The centenary celebrations of the publication of Alain-Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes are gathering pace. Here is a new book – Le dernier été d’Alain-Fournier – covering the last year of his life and the aftermath.
“Like thousands of other young men of his generation, Alain-Fournier, author of Le Grand Meaulnes, was mobilised in August 1914. The following 22 September, he was reported missing on the Meuse Heights, in unexpected and merciless fighting that took place in a woodlands. His disappearance conferred on him an aura of mystery that his literary work had already foretold. Despite searches carried out after the war, Alain-Fournier’s body remained undiscovered. In 1991, its discovery in a common grave in the Bois de Saint-Remy was widely reported in the press. Emotions ran high, but so did an element of controversy.
These pages retrace the particular story of lieutenant Fournier in the broader context of the history of 1914, of his mobilisation in the 288th Mirande infantry regiment up to the attack of 22 September on the Calonne Trenches, where he led his company under fire. Considerable evidence, presented after listening to both sides, clarify the confused circumstances in this fatal episode, that cost the life of Alain-Fournier and twenty of his comrades in arms.
For fifteen years Michal Baranger was secretary of the Association of Friends of Jacques Rivière and Alain-Fournier, working alongside its founder, Alain Rivière, son of the former and nephew of the latter. He has already written two books about his favourite author: Sur les chemins du Grand Meaulnes avec Alain-Fournier (2004) and Alain-Fournier et le Paris du Grand Meaulnes (2011).”
Available from 1 July 2013 www.bgedition.com ISBN 978-2-7587-0109-5 Euros 17,50.
For more about Le Grand Meaulnes see: https://quintessentialruminations.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/alain-fourniers-timeless-novel-is-one-hundred-years-old/ and for more about the painting that reminded him of Yvonne de Quiévrecourt see: https://quintessentialruminations.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/alain-fournier-and-the-vanished-painting/