Fun Facts Friday: Blaise Cendrars

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Blaise Cendrars (1 September, 1887 – 21 January, 1961) was Swiss poet and novelist, he held considerable influence in the European modernist movement.

Books by Blaise Cendrars*

Books by Blaise Cendrars*

1)      Born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland to a Swiss father and a Scottish mother as Frédéric-Louis Sauser.

2)      Young Frédéric never showed much interest in school, he was sent to a German boarding school, but ran away. His dislike for studies showed again when enrolled in a school in his hometown. Finally young Frédéricwas sent to Russia as an apprentice to a Swiss watchmaker.

3)      While in St. Petersburg, Russia, he began to write at the encouragement of a librarian at the National Library of Russia. Unfortunately there are no known copies of the poem.

4)      When Mr. Cendrars returned to Switzerland in 1907, he started to study medicine and wrote his first verified poems.

5)      When World War I started, Mr. Cendrars applealed to other foreign artists to join the French army. As a member of the French Foreign Legion he was serving in Somme where he lost a hand.

6)      His war experience is described in La Main coupée (The severed hand) and J’ai tué (I have killed) as well as other poems.

7)      As a member of the artistic community in Montparnasse he was considered a modern adventurer, and his works as literary epics.

8)      When the Germans invaded France in 1940, Mr. Cendrars was with the British Expeditionary Force in northern France. His book Chez l’armée anglaise (With the English Army) was taken by the Gestapo before publication.

9)      The Nazis considered Cendrars Jewish writer of “French expression”. They hunted him and sacked his personal library. Mr. Cendrars, however, managed to hide and survive the war.

10)   His last novel, Emmène-moi au bout du monde !…, was published in 1956, a year before he had a stroke and five years  before his death

Books by Blaise Cendrars*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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