Françoise Mallet-Joris

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Françoise Mallet-Joris
Françoise Mallet-Joris in 1988
Françoise Mallet-Joris in 1988
Françoise Lilar

(1930-07-06)6 July 1930
Antwerp, Belgium
Died13 August 2016(2016-08-13) (aged 86)
OrganizationPrix Femina
Académie Goncourt
Spouse(s)Robert Amadou
Alain Joxe
Jacques Delfau
ChildrenDaniel Amadou
Pauline Delfau
AwardsPrix des bibliothécaires
Monaco Prize

Françoise Lilar (6 July 1930 – 13 August 2016), pen name Françoise Mallet-Joris, was a Belgian author.

She was born in Antwerp, the daughter of the writer Suzanne Lilar and the Belgian Minister of Justice and Minister of State Albert Lilar, and the sister of the 18th century art historian Marie Fredericq-Lilar. Mallet-Joris spent two years in the United States before going to Paris, France, where she attended the Sorbonne.[1] She lived in Paris and Brussels, Belgium.

She has been married to Robert Amadou, Alain Joxe and Jacques Delfau, and has four children, Daniel Amadou, and Vincent, Alberte and Pauline Delfau.

She is a prolific writer who was a member of the Prix Femina committee from 1969 to 1971 when she was appointed to the Académie Goncourt.

Literary debut[edit]

Mallet-Joris began her literary career early with the publication of Le rempart des Béguines in 1951. It was translated as The Illusionist. It is set in a town that resembles Mallet-Joris' native Antwerp and addresses the themes of social class and lesbianism. She followed her first work with a sequel in 1955 named La chambre rouge, in English; The Red Room. In it, she continued her treatment of social class and norms in Belgium.


Mallet-Joris' novels deal with interpersonal relationships and social class in France and Belgium. Often, characters must deal with disappointment as they realize they have unrealistic expectations. She also depicts social climbers and deceitful characters.

In Allegra (1976) Mallet-Joris tackled the themes of racism and feminism in France.

She has also written works of non fiction, like The Uncompromising Heart: A Life of Marie Mancini, Louis XIV's First Love in 1964, and she has written essays about her philosophy of life and writing in Lettre à moi-même (A Letter to Myself) in 1963 and La Maison de papier (The Paper House) in 1970.

Literary awards[edit]

Mallet-Joris won the "Librarians' Prize" (Prix des bibliothécaires) in 1958 for House of Lies (in French, the title was Les mensonges which means simply "Lies"), the Femina Prize in 1958 for Café Céleste (in French, it was called L'empire céleste which means "Heavenly Empire" or "Celestial Empire", a title that is highly ironic) and the Monaco Prize in 1964 for her biography of Marie Mancini.


Below is a partial listing of her books.

  • 1951: Le rempart des Béguines (2006 translation by Herma Briffault as The Illusionist, published by Cleis Press with introduction by Terry Castle. Previous translations had been titled Into the Labyrinth or The Loving and the Daring)
  • 1955: La chambre rouge (The Red Room)
  • 1958: Cordélia (a collection of short stories);
  • 1966: Les signes et les prodiges (Signs and Wonders)
  • 1968: Trois âges de la nuit (The Witches)
  • 1970: La Maison de papier (The Paper House)
  • 1973: Le jeu du souterrain (The Underground Game)
  • 1976: Allegra
  • 1978: Jeanne Guyon (a biography)
  • 1980: Dickie-Roi (miniserie : Dickie-roi)
  • 1985: Le rire de Laura (Laura's Laugh)
  • 1990: Adriana Sposa
  • 1993: Divine
  • 1993: Les Larmes


  1. ^ Susan Petit (2001). Françoise Mallet-Joris. Rodopi. pp. 1–157. ISBN 978-90-420-1216-5. Retrieved 10 May 2011.

External links[edit]