Dujardin, Édouard, 1861-1949

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French author, playwright, poet, and professor.

From the description of Edouard Dujardin Papers, 1861-1951. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 85242190

Edouard Emile Louis Dujardin was born near Blois, France, on November 10, 1861, the only child of Alphonse (a sea captain) and Théophile Dujardin. The family moved to Rouen, where Edouard attended school. He subsequently studied in Paris in preparation for entering the École Normale Supérieure, but, in spite of having been an excellent student, he did not pass the entrance examinations. Instead, he followed his musical interests and enrolled briefly in the Paris Conservatoire. Among the lifelong friendships formed during his school years were those with the writer Aristide Marie and the composers Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas.

In 1882, supported by a modest stipend from his parents, Dujardin began his literary career by writing articles on music. That spring he was sent to London to report on the first production in a non-German-speaking country of Wagner's complete Ring des Nibelungen, and, despite his ignorance of German, he fell completely under Wagner's spell. Later that same year he made the first of many pilgrimages to Germany to hear Wagner's operas. In 1884 in Munich he met the Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain, whom Dujardin credited with enhancing his appreciation of Wagner and in discussions with whom he concocted the idea of a French review devoted to Wagner's music and ideas. Thus was born the Revue wagnérienne, which appeared from February 1885 until July 1888.

During this period, Dujardin also became a member of the circle that met Mondays at the home of the Symbolist poet, Stéphane Mallarmé, who also had a profound influence on Dujardin's life. Dujardin and Mallarmé remained close friends until Mallarmé's death in 1898; Dujardin even proposed unsuccessfully to Mallarmé's daughter Geneviève in 1889.

In 1886 Dujardin assumed editorship of the Revue indépendente, a journal devoted to literature, turning it into an important voice for the symbolists. His earliest books were first published in the pages of this journal: the short stories Les Hantises in 1886; the prose poem A la gloire d'Antonia in 1887; his novel Les Lauriers sont coupés in 1887 (published in book form in 1888), which James Joyce credited as having given him the idea for the interior monologue style of writing; Litanies, a collection of musical settings of his own poems in 1888; and the prose poem Pour la vierge du roc ardent in 1888.

Dujardin's parents lived briefly in Paris during this period, having bought a house there, but eventually returned to Rouen. Upon their deaths, Dujardin inherited the Paris house and a large sum of money. Part of his fortune apparently went to the building of Val-Changis, a château in Fontainebleau, and part went into lavish productions of a trilogy of plays: Antonia (produced 1891), Le Chevalier du passé (1892), and La Fin d'Antonia (1893).

Dujardin's expensive and somewhat dandyish tastes in clothing and jewelry and his willingness to run up debts deceived many of his friends into thinking he was wealthy. He was a frequent part of Parisian night life as well, with his friends Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Charles Conder, William Rothenstein, Victor Joze, and Louis Anquetin. Dujardin also had large numbers of female friends, many of them involved in the theater in some way, and many of them in frequent need of financial assistance. During the years 1883-1885 he had an intense love affair with the actress Andrée de Mora (the model for Léa d'Arsay in Les Lauriers sont coupés ) and proposed marriage to Tony Riedel, the daughter of German musician Carl Riedel, and between 1890 and 1893 he was involved with the dancers Jeanne Fontaine, Jane Avril, Mary Hamilton, and Marguerite Guez, and the actress Jane Thomsen.

All this activity took a financial toll, and by 1893 Dujardin found himself near ruin. He entered a period of vigorous business activity that lasted until 1908 and apparently involved a variety of endeavors including real estate, gambling, importing and exporting goods, offering marketing and advertising services for periodicals, retailing of beauty products, and perhaps other money-making ventures. He also worked as a journalist for a number of publications during this period, including Journée and Fin de siècle, whose personal advertisements caught the eye of police, resulting in Dujardin's sentencing in 1894 to jail time and a fine for offenses against public morals, which were later remitted.

Dujardin still managed to find time for an active personal life. In February 1896 a young would-be actress and artist's model named Madeleine Boisguillaume gave birth to his son, Emile, and in November of the same year, he married Germaine Teisset in a civil ceremony. Germaine was a poorly educated but apparently beautiful girl who had also caught the eye of the painter Charles Conder, and whose inability to choose between the two men almost led them to fight a duel in 1893. The marriage ended in a separation in 1901. The couple did not actually divorce until 1924, when Dujardin was preparing to remarry.

In the early years of the new century Dujardin began to turn his attention to scholarly pursuits. He enrolled in the École Practique des Hautes Études as a student of the history of religion, received his diploma in 1906, and the same year published the first of a series of works in the field, La Source du fleuve chrétien . In 1913 he was given a lectureship at the École, where he gave classes in religious studies until 1922. He continued his research for the rest of his life, publishing his magnum opus, Histoire ancienne du dieu Jésus in four parts: Le Dieu Jésus: Essai sur les origines et la formation de la légende évangelique (1927), Grandeur et décadence de la critique, sa rénovation: Le Cas de l'abbé Turmel (1931), Le Première génération chrétienne: Son destin révolutionnaire (1935), and L'Apôtre en face des apôtres (1945).

During this period Dujardin kept up his output of creative works as well. In 1898 he published his second and last novel, L'Initiation au péché et à l'amour . He collected his early poetry in the volume Poésies (1913) and published verse inspired by World War I in Mari magno (1921). He produced five more plays: Marthe et Marie (1913), Les Epoux d'Heur-le-Port (1919), Le Mystère du Dieu mort et réssuscité (1923), Le Retour des enfants prodigues (1924), and Le Retour éternel (1932). He also continued to produce works of literary and social criticism and reminiscence, such as Les Premiers Poètes du vers libre (1922), Demain ici ainsi la révolution (1928), Le Monologue intérieur (1931), Mallarmé par un des siens (1936), Rencontres avec Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1943), and De l'ancêtre mythique au chef moderne (1943).

Dujardin also continued his involvement with journalism. In 1904 he cofounded the Revue des idées with Rémy de Gourmont and managed the journal for four years before turning it over to Gourmont. From 1906 to 1908 he worked as publiciste for Ernest Judet's Eclair, a journal with such a strong pro-German bias that it brought both Judet and Dujardin into court on charges of treason, of which both were eventually acquitted. From 1917 to 1922 he edited Cahiers idéalistes, a journal he founded to promote opposition to the war. In the 1930s Dujardin began to write travel pieces for commercial magazines, and just before World War II he gave a series of radio broadcasts on literary topics.

Dujardin's personal life remained eventful as well. On separating from Germaine in 1901 he briefly resumed an alliance with Madeleine, the mother of his son, had an affair with Jane Hugard, and then took up with the actress Yvonne André for several years. After the end of their affair, he resumed his relationship with Jane Hugard, a successful dancer with the Paris Opéra and a teacher of dance whose tendency toward depression was aggravated by the death of her son Jean in 1914. Their affair lasted for several years before gradually evolving into one of the closest friendships of Dujardin's later life. Following their breakup, Dujardin had a brief affair with his Swiss secretary, Lony Bauen, which resulted in a second child, his daughter Rosegrande, born in 1920. As he had done for his son, Dujardin furnished financial support for both mother and child and maintained close ties. Rosegrande lived in Switzerland with her mother until 1935, when Dujardin brought her to Paris for school.

In 1924 Dujardin married Marie Chenou, a woman thirty years his junior who wrote novels and poetry under her married name. Dujardin finally found what he said was his dearest hope: a peaceful and productive old age. They remained married until his death at the age of eighty-seven on October 31, 1949.

From the guide to the Edouard Dujardin Papers TXRC06-A19., 1861-1951, (The University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Enquête sur l'amour, 1928-1929. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Edouard Dujardin Papers, 1861-1951 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Dujardin, Edouard, 1861-1949. Edouard Dujardin Papers, 1861-1951. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Verlaine, Paul, 1844-1896. Autograph letter signed : Paris, to Edouard Dujardin, 1849 Sept. 19. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Moore, George, 1852-1933. George Moore collection, 1886-1932. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn George Moore collection, 1886-1932 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Clark, Barrett Harper, 1890-1953. Notes on George Moore, 1922. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Clark, Barrett H. (Barrett Harper), 1890-1953. Notes on George Moore, 1922. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Moore, George, 1852-1933. George Moore collection, 1886-1932. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, 1932-2005 Houghton Library
creatorOf Dujardin, Edouard, 1861-1949. Autograph letters signed (2) : Paris, to unidentified recipients, 1889 Dec. 23 and [n.d.]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Redon, Odilon, 1840-1916. Letters, 1887-1909. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Manuscripts and proofs of New Directions books, 1937-1997. Houghton Library
creatorOf Edouard Dujardin Papers TXRC06-A19., 1861-1951 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn McCormick, Harold Fowler, 1872-1941. Harold Fowler McCormick papers, 1892-1947. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Anquetin, Louis, 1861-1932 person
associatedWith Apollinaire, Guillaume, 1880-1918 person
associatedWith Bauen, Lony. person
associatedWith Bauen, Lony. person
associatedWith Beau, Alphonsine Eclard. person
associatedWith Beau, Alphonsine Eclard. person
associatedWith Boisguillaume, Madeleine. person
associatedWith Boisguillaume, Madeleine. person
associatedWith Breton, André, 1896-1966 person
associatedWith Chamberlain, Basil Hall, 1850-1935 person
associatedWith Chamberlain, Houston Stewart, 1855-1927 person
associatedWith Clark, Barrett H. (Barrett Harper), 1890-1953. person
associatedWith Colette, 1873-1954 person
associatedWith Dujardin, Alphonse. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Alphonse. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Emile. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Emile. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Germaine. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Germaine. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Marie. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Marie. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Théophile. person
associatedWith Dujardin, Théophile. person
associatedWith Dukas, Paul, 1865-1935 person
associatedWith Eluard, Paul, 1895-1952 person
associatedWith Fort, Paul, 1872-1960 person
associatedWith Hugard, Jane. person
associatedWith Hugard, Jane. person
associatedWith Huysmans, J. -K. (Joris-Karl), 1848-1907 person
associatedWith Joyce, James, 1882-1941 person
associatedWith Joze, Victor, 1861- person
associatedWith Louÿs, Pierre, 1870-1925 person
associatedWith Mallarmé, Stéphane, 1842-1898 person
associatedWith Marie, Aristide, 1862-1938 person
associatedWith McCormick, Harold Fowler, 1872-1941. person
associatedWith Messein, Albert. person
associatedWith Messein, Albert. person
associatedWith Moore, George, 1852-1933 person
associatedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith Picard, Gaston, b. 1892 person
associatedWith Ray, Gordon Norton, 1915- person
associatedWith Redon, Odilon, 1840-1916. person
associatedWith Ryner, Han, 1861-1938 person
associatedWith Valéry, Paul, 1871-1945 person
associatedWith Verlaine, Paul, 1844-1896. person
associatedWith Wagner, Richard, 1813-1883 person
associatedWith Willy, 1859-1931 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fin de siècle
French literature
French literature
Religious literature
Revue wagnérienne
Symbolism (Art movement)
Symbolism (Art movement)


Birth 1861-11-10

Death 1949-10-31






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