Édouard Louis

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Édouard Louis
Louis in 2019
Louis in 2019
BornEddy Bellegueule
(1992-10-30) 30 October 1992 (age 29)
Hallencourt, Picardy, France (present-day Hallencourt, Hauts-de-France, France)
Alma materÉcole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)
École Normale Supérieure (ENS)
GenreNovel, drama; Non-Fiction, Sociology

Édouard Louis (born Eddy Bellegueule;[1] 30 October 1992)[2] is a French writer.


Édouard Louis, born Eddy Bellegueule[1] was born and raised in the town of Hallencourt in northern France, which is the setting of his first novel, the autobiographical En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule [fr] (2014; published in English in 2018 as The End of Eddy).[3][4]

Louis grew up in a poor family supported by government welfare: his father was a factory worker for a decade until "One day at work, a storage container fell on him and crushed his back, leaving him bedridden, on morphine for the pain"[5] and unable to work. His mother found occasional work bathing the elderly.[6] The poverty, racism, alcoholism and his homosexuality which he dealt with in his family during his childhood would become the subject of his literary work.[7]

He is the first in his family to attend university. In 2011, he was admitted to two of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in France, the École Normale Supérieure[8] and to the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences[9] in Paris. In 2013, he officially changed his name to Édouard Louis.[10]

The same year, he edited the collective work, Pierre Bourdieu. L'insoumission en héritage, which analyses the influence of Pierre Bourdieu on critical thinking and political emancipation.[11]

In 2014 he published En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule, an autobiographical novel. The book was the subject of extensive media attention and was hailed for its literary merit and compelling story. The book also generated debate and controversy over social perception of the working class.[12] It was a bestseller in France and has been translated into more than 20 languages.[13][14]

In September 2015, Édouard Louis wrote an open letter, "Manifesto for an Intellectual and Political Counteroffensive", together with philosopher Geoffroy de Lagasnerie.[15] In the letter, which was published on the front page of Le Monde, and was later reprinted in English by the Los Angeles Review of Books, Louis and Lagasnerie denounce the legitimization of right-wing agendas in public discourse and establish principles by which leftist intellectuals should reengage in public debate.[16][17]

In 2016, Louis published his second novel, History of Violence.[18] In recounting the story of his rape and attempted murder on Christmas Eve of 2012, the autobiographical novel centers around the cyclical and self-perpetuating nature of violence in society.[19][20]

In May 2017 Louis wrote "Why My Father Votes for Le Pen", an op-ed that was published on the front page of The New York Times.[21] In the piece, published on the eve of the French presidential election, Louis argued that the rise in popularity of nationalist and right-wing politicians among working class and poor voters in France was a result of changing priorities on the left.[22] In May 2018, Louis released his third novel, Qui a tué mon père (Who Killed My Father), in which he expands upon this theme. He explores the deteriorating health of his father, who had been severely injured in an industrial accident, and the additional bodily harm he endures as a result of political decisions that reduced his financial support and forced him back to work.[23]

Style and influences[edit]

The work of Édouard Louis maintains a fine link with sociology: the influence of Pierre Bourdieu pervades his novels, which invoke the themes of social exclusion, domination, and poverty.[24] The influence of William Faulkner is also revealed through Louis' superposition in the same sentence of various levels of language – placing the popular vernacular at the heart of his writing.[25] Louis' novel Histoire de la violence contains an essay on Faulkner's novel Sanctuary.

The author says that, by working with various levels of language, he wants to use violence as a literary subject, "I want to make violence a literary space, like Marguerite Duras made a literary space of madness or as Claude Simon made war into a literary space, or as Hervé Guibert did with sickness."[26]

Louis has said that his primary contemporary influence was French sociologist Didier Eribon, whose book Returning to Reims, Louis says "marked a turning point for his future as a writer."[27] He has also included James Baldwin and Simone de Beauvoir amongst "the writers who have meant the most to me".[28]



  • En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule [fr]. Le Seuil. 2014. ISBN 9782021117707. French-language version.
  • Histoire de la violence [fr]. Le Seuil. 2016. ISBN 978-2021177787. French-language version.
  • Qui a tué mon père [fr]. Le Seuil. 2018. ISBN 978-2021399431. French-language version.
  • Combats et métamorphoses d'une femme [fr]. Le Seuil. 2021. ISBN 978-2021312546. French-language version.
  • Changer: methode [fr]. Le Seuil. 2021. ISBN 978-2021483048. French-language version.



Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Curtet-Poulner, Isabelle (February 15, 2014). "En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule: chronique de la haine populaire" [En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule: chronicle of the popular hate] (Review) (in French). Marianne. Retrieved 13 July 2014. Louis signe un premier roman époustouflant, En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule, son patronyme originel.
  2. ^ Notice autorité BnF
  3. ^ Tobias Grey (19 June 2018). "For the French Author Édouard Louis, His Books Are His Weapon". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  4. ^ "'The End Of Eddy' Tells Of Growing Up Poor And Gay In Working-Class France". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  5. ^ Louis, Édouard (May 4, 2017). "Why My Father Votes for Le Pen". The New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Pascaud, Fabienne (January 25, 2014). "En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule" (Review) (in French). Telerama. Retrieved 13 July 2014. le père est depuis longtemps au chômage après s'être bousillé le dos à l'usine, et où la mère nettoie les vieillards du village.
  7. ^ Fruchon-Toussaint, Catherine (March 13, 2014). "Edouard Louis, phénomène littéraire à 21 ans" [Édouard Louis, Literary Phenomenon at 21] (Radio Transcript) (in French). Radio France Internationale. Retrieved 13 July 2014. Vous y racontez vos jeunes années, de 9 à 13 ans essentiellement, dans le nord de la France, où vous êtes né et vous avez été élevé dans une famille souffrant d’une grande misère, avec au quotidien l’alcoolisme, la pauvreté, le chômage, le désert culturel.
  8. ^ "Procès verbal des résultats d'admission" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Savoir/agir en homophobe. A propos d'un sinistre canular qui n'a pas été perçu comme tel et d'un problème plus général". 9 March 2015.
  10. ^ Biography in "Eddy se fait la belle", Le Monde des Livres, 16 January 2016
  11. ^ Présentation de l'ouvrage sur le Site de l'éditeur.
  12. ^ Philippe, Elizabeth (March 15, 2014). "Edouard Louis: "Ce que j'écris dans 'Eddy Bellegueule' a été vécu"" [Edouard Louis: "What I wrote in 'Eddy Bellegueule' has been lived"] (Interview) (in French). Les Inrocks. Retrieved 13 July 2014. lLe journaliste se permet des choses à l’égard des classes populaires qu’il ne se serait pas permis à l’égard des dominants. C’est l’expression d’un racisme de classe insupportable.
  13. ^ Abescat, Michel (July 15, 2014). "Edouard Louis : "J'ai pris de plein fouet la haine du transfuge de classe"" [Edouard Louis:"I've been slammed by the hatred of those who change social classes] (Interview) (in French). Telerama. Retrieved 15 July 2014. Héritier du sociologue Pierre Bourdieu, sur l'oeuvre duquel il a dirigé un ouvrage collectif, infiniment sensible, et sincère, il porte un regard aigu sur la réception de son livre.
  14. ^ Swanson, Claire (February 21, 2014). "New Releases on Top in January" (News). Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 13 July 2014. lA handful of new titles topped the bestseller lists in the international markets at the start of 2014. In France, 21-year-old Edouard Louis’s debut novel, Finishing Off Eddy Bellegueule, came in at #1.
  15. ^ "Manifeste pour une contre-offensive intellectuelle et politique | Blog | Le Club de Mediapart". Club de Mediapart (in French). Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  16. ^ "Intellectuels de gauche, réengagez-vous!". Le Monde.fr (in French). ISSN 1950-6244. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  17. ^ "Manifesto for an Intellectual and Political Counteroffensive". The Los Angeles Review of Books. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  18. ^ Leyris, Raphaëlle. "Roman autobiographique : Edouard Louis et le mauvais garçon". Le Monde.fr (in French). ISSN 1950-6244. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  19. ^ "Les illusions éperdues d'Edouard Louis". Bibliobs (in French). 7 January 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  20. ^ "Transfuge - Le Grand Entretien : Edouard Louis "écrire, c'est lutter contre les racismes"". www.transfuge.fr. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  21. ^ Louis, Edouard (May 4, 2017). "Why My Father Votes for Le Pen". New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  22. ^ Broder, David (May 8, 2018). "Macron's Anniversary". Jacobin.
  23. ^ Leyris, Raphaëlle (May 10, 2017). "Edouard Louis : " Empêcher le lecteur de détourner le regard "". Le Monde. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  24. ^ "Nos choix pour la rentrée littéraire d'hiver". Le Monde.fr (in French). ISSN 1950-6244. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  25. ^ "Édouard Louis : " Mon livre a été écrit pour rendre justice aux dominés "". Salut. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  26. ^ Des Lys, Richard (April 29, 2014). "Édouard Louis : le choc littéraire" [Édouard Louis: The Literary Shock] (Interview) (in French). Etre. Retrieved 13 July 2014. "La violence a été le projet fondateur de mon livre. Je voulais faire de la violence un espace littéraire, comme Duras a fait avec la passion, la folie. Ou comme Claude Simon a fait pour la guerre. Ou Hervé Guibert, pour la maladie. C’est une violence qui la plupart du temps ne se voit pas. Justement, la puissance de la littérature pour moi, c’est montrer avec les mots l’invisible. ".
  27. ^ Petrowski, Nathalie (May 28, 2014). "Édouard Louis: famille, je vous hais" [Family: I hate you] (Interview) (in French). La Presse. Retrieved 14 July 2014. Le premier livre qui marquera un tournant pour le futur écrivain paraît en 2009. C'est Retour de Reims de Didier Eribon.
  28. ^ Louis, Édouard (11 February 2017). "Édouard Louis: 'For my family, a book was a kind of assault'". The Guardian Review section. London. p. 12. Retrieved 13 February 2017.

External links[edit]