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Raymond Radiguet (1903 - 1923)

Lifespan: 1903 - 1923

Related: French literature - flesh - devil

Le Diable Au Corps (1923) - Raymond Radiguet [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Raymond Radiguet (June 18, 1903 - December 12, 1923) was a French author.

He was born in Saint-Maur, close to Paris, the son of a caricaturist. In 1917 he moved to the city. Very soon he would drop out of the Lycée Charlemagne, where he studied, in order to pursue his interests in journalism and literature. He would associate himself with the Modernist set, befriending Picasso, Max Jacob, and especially Jean Cocteau, who would become his mentor and lover (though - much to Cocteau's chagrin, it was said - Radiguet usually preferred women, having had a number of tumultuous relationships).

In early 1923 he published his first and most famous novel, Le diable au corps (The Devil in the flesh). The story of a young married woman who has an affair with a sixteen-year old boy while her husband is away fighting at the front provoked scandal in a country that had just been through World War I. Though Radiguet denied it, it was established later that the story was in large part autobiographical. Critics, who initially despised the intense publicity campaign for the book's release (something not normally associated with works of literary merit at the time), were finally won over by the quality of Radiguet's writing and his sober, objective style.

His second novel, Le bal du Comte d'Orgel, also dealing with adultery, was only published posthumously in 1924. At the age of 20, Radiguet had died the previous year of typhoid fever, which he contracted after a trip he took with Cocteau. At the time he was dating Francis Poulenc, who wrote, "For two days I was unable to do anything, I was so stunned" (Ivry 1996). Alongside these two novels, Radiguet's works include a few poetry volumes and a play.

In 1947 Claude Autant-Lara released his film Le diable au corps, based on Radiguets's novel, and starring Gérard Philipe. Coming just after World War II, the movie caused controversy on its turn. Among the other cinematic versions of Radiguet's story, the heavily adapted one by Marco Bellocchio (1986) became notorious for its graphic scenes of sex. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Radiguet [Sept 2005]

Le Diable Au Corps (1923) - Raymond Radiguet

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