Louis Aragon

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Louis Aragon

Louis Aragon (born October 3, 1897 as Louis-Marie Andrieux in Paris , † December 24, 1982 ibid) was a French poet and writer . Influenced by Charles Dickens , Comte de Lautréamont , Leo Tolstoy , Maxim Gorky , he is one of the representatives of socialist realism . Together with André Breton and Philippe Soupault , he founded Surrealism in 1924 .


Aragon was born out of wedlock to the politician Louis Andrieux and Marguerite Toucas-Massillon and was christened Louis Marie Alfred Antoine . In the baptismal register of November 3, 1897, he is listed as the son of Jean Aragon and his wife Blanche Moulin , who was born in Madrid . To avoid a social scandal, he was housed with a wet nurse in Brittany for the first nine months of his life . After moving house within Paris, the Tourcas family took him in; his grandparents pretended to be his parents. In 1914 he was given a birth certificate in the name of Louis Aragon .

At the age of seven, Aragon began to write poetry and prose. For the sake of the family, he began studying medicine in 1916. In 1917 he met André Breton, with whom he became a close friend. With Breton and Philippe Soupault, he founded the magazine Littérature in 1919 , in which he also published texts from his childhood. In 1921 Aragon became known as a writer through his first novel Anicet ou le panorama .

Aragon developed into a tireless night owl, a regular in cafes, bars and brothels . He processed his experiences in his novel Pariser Landleben , published in 1926 . In 1925 he met Nancy Cunard , a British shipowner's daughter worth millions, with whom he toured Europe over the next three years. She left him during a trip to Venice in September 1928 and he attempted suicide using sleeping pills, but was found in time. Aragon returned to Paris. There he met the Russian writer Vladimir Mayakovsky , who was accompanied by his lover Lilja Brik , the wife of the writer Ossip Brik . At one of the meetings, Aragon first met Elsa Triolet , Lilja Brik's sister , who had been living in Paris for several years .

At this point in time, the close community of the surrealist group that had formed around him, Breton, Soupault and Paul Éluard in Paris was becoming increasingly questionable. His affair with Cunard was accused of infidelity by his friends, and Breton increasingly claimed the leadership role, which caused their friendship to suffer. He left the shared flat with Breton, moved in with Triolet in 1929 and in the years that followed he saw less and less among the Surrealists, which was also due to the fact that Breton and Triolet had a difficult relationship with one another. In 1932 Aragon targeted the Surrealists in his poem Red Front , whereupon the friendship between Breton and Aragon finally broke up. They never saw each other again. In 1934 he began a cycle of socialist novels, the first volume of which he dedicated to Triolet. Since 1926 he was a member of the French Communist Party .

Grave of Elsa Triolet and Louis Aragon

When the Second World War broke out , Aragon was drafted again as an assistant doctor and married Triolet in 1939. In June 1940 he was dismissed from service, whereupon they fled to the still free zone in the south of France. They settled in Nice and worked for the Resistance . In the summer of 1942, however, the entire workforce of the Resistance organization, Les Lettres françaises , which Aragon co-founded, was arrested and shot. The couple lived in Provence with forged papers until the end of the war . After the liberation of Paris in 1944, they returned there.

Aragon's literary engagement with European fascism can be found in his article Ne rêvez plus qu'à l'Espagne from November 1936 and in his surrealist poem The Lilac and the Rose (Les lilas et les roses), published in 1940 in the collection Le Crève- cœur . What is remarkable about this poem, which uses the medieval religious symbol of the two flowers to praise the collaboration of Gaullists and Communists in the Resistance, is the fact that Général de Gaulle wrote this poem when the French liberators entered Paris in 1944, where he was at the fore of his troops marched, declaimed aloud by heart and “carried them like a tricolor ”, as Fritz J. Raddatz reports.

The famous saying La femme est l'avenir de l'homme (“The woman is the future of man / man”) comes from Aragon .

His interest in Russian culture persisted , and when he read the short story Dshamilja by the Kyrgyz writer Tschingis Aitmatow in a Russian literary magazine in 1958 , he decided to translate what he considered to be "the most beautiful love story in the world" into French.

In 1977, like around sixty other intellectuals, he signed an appeal for the decriminalization of pedophilia , which appeared in the Liberation and Le Monde newspapers. The appeal was initiated by the pedophile writer Gabriel Matzneff . In 1972 he was elected as an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters .

Aragon died on Christmas Eve 1982 in Paris and, like his wife, is buried in the park of their house in Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines ; the former mill is described in detail in Ralf Nestmeyer's French poets and their houses .

Relationship to communism

Since 1926 Aragon was a member of the French Communist Party . Under the influence of Elsa Triolet, he became more and more committed to the KPF. His partner was in close contact with the Soviet secret police GPU . Her sister Lilja was even listed as a GPU informant, her husband Ossip Brik, who later became Aragon's brother-in-law, worked for the secret police on a regular basis.

In 1931 Aragon published the poem "Long live the GPU" (Vive la Guépéou) , he also called for the establishment of a communist secret police based on the model of the GPU. He defended the persecution of political opponents as "necessary cruelty".

In 1935 he was one of the organizers of the anti-fascist "Congress of Writers in Defense of Culture" (Congrès international des écrivains pour la défense de la culture) in Paris, which was partially financed by Moscow . Along with Henri Barbusse and the Soviet publicist Mikhail Kolzow, he was one of the group of Stalinist writers who fought in the backdrops of the congress to maintain party lines. They stood against a group of avowed sympathizers of communism around André Gide , André Malraux and Ilja Ehrenburg , who wanted to build a large bipartisan movement against fascism .

For several weeks in 1936 Aragon was involved in the Spanish Civil War as a member of a Stalinist propaganda unit. In the French party newspaper L'Humanité , he defended the establishment of the party line against other left-wing groups. Together with Elsa Triolet, he ensured that the works of Stalin in French translation were distributed in France.

After the Second World War, Aragon became involved in the Moscow-controlled world peace movement . In 1949 he supported the magazine Les Lettres françaises in a civil case brought by Viktor Kravchenko . As a Soviet diplomat, Kravchenko had received political asylum in Washington in 1944. In his sensational book “I chose freedom” (Zurich 1947) he described the everyday terror in the Soviet Union under Stalin. Aragon and other communist publicists then accused Kravchenko of lying and propaganda for the US secret services.

Also in 1949 Aragon began his novel cycle "Les communistes" in six (of about twelve planned) volumes, which describes France in the period from February 1939 until the defeat in 1940 (planned: until 1945). At the suggestion of the Stalinist party leader Maurice Thorez , he was elected to the Central Committee of the French Communist Party in 1950 . In 1956 he rejected the secret speech of Khrushchev on the XX. Congress of the CPSU , in which this had denounced Stalin's crimes, vigorously back and defended the Stalin system.

But in the same year his loyalty to the line began to crack: in an article for the Lettres françaises, he defended Ehrenburg against attacks from the cultural department of the Central Committee in Moscow, whereupon this issue of the magazine was not allowed to be delivered in the Soviet Union. In 1966, Aragon criticized the Leningrad trial against the dissidents Juli Daniel and Andrei Sinyawski . In 1968 he condemned the crackdown on the Prague Spring by Warsaw Pact troops .

However, Aragon remained a member of the Central Committee of the PCF until his death.

Works (selection)

  • Le paysan de Paris. Editions Gallimard, Paris 1926.
  • The lilac and the roses. Translated by Ernst Waldinger , in: Die Fähre 1, 1946, p. 550 (Zs. The artist association of the same name, Halle)
  1. Aragon: To love until reason burns. Edited by Marianne Dreifuss. Volk und Welt, Berlin 1968, pp. 30–33
  2. Continents. Poetry of our century. Ed. Walter Lewerenz, Wolfgang Sellin. New Life, Berlin 1962, p. 166f.
  3. France of my heart. The Resistance in Poem and Essay. Ed. Irene Selle. Philipp Reclam, Leipzig 1987, p. 12f.
  • The lilac and the roses. Translator Rolf Schneider . In: tears and roses. War and peace in poems from 5 millennia. Edited by Achim Roscher. Verlag der Nation, Berlin 1965, p. 407
  • Le monde réel. (The real world). Roman cycle in five parts.
    • Part 1: Les cloches de Bâle. 1934.
    • Part 4: Aurélien . 1944.
    • Part 5: Les communistes. 1949–1951, revised 1966–1967.
      German: The Communists. Dietz, Berlin 1953–1961. Translated by Henryk Keisch and Eduard Zak . (6 volumes.)
  • Les Yeux d'Elsa , 1942
  • La Semaine Sainte , 1958 (German: The Holy Week , 1961)
  • Le Con d'Irène , 1927 - a fragment from La Défense de l'infini (under his pseudonym Albert de Routisie), with 150 etchings by André Masson .
    • German: Irene . Propylaea, Frankfurt 1969
  • Henri Matisse. Novel , two volumes, from the French by Eugen Helmlé . Belser, Stuttgart 1974, ISBN 3-7630-1575-2 (French original edition Gallimard, Paris 1971)
  • Project of a contemporary literary history , essays; Introduction and remarks by Marc Dachy, translated from the French by Lydia Babilas. Edition text + kritik , Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-86916-098-6
  • Mirror images. Verlag Volk und Welt , Berlin 1984
  • Theater novel. People and the world, 1978
  • The true lying. People and World, 1987
  • Blanche or forgetting. People and the world, 1972


See also


  • Pierre Daix: Aragon . Taillandier, Paris 2005 (in French)
  • Ralf Nestmeyer : French poets and their homes . Insel, Frankfurt 2005, ISBN 3-458-34793-3
  • Unda Hörner: The real women of the surrealists . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1996, ISBN 3-518-39316-2
  • Unda Hörner: Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet. The lovers of the century . Rowohlt, Berlin 1998
  • Pierre Juquin:
  1. Aragon, un destin français, 1. Le temps des rêves 1897–1939. GDES Figures. De la Martinière, Paris 2012 ISBN 2-7324-4924-5
  2. Aragon, un destin français, 2. L'Atlantide 1939–1982. Paris 2013 ISBN 2-7324-5828-7
  • Compte rendu par Suzanne Ravis-Françon, de la biographie d'Aragon de Pierre Juquin, in: La Pensée. Revue published by the Gabriel Péri Foundation . Janvier-mars 2014 Summary by Patricia Principalli

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Website Louis Aragon online of the University of Münster Biography , accessed on August 1, 2010
  2. see online, by Joachim Levy, 2011 ; [in French - French poem text: Archived copy ( memento of the original from March 3, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on-line] @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.poetica.fr
  3. ^ Translators. (No longer available online.) Aitmatov Academy, archived from the original on November 26, 2012 ; Retrieved November 28, 2012 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.aitmatov-academy.org.uk
  4. Pascale Hugues : It was forbidden to forbid. In: Die Zeit from January 25, 2020, p. 53.
  5. ^ Members: Louis Aragon. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed March 4, 2019 .
  6. Arkady Vaksberg: Požar serca. Kogo ljubila Lili Brik. Moscow 2010, pp. 103, 109, 169.
  7. Stéphane Courtois, The Crimes of Communism, in: The Black Book of Communism. Ed. Stéphane Courtois u. a. Munich / Zurich 1998, p. 24; "Vive la Guépéou", in: The Black Book of Communism. Ed. Stéphane Courtois u. a. Munich / Zurich 1998, p. 337.
  8. Stéphane Courtois, Why ?, in: The Black Book of Communism. Ed. Stéphane Courtois u. a. Munich / Zurich 1998, p. 818.
  9. Boris Frezinskij: Pisateli i sovetskie voždi. Moscow 2008, pp. 358-392.
  10. Boris Frezinskij: Pisateli i sovetskie voždi. Moscow 2008, p. 435.
  11. Stéphane Courtois, The Crimes of Communism, in: The Black Book of Communism. Ed. Stéphane Courtois u. a. Munich / Zurich 1998, p. 31.
  12. Jürgen Rühle: Literature and Revolution . Cologne / Berlin 1960, p. 395.
  13. Boris Frezinskij: Whether Il'e Erenburge. Moscow 2013, p. 690.
  14. Boris Frezinskij: Whether Il'e Erenburge. Moscow 2013, p. 700.
  15. ^ Jean Montenot: Louis Aragon , in: lexpress.fr, June 1, 2010.
  16. The original title is called Irene's cunt
  17. therein an essay on Aragon