Paul Claudel

Paul Claudel ( born August 6 1868 in Villeneuve -sur- Fere, † February 23, 1955 in Paris) was a French writer, poet and diplomat.

Life and work

Paul Louis Charles Claudel Marie grew up in the rural Picardy son of an enlightened positivist thinking cadastral officials and as a younger brother of the sculptor Camille Claudel and later spent his last years of school at the Paris School tradition Louis- le -Grand. At 18, he had at Vespers on Christmas Day in Paris Notre-Dame Cathedral (as the Boys' Choir sang the Magnificat ) a religious awakening experience and was henceforth a devout Catholic and was Benediktineroblate.

After completion of studies at the École Libre des Sciences Politiques (Sciences po), during which time he was already writing poetry and Mallarmé 's circle belonged, he thought, to study oriental languages. He applied for but then trained as a diplomat in the consular service, in which he had diligently worked until his retirement. He was from 1893 to 1895 as a diplomat in the United States, 1895 to 1909 in China (Shanghai, Fuzhou, Beijing, Tientsin ) and then Prague, each shorter time in Germany, Brazil and Denmark. 1921-27 he worked in Japan, then again in the United States ( 1927-33 ), and finally in Belgium.

This despite its turbulent existence of very extensive literary creation Claudel, for which he each reserved the first hours of his working day, including Poetry, Philosophy and essayistic - heavily influenced by his visits Far East - and especially plays. This he wrote in a pathetic lyrical language and waiving an exciting plot. The focus of most of the motive of self- Aufopferns is in terms of a religiously inspired morality.

The best known and most frequently performed piece is the 1911/12 wrote, playing in the Middle Ages L' Annonce faite à Marie ( Annunciation ). However Somewhat known the almost six decades ( 1812-1869 ) spanning trilogy L' Otage was ( The Hostage ) 1909 Le Pain Major ( The hard bread) in 1914 and Le Père humilié ( The humiliated father) in 1916. His main work applies the playing in the Spanish 16th century piece of Le Soulier de satin ( the satin Slipper ) in 1925, an immensely long, the sum of Claudel's thinking presenting drama in a heavily gathered by himself and the director Jean -Louis Barrault version for performance until 1943 came. As a librettist Claudel came forward in dramatic oratorio Jeanne d' Arc au bûcher by Arthur Honegger and with several libretti for Darius Milhaud.

His works were influenced by the works of the philosopher and Nobel laureate Henri Bergson.

Claudel is counted for renouveau catholique. He was very much appreciated in the 1920s to the 1940s in the Catholic milieu, but also rated by other readers and the literature critically and 1946 rewarded with induction into the Académie Française. He was also awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. After the Second World War, he fell slowly into oblivion.


  • A cycle of 14 watercolors of Ervin Bossányi to Claudel's proclamation is in the possession of the St. Annen Museum in Lübeck
  • In December 2004, Claudel Society La Société Paul Claudel honored the painter Götz von Seckendorf ( 1889-1914 ), who illustrated several works Claudel, in Bulletin No. 176: Hommage à Götz von Seckendorf