Jules Renard


Biography of Jules Renard

Pierre-Jules Renard or Jules Renard (February 22, 1864 – May 22, 1910) was a French author and member of the Académie Goncourt, most famous for the works Poil de carotte (Carrot Top) (1894) and Les Histoires Naturelles (Nature Stories) (1896). Among his other works are Le Plaisir de rompre (The Pleasure of Breaking) (1898) and Huit jours à la campagne (A Week in the Country) (1906).

The child of François Renard and Anna-Rose Colin, Renard was born in Châlons-du-Maine, Mayenne where his father was working on the construction of a railroad. Renard grew up in Chitry-les-Mines, (Nièvre). He had three older siblings including Amélie (b. 1858), who died at a young age. A second sister was also named Amélie (b. 1859). A third child, Maurice, was born before Pierre-Jules in 1862. Renard's childhood was characterized as difficult and sad ("un grand silence roux" or "a great ruddy silence"). Although he decided not to attend the prestigious École normale supérieure, love of literature would eventually dominate his life. From 1885–1886, he served in the military in Bourges.

On April 28, 1888, Renard married Marie Morneau. He and his wife lived at 43 rue du Rocher in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris. He began to frequent literary cafés and to contribute to Parisian newspapers. Among his steady friends were Alfred Capus and Lucien Guitry. Jules Renard wrote poems, short stories, short plays, novels and his famous Poil de carotte. He was elected mayor ("maire") of Chitry on May 15, 1904 as the socialist candidate and became member of the Académie Goncourt in 1907, thanks to Octave Mirbeau. He died of arteriosclerosis in Paris.

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