Pierre-François Lacenaire

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Pierre-François Lacenaire

Pierre-François Lacenaire (born December 20, 1803 in Lyon , † January 9, 1836 executed in Paris ) was a famous French poet, criminal and murderer .


Lacenaire rebelled at a young age against the bourgeoisie from which he came, he was barred from attending the Jesuit College, campaigned against the Church, the military and society in his writings and was finally sent to prison, which he called " College of Crime ”. There he met two criminals, Victor Avril and François Martin, with whom he began his career as a violent criminal. His crimes were motivated by a sense of justice and despair of the depravity of his time. He carried out his assassinations with devotion, as if he had a duty to society, until he was arrested again.

During his time in prison , he read the French classics, wrote poetry and received representatives from the press. He corresponded with writers and his followers and allowed scientists to measure his skull and remove a mask from his face. Lacenaire wrote his memoirs between his sentencing to death in November 1835 and his execution in January 1836. In his memoirs, he describes the motives for his murder and denounces the selfishness of the people and the hypocrisy and mendacity of court society his time that drove him to crime.


Baudelaire called Lacenaire "a hero of modern life". Théophile Gautier wrote a poem about his hand. Victor Hugo mentioned in Die Elenden , VI., 61-62 the case with the lines “Deeper than Marat, deeper than Babeuf is the lowest cave from which Lacenaire rises”. Pierre-François Lacenaire (played by Marcel Herrand ) was portrayed in the movie Children of Olympus as a “thief out of need and a murderer out of passion”.

Writings (editions)

  • Memories, révélations et poésies de Lacenaire, écrits par lui-même à la Conciergerie . 2 volumes. Paris 1836 ,.
  • Mémoires de Lacenaire, avec ses poèmes et ses lettres . Èd. établie et présentée par Monique Lebailly., Editions Albin Michel, 1968.
  • Mémoires , Éditions du Boucher 2002. ISBN 2-84824018-0 .
German edition
  • Memoirs of a rascal . Berlin 1982.


  • Klaus Bittermann: "Splendor and misery of a murderer - Pierre-Francois Lacenaire - The crime in bourgeois society"; in: ders: The dying of the phantoms - crime and public , Edition Tiamat Berlin 1988.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. (fr) Raymond Duplantier, "Un humaniste hors série, l'assassin Lacenaire, latiniste, poète et chansonnier", Bulletin de l'Association Guillaume Budé , 1951, p. 47.
  2. ^ Famous poets biographies, Lacenaire