Jean Giono with Lucien Jacques
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Jean Giono (30 March 1895 – 8 October 1970) was a French author who wrote works of fiction mostly set in the
region of France.
At the outbreak of World War I he was called up for military service, and the horrors he experienced on the front lines turned him into a lifelong and ardent pacifist. In 1919, he returned to his work at a bank and a year later, married a childhood friend with whom he had two children. Following the success of his first novel, Colline (1929), he left the bank in 1930 to dedicate himself to writing on a full-time basis.
Giono’s best-known work is probably the short story The Man who Planted Trees
(and 1987 film). This optimistic tale of a man who brings a deserted valley
back to life by planting trees reflects Giono’s long-standing love of the
natural world, an attitude that made him a precursor to the modern ecological
movement. He thus declined to receive any royalties from this text, and granted
free use to anyone who wanted to distribute or translate it.
In his later years, Giono was honoured with the Prince Rainier of Monaco literary prize in 1953, awarded for his lifetime achievements, was elected to the Académie Goncourt in 1954, and became a member of the Conseil Littéraire of Monaco in 1963.
Jean Giono (R, with beret) with friend
Giono died of a heart attack in 1970.