Lucie Delarue-Mardrus

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September, 1905 issue of La Vie Heureuse

Lucie Delarue-Mardrus (3 November 1874 in Honfleur – 26 April 1945 ) was a French journalist, poet, novelist, sculptor, historian and designer. She was a prolific writer who produced more than 70 books.

In France, she is best known for her poem beginning with the line "L'odeur de mon pays était dans une pomme" ("In an apple I held the smell of my native land.") Her writings express her love of travel and her love for her native Normandy. L'Ex-voto (1932), for example, describes the life and milieu of the fishermen of Honfleur at the opening of the twentieth century.

She was married to the translator J. C. Mardrus from 1900 to 1915, but her primary sexual orientation was toward women. She was involved in affairs with several women throughout her lifetime, and she wrote extensively of lesbian love.

In 1902-03 she wrote a series of love poems to the American writer and salon hostess Natalie Clifford Barney, published posthumously in 1957 as Nos secrètes amours (Our Secret Loves).[1] She also depicted Barney in her 1930 novel, L'Ange et les Pervers (The Angel and the Perverts), in which she said she "analyzed and described Natalie at length as well as the life into which she initiated me".

The protagonist of the novel is a hermaphrodite named Marion who lives a double life, frequenting literary salons in female dress, then changing from skirt to trousers to attend gay soirées. Barney appears as "Laurette Wells", a salon hostess who spends much of the novel trying to win back an ex-lover, loosely based on Barney's real-life attempts at regaining her relationship with her former lover, Renée Vivien.[2]

She was awarded the first recipient of the Renée Vivien prize for women poets in 1936.[3][4][5]

One admirer wrote to describe Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, stating in part;

"She is adorable. She sculpts, mounts to horse, loves a woman, then another, and yet another. She was able to free herself from her husband and has never embarked on a second marriage or the conquest of another man."


  1. ^ Souhami, 179.
  2. ^ Livia, 22-23.
  3. ^ Collective authors (June 27, 1936). "Le grand prix de poésie Renée-Vivien" [The Renée-Vivien great prize for poetry]. Journal des débats politiques et littéraires (in French). Paris, F: n.p. (177): 2. Retrieved 2016-04-10. Le prix Renée-Vivien, d'une valeur de 10.000 francs, dû à la générosité de la baronne de Zuyten de Nyevelt. née de Rothschild, vient d'être attribué à Mme Lucie Detarue-Mardrus. Ce grand prix de la poésie, fondé en souvenir de la grande poétesse Renée Vivien, doit être décerne chaque année à une femme française ou étrangère, pour un recueil de poésies édité ou manuscrit.
  4. ^ Brandt, Joseph A.; Temple House, Roy (1937). Noth, Ernst Erich, ed. "Literary landmarks of 1936". Books Abroad. Norman (Oklahoma), United States: University of Oklahoma Press. 11: 30. ISSN 0006-7431. Retrieved 2016-04-10. The Renee Vivien prize to Mme Lucie Delarue-Mardrus for her collected poetry.
  5. ^ Waelti-Walters, Jennifer Rose (May 1, 1990). Feminist novelists of the Belle Epoque: love as a lifestyle. Bloomington (Indiana), United States: Indiana University Press. p. 186. ISBN 9780253363008. Retrieved 2016-04-10. In 1936 she was the first recipient of the Renee Vivien Prize for poetry.


  • Livia, Anna(1995). "Introduction: Lucie Delarue-Mardrus and the Phrenetic Harlequinade." Delarue-Mardrus, Lucie; trans. Anna Livia (1995). The Angel and the Perverts. New York: New York University Press. pp. 1–60. ISBN 0-8147-5098-2.
  • Souhami, Diana (2005). Wild Girls: Paris, Sappho, and Art: The Lives and Loves of Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-34324-8.
  • Lucie Delarue-Mardus