11 April 1922|
|Died||7 June 1991
|Occupation||Short story writer, novelist|
|Notable awards||Prix des Deux Magots (1949), Prix Interallié (1959), Prix Henri Desgrange de l'Académie des sports (1972)|
Antoine Blondin (11 April 1922 – 7 June 1991) was a French writer.
Blondin was the son of a poet, Germaine Blondin, whose name he took, and of a printer's proof-reader. He gained a literary degree at the Sorbonne after studying at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris and the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen. He was sent to Germany in 1942 for compulsory war work during the German occupation of World War II. The experience inspired his first novel, L'Europe buissonnière, which appeared in 1949. It won the Prix des Deux Magots, named after a literary café in Paris, and brought him the friendship of authors such as Marcel Aymé and Roger Nimier and the philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1953, Bernard Frank named the group les Hussards, a title which stuck. His right-wing leanings did not prevent a friendship with the socialist François Mitterrand, for whom Blondin came to vote.
His next novels, Les Enfants du bon Dieu and L'Humeur Vagabonde confirmed a distinctive style which critics placed between Stendhal and Jules Renard. He was known for turns of phrase such as "After the second world war, the trains started moving again. I profited from that by leaving my wife and children" and "I have stayed very thin, and so have my novels." Blondin won the 1977 Prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle for Quat'saisons.
Blondin wrote press columns supporting the right in politics. He was a monarchist and wrote for monarchist publications such as Aspects de la France, La Nation Française and Rivarol. He also wrote sports features for L'Équipe, for which he covered 27 editions of the Tour de France and seven Olympic Games. The Tour de France winner, Bernard Hinault, said:
- He never interviews anybody but just records his impressions of what he's seen and what he feels. Sometimes René Fallet was with him. They both love the Tour and, in simple language, they turn it into a modern epic, a troubador's song, a crusade, as they describe its beauty. The most banal event becomes significant to Blondin; he has only to see it and write about it. He raised the status of the Tour by giving it his own cachet; it became a myth to be renewed every year. No matter how predictable the race, he could maintain the interest in it.
Blondin was a bon-vivant known for generous drinking in the Parisian district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, playing at bull-fighting with passing cars and collecting numerous arrests for drunkenness. He chronicled this life in his autobiographical romance, Monsieur Jadis ou L'École du Soir. He was frequently pursued for unpaid tax. Pierre Chany said:
- He really did owe a lot and, frankly, his situation was becoming serious; we even wondered if he wasn't going to prison. Faced with that, his friends called Maître Bertrand to the rescue. Bertrand managed to organise a summit meeting with the general inspector of taxes - the highest man in his profession, the equivalent of a minister. Full of good will, this man said:
- "Alors, M. Blondin, I understand that you want to come to terms..."
- "Let's come to terms!" Antoine said coldly.
- "How much would you be able to put into your account?"
- "A tear, monsieur..." Naturally, the man threw him out. It was poor Françoise who had to make another interview to sort it out.
A literary prize, for the best sports article, is awarded in his name.
- Lycée Pierre Corneille de Rouen - History
- Encres Vagabondes - Memoire of Antoine Blondin by par Claude Chanaud
- La Table Ronde, Paris
- L'Humanite - Sports- 17 July 2003 - Profile of Blondin - Chronicler of the Tour
- French novelist, 1927-1983)
- Hinault, Bernard (1989), Memories of the Peloton, Springfield, UK
- Jacques Bertrand, a Parisian barrister known for his work for sportsmen
- Blondin's second wife
- Penot, Christophe (1996), Pierre Chany, l'homme aux 50 Tours de France, Cristel, France
- Prix Litteraire - The Antoine Blondine Prize