Vercors (writer)

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Vercors (born February 26, 1902 in Paris ; † June 10, 1991 there ; actually Jean Marcel Adolphe Bruller ) was a French writer , caricaturist and member of the Resistance during World War II .

Vercors became internationally known for his story The Silence of the Sea ( Le silence de la mer ), which was published in 1942 by the underground publisher Éditions de Minuit , which he co-founded .



Jean Bruller aka Vercors was born in Paris in 1902. His father, Alois Brüller, was of Hungarian origin and emigrated to France at the age of 15, where he temporarily worked as a publisher of French authors. The mother came from the Berry and had worked as a teacher in her youth. Jean Bruller had a happy childhood in this parental home. He had great admiration for his father, whose life story Jean Bruller served as a model for the story La marche à l'étoile in 1943 . Bruller spent his high school at the École Alsacienne .

Between the wars

The warfare in World War I made Bruller a pacifist . In 1918 he began studying at the École Bréguet and graduated as an electrical engineer. The occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 strengthened Bruller's pacifist attitude, who in the conflict between France and Germany hoped above all for Aristide Briand's policy of understanding .

After completing his military service in 1926, some of Bruller's early drawings were exhibited at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière . He took up a job as a cartoonist and book illustrator , which he pursued until he was called up in 1939. The first volume of drawings appeared in 1926: 21 recettes pratiques de mort violente . Through the publication, Bruller met his future publishing partner, the writer and bookseller Pierre de Lescure . He also illustrated the children's book Patapoufs et Filifers by André Maurois . The first literary works also fall during this time.

In 1930 Bruller's father died. His friendship with the French writer Jules Romains was continued by him. The album Nouvelle Clef des songes was released in 1934, and in 1935 he worked for the anti-fascist weekly Vendredi , for which André Chamson , Jean Guehenno and Louis Martin-Chauffier also wrote.

In 1936 the album Images intimes et rassurantes de la guerre was released , and the following year Bruller helped design a leisure pavilion for the 1937 World's Fair in Paris.

Although Bruller sympathized with the French Popular Front at this time , he assessed its ability to influence the growing national and international tensions in the run-up to the Second World War as little . In 1938 Bruller traveled to a congress of the PEN Club in Prague . His trip also took him through Germany and gave him a deep concern about future political developments. Bruller was so dismayed by the Munich Agreement of September 29, 1938 that he finally gave up his pacifist convictions.

Memorial plaque in Paris

Second World War - Fight in the Resistance

After the German conquest of France in 1940, Jean Bruller joined the French Resistance under the pseudonym Vercors . He chose this code name because of the importance of the Vercors Mountains as a retreat for the Resistance fighters. During the first years of the war he worked in seclusion as a carpenter in a village near Paris. Although he originally rejected literary publications during the German occupation , Vercors illegally founded the resistance publisher Éditions de Minuit together with Pierre de Lescure in 1942 . For this he wrote various short stories and novels , including his most famous work The Silence of the Sea ( Le silence de la mer , 1942). The underground publisher became an important mouthpiece for French writers and published a. a. Works by the later Nobel Prize winners Claude Simon and Samuel Beckett .

After the Second World War

After the war, Vercors served for a few years as president of the National Committee of Writers, Comité National des Écrivains (CNE). He was also a member of the World Peace Council and represented his progressive, humanist position at conferences and readings . Vercors sympathized with the French Communist Party (PCF) for a long time , but broke away from his political friends after the Hungarian uprising was put down in 1956. In 1960 he signed, among others with Jean-Paul Sartre , the manifesto of 121 , which turned against the French warfare in the Algerian war .

Vercors died in Paris on June 10, 1991 and found his final resting place on the Cimetière Montparnasse (Division 42).


Vercors' early works deal mainly with the time of the German occupation and strengthened the national feeling and spirit of resistance of the French people.


  • Les animaux dénaturés (1951)
    • English: The Secret of the Tropis. Translated by Ewald Czapski. Construction, Berlin 1958. Also: Heyne Science Fiction Classics # 3483, 1976, ISBN 3-453-30362-8 .
  • Colères (1956)
    • German: Revolt. Translated by Ewald Czapski. Construction, Berlin 1962.
  • Quota ou les Pléthoriens (1966, together with Paul Silva-Coronel )
    • German: The sales genius. Translated by Eva Schewe. People and World, Berlin 1969.
  • Le radeau de la Méduse (1969)
    • English: The raft of the Medusa. Translated by Eduard Zak. Structure, Berlin 1971.
  • Sillages (1972)
    • German: Kielwasser. Translated by Adelheid Witt. Structure, Berlin 1977.
  • Les cheveaux du temps (1977)
    • German: The horses of time.


  • Le silence de la mer (1942)
    • German: The silence. Oprecht, Zurich & New York 1945. Also called: The Silence of the Sea. Translated by Kurt Stern. Prometheus, Lahr 1946. Also as: The silence. Translated by Josef Ziwutschka. Rohrer, Innsbruck & Wien 1947. Other editions: Desch, Munich 1948. Aufbau, Berlin 1948. Reclams Universal-Bibliothek # 9060, 1963. New translation: The silence of the sea. Translated by Karin Krieger. With an essay by Ludwig Harig and an afterword by Yves Beigbeder . Diogenes-Taschenbuch # 23315, 2002, ISBN 3-257-23315-9 .
  • La marche à l'étoile (1943)
    • German: The star of promise. In: Guns of the Night. 1948.
  • Le songe (1943)
    • German: The dream. In: Guns of the Night. 1948.
  • Les armes de la nuit (1946)
    • German: Guns of the Night. In: Guns of the Night. 1949.
  • L'Imprimerie de Verdun (1947)
    • English: The Verdun Printing House. Translated by Ulrich Friedrich Müller. Edition Langewiesche-Brandt # 72, Ebenhausen b. Munich 1964.
  • Les yeux et la lumière (1948)
  • La puissance du jour (1951)
  • Sur ce rivage , I - III (1958-60)
  • Clémentine (1959, taken from Sur ce rivage )
  • Sylva (1961)
    • German: Sylva or how the spirit came over the vixen. Translated by Herbert Schlueter. Mohn, Gütersloh 1963.
  • Sept sentiers du désert (1972)
  • Le piège à loup (1979)
    • German: Die Wolfsfalle. In: The Wolf Trap. 1981.
  • Moi, Aristide Briand (1981, fictional autobiography)


  • Guns of the Night: 3 Tales. Translated by Hans B. Wagenseil and Kurt Stern. Construction, Berlin 1949 (contains: weapons of the night; the star of promise; the dream).
  • The silence of the sea. Translated by Hans B. Wagenseil and Kurt Stern. Construction, Berlin 1957 (contains: The Silence of the Sea; The Star of Promise; Arms of the Night; The Dream).
  • The wolf trap: 2 stories. Translated by Adelheid Witt and Hans B. Wagenseil. Construction, Berlin & Weimar 1981 (contains: Die Wolfsfalle; Der Stern der Verheahme).


  • Zoo ou l'assassin philanthrope (1964, theater adaptation of Les animaux dénaturés )
    • German: Zoo or the philanthropic killer: a legal, zoological and moral comedy in 3 acts. Translated by Lore Kornell and Rita Barisse. Henschel, Berlin 1966.
  • Œdipe-Roi (1967)
  • Le fer et le velours (Drama 1969)
  • Théâtre (2 volumes, 1978)


  • Souffrance de mon pays (1945)
  • Portrait d'une amitié (1946)
  • Plus ou moins homme (1948)
  • Les pas dans le sable (1954)
  • Les divagations d'un français en Chine (1956)
  • PPC Pour prendre congé (1957)
    • German: To say goodbye.
  • La bataille du silence (1967)
    • English: The Battle of Silence. In: Sinn und Form 4/1968 (excerpt).
  • Questions sur la vie (1973)
  • Tendre naufrage (1974)
  • Ce que je crois (1975)
    • German: What I believe.


  • Je cuisine comme un chef (1976)
    • German: The magic of French cuisine: learn the "Gastronomy française" with a new method and 101 recipes. Edited by Marion Morawek and Gabriele Götzer. Heimeran, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-8063-1122-6 .
  • Ann Boleyn (1985)
    • German: Anna Boleyn: 40 crucial months in England's history. Edited by Susanne E. Bally. Katz, Gernsbach 1986, ISBN 3-925825-02-9 .

Film adaptations


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