Armand Lunel, 25 March 1920, on the occasion of his wedding
9 June 1892|
Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
|Died||3 November 1977
|Language||French and Judeo-Provençal|
|Notable awards||Prix Renaudot (1926)|
Armand Lunel (9 June 1892 – 3 November 1977) was a French writer and the last known speaker of Shuadit (Judeo-Provençal), a now-extinct Occitan language (in its written form based on the modified Hebrew alphabet ; the language persists though in its oral form, which is essentially the same as Provençal written with the Latin alphabet).
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Lunel was born in Aix-en-Provence, France, to a family that belonged to a Jewish subculture that had roots in the area for at least five centuries. After coming of age in the region, Lunel taught law and philosophy in Monaco. Lunel wrote extensively about the Jews of Provence.
He was a childhood friend of the composer Darius Milhaud, and wrote the librettos of Milhaud's operas Esther de Carpentras ("Esther of Carpentras," 1938, based on Shuadit folklore) and Les malheurs d'Orphée ("The Misfortunes of Orpheus," 1924). He also provided the libretto for Henri Sauguet's La chartreuse de Parme, premiered in 1939.
He married Rachel Suzanne Messiah, a daughter of architect Aron Messiah in 1920.
Most of the current knowledge about Lunel was collected by his son-in-law: Georges Jessula.
- L'Imagerie du cordier, La Nouvelle Revue Française, Paris, 1924.
- Nicolo-Peccavi ou L'affaire Dreyfus à Carpentras, Gallimard, Paris, 1926.
- Le Balai de sorcière, Gallimard, Paris, 1935.
- Jérusalem à Carpentras, Gallimard, 1937.
- Les Amandes d'Aix, Gallimard, Paris, 1949.
- La Belle à la fontaine, A. Fayard, Paris, 1959.
- J'ai vu vivre la Provence, A. Fayard, Paris, 1962.
- Juifs du Languedoc, de la Provence et des États français du Pape, Albin Michel, Paris, 1975.
- Les Chemins de mon judaïsme et divers inédits, presented by Georges Jessula, L'Harmattan, Paris, 1993.
- Armand Lunel at Beit Hatefutsot, the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Ramat Aviv, Israel
- "The Last Man Who Spoke Provence's Dead Jewish Language"
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