Jean-Louis Curtis

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Jean-Louis Curtis (22 May 1917 – 11 November 1995),[1] pseudonym of Louis Laffitte, was a French novelist best known for his second novel The Forests of the Night (French: Les Forêts de la nuit),[1] which won France's highest literary award the Prix Goncourt in 1947. He is the author of over 30 novels.[2]

Curtis was born in Orthez, Pyrénées-Atlantiques.[2] He was one of the founders of the literary monthly La Table Ronde in 1948. He was elected to the Académie française in 1986.[2]

Martin Seymour-Smith said of Curtis in the early 1980s:

He is one of the best of the 'conventional' novelists now writing in France, but is very uneven: he is not worried about originality of technique, and prefers to concentrate on what he can do well, which is to anatomize bourgeois societies and 'artistic' communities.[3]

The author Michel Houellebecq made a homage to him in a long passage in La carte et le territoire (prix Goncourt 2010).


  • Les Jeunes hommes (1946) - first novel.
  • Les Forets de la nuit (1947; The Forests of the Night) - "acid portraits of those who played at being members of the Resistance"[4] Winner of the Prix Goncourt 1947.
  • Gibier de Potence (1949; Lucifer's Dream) -"an acid picture of postwar Paris".[3]
  • Haute École (1950)
  • Chers corbeaux (1951) - "targets the Parisian bourgeoisie who had done well out of the Nazi occupation"[4]
  • Les Justes Causes (1954; The Side of the Angels) about the liberation of Paris.
  • L'Échelle de soie (1956)
  • Un Saint au néon (1956)
  • La Parade (1960) "a devastating satire on rich old provincial upper-class drones".[4]
  • Cygne sauvage (1962)
  • La Quarantaine (1966)
  • Le Jeune couple (1967) "dealt with the splendours<sic> and miseries of .. 'consumer society'".[4]
  • Le Thé sous les cyprès (1969)
  • Un miroir le long du chemin (1969)
  • Le Roseau pensant (1971)
  • La Chine m'inquiète (1972)
  • Questions à la littérature (1973)
  • L'Étage noble (1976)
  • L'Horizon dérobé (1978)
  • La Moitié du chemin (1980) - Volume 2 of L'Horizon dérobé
  • Le Battement de mon cœur (1981) - Volume 3 of L'Horizon dérobé'
  • Le Mauvais choix (1984) "attacked Christian bigotry. It is his only historical novel, set in the third century AD."[4]
  • Le Temple de l'amour (1990)
  • La France m'épuise (1992)
  • Le monde comme il va (1995)
  • Andromède (1996)


  1. ^ a b Curtis, Jean-Louis. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica, Retrieved March 20, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  2. ^ a b c Obituary, The New York Times, November 12, 1995
  3. ^ a b Martin Seymour-Smith, The New Guide to Modern World Literature, 1985. pg. 498
  4. ^ a b c d e Quote by James Kirkup in Obituary in The Independent 14 Nov 1995.

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