15 June 2018

André de Richaud in Althen-des-Paluds, Vaucluse (84)

André de Richaud was a writer, poet and playwright who was born in Perpignan in 1907 and died in Montpellier in 1968. By the time he was seventeen or eighteen both of his parents were dead. At college in Carpentras he befriended Pierre Seghers, who was to be his editor. Later he met the poet André Gaillard, founder of Cahiers du Sud, and Joseph d'Arbaud, an écrivain-félibre who directed Le Feu.

Richaud published his first novel, La Douleur, in 1930. Jean Grenier gave it to Albert Camus to read, who read it in one night (as usual with him), but Camus awoke to an unknown land: books weren't just for entertainment, distraction, La Douleur had given Camus a glimpse of the creative world.

André de Richaud's maternal grand-father lived in Althen, where Richaud set many of his books. He is perhaps best known for his fourteen-year life with the artist Fernand Léger and more particularly Léger's wife Jeanne. Adultery, alcoholism, and being a begging tramp are also sometimes mentioned in biographical details.

And not only is a street named after André de Richaud, but a school too.

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