseph Marie Eugène Sue
(1804-01-20)January 20, 1804
Died August 3, 1857(1857-08-03) (aged 53)
Annecy-le-Vieux, Kingdom of Sardinia
Resting place Loverchy Cemetery, Annecy-le-Vieux
Occupation Novelist
Language French
Nationality French
Education Lycée Condorcet
Period 1830–1857
Literary movement Romanticism
Notable work(s) Les Mystères de Paris
Notable award(s) Legion of Honour
"Marie Sue" redirects here. For the term in fan fiction, see Mary Sue.

Joseph Marie Eugène Sue (French pronunciation: ​[ø.ʒɛn sy] (20 January 1804 – 3 August 1857) was a French novelist.

He was born in Paris, the son of a distinguished surgeon in Napoleon's army, and is said to have had the Empress Joséphine for godmother. Sue himself acted as surgeon both in the Spanish campaign undertaken by France in 1823 and at the Battle of Navarino (1828). In 1829 his father's death put him in possession of a considerable fortune, and he settled in Paris.

A street in Paris is named for Eugene Sue, in the 18th Arrondissement: Rue Eugene Sue is located near the Marcadet-Poissonniers Metro station, and is not far from Montmartre and the Basilica of the Sacré Coeur.

A street in Mexico City, Calle Eugenio Sue, in the Polanco neighborhood, is also named for Sue.


His naval experiences supplied much of the materials of his first novels, Kernock le pirate (1830), Atar-Gull (1831), La Salamandre (2 vols., 1832), La Coucaratcha (4 vols., 1832–1834), and others, which were composed at the height of the Romantic movement of 1830. In the quasi-historical style he wrote Jean Cavalier, ou Les Fanatiques des Cevennes (4 vols., 1840) and Lautréaumont (2 vols., 1837). His Mathilde (1841) contains the first known expression of the popular proverb "La vengeance se mange très-bien froide", lately expressed in English as "Revenge is a dish best served cold".[1]

He was strongly affected by the Socialist ideas of the day, and these prompted his most famous works, the "anti-Catholic" novels: Les Mystères de Paris (published in Journal des débats from 19 June 1842 until 15 October 1843) and Le Juif errant (tr. "The Wandering Jew") (10 vols., 1844–1845), which were among the most popular specimens of the serial novel.[2]

He followed these up with some singular though not very edifying books: Les Sept pêchés capitaux (16 vols., 1847–1849), which contained stories to illustrate each of the Seven Deadly Sins, Les Mystères du peuple (1849–1856), which was suppressed by the censor in 1857, and several others, all on a very large scale, though the number of volumes gives an exaggerated idea of their length. Some of his books, among them Le Juif Errant and the Mystères de Paris, were dramatized by himself, usually in collaboration with others. Sue is a character in Eco's 2010 novel The Prague Cemetery. One of his lovers stipulated in her will that his book Les Mystères de Paris be bound in her skin, and it was. His period of greatest success and popularity coincided with that of Alexandre Dumas, père, with whom he has been compared.

After the revolution of 1848 he sat for Paris (the Seine) in the Assembly from April 1850, and was exiled in consequence of his protest against the coup d'état of 2 December 1851. This exile stimulated his literary production. Sue died at Annecy (Savoy) in 1857.


  1. ^ Language Log. Penn University
  2. ^ Catholicism and American Freedom,, John McGreevy Norton and Co., New York 2003, pp. 22-23.

External links[edit]