Goncourt brothers

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For the village and commune, see Goncourt, Haute-Marne.
Edmond (left) with his brother Jules. Photographed by Félix Nadar

The Goncourt brothers (French: [ɡɔ̃kuːʁ]) were Edmond de Goncourt ([ɛdmɔ̃], 1822–96) and Jules de Goncourt ([ʒyl], 1830–70), both French naturalism writers who as collaborative sibling authors, were inseparable in life.


They formed a partnership that "is possibly unique in literary history. Not only did they write all their books together, they did not spend more than a day apart in their adult lives, until they were finally parted by Jules's death in 1870."[1] They are known for their literary work and for their diaries, which offer an intimate view into the French literary society of the later 19th century.


Their career as writers began with an account of a sketching holiday together. They published books on aspects of 19th-century French art and society (e.g., Portraits intimes du XVIII siecle), dismissing the vulgarity of the Second Empire in favour of a more refined age. They wrote the long Journal des Goncourt from 1851, which gives a view of the literary and social life of their time.

They also published six novels, of which Germinie Lacerteux, 1865, was the fourth. It is based on the true case of their own maidservant, Rose Malingre, whose double life they had never suspected. Though their emphasis on pathological cases occasionally trumped their psychological delicacy, their impressionist style nonetheless had an intense and original precision.[according to whom?]

They are buried together (in the same grave) in Montmartre Cemetery.


Edmond de Goncourt bequeathed his entire estate for the foundation and maintenance of the Académie Goncourt. Since 1903, the académie has awarded the Prix Goncourt, probably the most important literary prize in French literature.

The first-ever English-language version of Manette Salomon, translated by Tina Kover, will be published in the spring of 2012 by Hol Art Books.



  • Germinie Lacerteux (1865)
  • Manette Salomon (1867)
  • Madame Gervaisais (1869)
  • Chérie (1884)


  • Journal des Goncourt, 1851-1896
  • French Eighteenth Century Painters, 1859-1875


  1. ^ Kirsch (2006)