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  • 11/1/2003

André Malraux

(November 3,1901 -November 23,1976)

André Malraux was aFrenchauthor, adventurer and statesman. Malraux was born inParis. His parents separated when he was a child. He was raised by his mother Berthe Lamy and grandmother Adrienne. His father committed suicide in 1930.
Malraux studied Oriental languages at theÉcole des Langues Orientales but did not gradute. At the age of 21 he left forCambodia with his wife Clara Goldsmith. He was arrested and almost imprisoned for stealing a bas relief from the temple atBantai Srey.
He became highly critical of the Frenchcolonial authorities inIndochina and 1925 helped to organize theYoung Annam League and founded the newspaperIndochina in Chains. He may also have worked forKuomintang inChina in 1927.
On his return to France he published his first novel,The Temptation of the West (1926). This was followed byThe Conquerors (1928),The Royal Way (1930) andMan's Fate (French:La Condition Humaine) (1934), a powerful novel about the defeat of acommunist regime inShanghai and the choices the losers have to face. He won the1933Prix Goncourt of literature for the latter novel.
In the 1930s Malraux also joined archeological expeditions toIran andAfghanistan. He foundedthe International Association of Writers for the Defense of Culture withLouis Aragon.
During theSpanish Civil War Malraux served as a pilot for the Republican forces. He was wounded twice in effort to stopFalangists takeover ofMadrid. He also toured theUnited States in an attempt to raise fund for the Republicans. A novel about his experiences,Man's Hope, appeared in1938. He also divorced after the war.
On the outbreak of theSecond World War Malraux joined the French Army and served in atank unit. He was captured in1940 during theWestern Offensive but he escaped and joined theFrench Resistance. He was captured by theGestapo in1944 and even though he underwent a mock execution he was still alive when he was rescued by members of the resistance. He ended up leadingBrigade Alsace-Lorraine in defense ofStrasbourg and takeover ofStuttgart. He was awarded theMédaille de la Résistance, theCroix de Guerre, and theBritish Distinguished Service Order.
After the war GeneralCharles De Gaulle appointed Malraux as his minister of information (1945-1946). In the 1950s he wrote about art andaesthetics. He again became a minister for information in 1958 and a minister of cultural affairs (1960-1969). During his term he authorized the cleaning of facades of theLouvre and other publinc buildings, against the public protestations.
In 1948 Malraux married Marie-Madeleine Lioux, a widow of his half-brother. In 1961 he lost his two sons in an accident. An international Malraux Society was founded in the United States in 1968.
André Malraux died in Paris on November 23, 1976. He was survived by his daughter Florence Malraux.

Bibliography includes

La Tentation de l'Occident, 1926 (The Temptation of the West, 1926)

Les Conquérants, 1928 (The Conquerors, 1928)

La Voie Royale, 1930 (The Royal Way, 1930)

La Condition Humaine, 1933 (Man's Fate, 1934)

Le Temps du mépris, 1935 (Days of Wrath)

L'Espoir, 1937 (Man's Hope, 1938)

La Psychologie de l'Art, 1947-1949 (The Psychology of Art)

Les Voix du Silence, 1951 (The Voices of Silence, 1953)

Antimémoires, 1967 (Anti-Memoirs - autobiography)

Des Chênes qu'on abat, 1971 (Felled Oaks /The Fallen Oaks)

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