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NIVET, Jean. "Mirbeau the Journalist"
Article published on 21 March 2004
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Thèse de doctorat (nouveau doctorat) : Litterature française. Dir. Roger Bellet. Lyon 2 : 1987. [s.l.] : [s.n.] 2 vol. 518 p. Annexes

Lyon-SICD lSH

Summary

The first contact Octave Mirbeau had with the press goes back to the year 1872. He had just turned 24 and undergone the trauma of Napoleon III’s overthrow. A secretary of Dugue de la Fauconnerie at L’Ordre de Paris, a Bonapartist newspaper, he began to submit dramatic chronicles in October 1875.

Benefiting from the 16t of May 1877, he became principal secretary of the prefect in Foix and an anonymous contributor to l’Ariégeois . As from 1880, his signature was to be found in two important Parisian newspapers : Arthur Meyer’s Le Gaulois and Magnard’s Le Figaro which he soon left because he had written an irreverent article about actors. From the 15th January to the 16th of April 1883, he edited Paris-midi Paris-minuit . On the 21 st of July of the same year, he started up Les Grimaces, a political pamphlet.

From 1885 onwards, Mirbeau was very much in request as a chronicler and gave important contributions to La France, Le Gaulois, Le Gil Blas,Le Figaro, La Nouvelle revue , or Le Matin. In 1888, he began a contribution to the Echo de Paris, which was to last for six years; in 1894 he made an agreement with Eugene Letellier, the money-lender of Le Journal , to publish a weekly chronicle. This agreement was to last during nine years, until he resigned over an article which had been refused.

Towards 1889, he was an anarchist sympathiser (he contributed to La Révolte) and later to a Dreyfusist (he wrote for l’Aurore) and then was found in 1904 alongside Jaurès when L’Humanité was started up. But the political orientation of this daily paper did not suit him and he left after his 15th chronicle.

Getting more and more disgusted with his contemporaries, an active member of the recently founded Goncourt academy, a famous play-wright since the performance of Les Mauvais bergers in 1897, a true lover of nature and animals, an eager driver, most of all safe from want, in 1905 Mirbeau left journalism to help talented artists and writers such as Maillol, Philippe, Guillaumin, Léautaud, Gide, M. Audoux. He was very much shocked by the launching of the first world war and died in 1917. His political testimony (that some people consider as apocryphal) was then related through Le Petit parisien .

This essential figure of the avant-siècle will have written about 1200 articles, half of which are unpublished.


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