Claude Vigée

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Claude Vigée (born Claude Strauss on 3 January 1921) is a French poet who writes in French and Alsatian. He describes himself as a "Jew and an Alsatian, thus doubly Alsatian and doubly Jewish".[1]


Vigée was born in Bischwiller, Bas-Rhin. He is descended from an old family of Alsatian cloth merchants. He spent his youth in Bischwiller, then attended secondary school in Strasbourg. Displaced from Alsace by the invasion of the Germans in 1940, he began to study medicine in Toulouse before joining the Résistance. In 1942, he published his first poems in the underground magazine "Poésie 42". He fled to the United States in 1943, where he obtained his doctorate in Romance Languages and Literature in 1947. He taught French Language and Literature at Ohio State University, then at Wellesley College and then at Brandeis University. Since 1950, he has regularly published his poetry in France. He lived in Israel between 1960 and 2001, where he taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem until his retirement in 1983. On March 18, 2000, the "Claude Vigée" Cultural Center was opened in his home city of Bischwiller.

Vigée currently lives in Paris.

Among other subjects, Vigée's poetry discusses the suffering of the Jews, the Alsatians, the Alsatian Jews and the Jews in Alsace, but he also deals with the beauty and the transitoriness of the simple, rural heritage. The pursuit for peace and interpersonal accord is also a recurring motif.


Vigée is the winner of numerous awards, including the Johann Peter Hebel Prize (1984), the Grand prix de Poésie de la Société des Gens de Lettres de France (1987), the Prix de la Fondation du Judaïsme français (1994), the Grand prix de Poésie de l'Académie française (1996), the Würth Prize for European Literature (2002) and the Elisabeth Langgässer Literature Prize (2003).[2]


English Translations[edit]


  • La lutte avec l'ange (1939–1949) Publication 1950. Réédition L'Harmattan 2005 : Collection Poètes des cinq continents
  • La corne du grand pardon (1954)
  • L'été indien (1957)
  • Le poème du retour (1962)
  • Le passage du vivant
  • Dans le creuset du vent,
  • Danser vers l’abîme
  • Dans le silence de l'Aleph, Albin Michel, 1992
  • Les Puits d'eau vive, Albin Michel, 1993
  • Treize inconnus de la Bible, 1996
  • Être poète pour que les hommes vivent 2006.


External links[edit]