Maurice Coindreau

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Maurice-Edgar Coindreau (December 24, 1892 – October 20, 1990) was a literary critic and translator of fiction from English into French and Spanish. He is notable for having introduced many canonical American authors of the 20th century—such as William Faulkner, John Dos Passos, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway—to the French-speaking public.


Coindreau was born in La Roche-sur-Yon, France, in 1892. He moved to Spain and taught French in Madrid before traveling to the United States. From 1922 to 1961, he taught French at Princeton University. After World War II, he spent time in Paris at the Hôtel du Pont Royal, a notable center for French intellectuals.[1]


In 1930, a student of Coindreau at Princeton introduced him to As I Lay Dying, a novel by William Faulkner, who was then a little-known novelist from Mississippi. Coindreau was impressed by the book and undertook a French translation. In June 1931, he published an article on Faulkner in Nouvelle Revue Français and continued to write critical essays on the author's work, helping to popularize Faulkner in France.[2] In 1937, he accepted Faulkner's invitation to visit his home Rowan Oak near Oxford, Mississippi. Coindreau had already written the first draft of his translation of The Sound and the Fury and asked Faulkner to help him clear up some of the unresolved questions he had about the novel.[3]

Coindreau also translated the works of Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and John Steinbeck into French, helping to usher in the "Age of the American novel" in France.[1]


  1. ^ a b Arndt, p. 354.
  2. ^ Fowler & Abadie, p. 194.
  3. ^ Blotner, pp. 379-380.


  • Arndt, Richard T. (2005). The First Resort Of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy In The Twentieth Century. Potomac Books, Inc. ISBN 1574885871. 
  • Blotner, Joseph Leo (2005). Faulkner: A Biography. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1578067324. 
  • Fowler, Doreen; Abadie, Ann J. (1989). Faulkner and the Craft of Fiction. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0878053735.