Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Armel Guerne

Armel Guerne was a poet and translator of French-speaking Swiss origin, born in Morges (Switzerland) in 1911.

 His parents returned to France when he was nine. He continued his studies at the college of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, before being cut off by his father. Aided by the family of his best friend Munir Hafez, he can continue his studies. At the Sorbonne he, together with Roger Frétigny, founded the Psychological Study Group. His first book Oral is published by the Attic in 1934.

During the Second World War, he stops all literary activity to devote himself to the resistance: he enters a network of British Intelligence, the Special Operations Executive and the Prosper network. With the collapse of the network at the end of June 1943, he was arrested by the Gestapo. He was then interned at the Fresnes prison and later the Royallieu Camp near Compiegne from where he was sent to Buchenwald. Guerne managed to escape on the way before the train arrived in Charleville and managed to get himself to London.

After the war, he translated numerous writers, including Novalis, Rilke, Hölderlin, the brothers Grimm,Melville, Virginia Woolf, Dürrenmatt, Elias Canetti, Lao Tzu and Kawabata, while pursuing his own work.

In 1960, Armel Guerne retires to the windmill in Tourtrès (Lot-et-Garonne). He died on 9 October 1980 at the hospital in Marmande.

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