Edmond de Goncourt: dreamy and melancholy with a nasty tendency |

To this day, the Goncourt brothers are considered an extremely bizarre phenomenon. The two French writers looked like Siamese twins in their demeanor, as they lived together as a married couple, working in the same room on secretaries facing each other. Edmond de Goncourt died 125 years ago on July 16, 1896 – on him continues …

To this day, the Goncourt brothers are considered an extremely bizarre phenomenon. The two French writers looked like Siamese twins in their demeanor, as they lived together as a married couple, working in the same room on secretaries facing each other. Edmond de Goncourt died 125 years ago on July 16, 1896 – the literary prize that bears his name goes to him, and the brothers are considered to be the founders of the literary movement of naturalism, the precise observation and representation of society and of nature.

Moreover, the Goncourt brothers sometimes slept with the same women. They never formed a serious relationship. In 1864, Edmond noted in the diary he kept with Jules, eight years his junior: eleven days of love for two. “In one of these ephemeral cases, Jules was infected by the causative agent of syphilis. When he died of the epidemic in 1870, a world collapsed for Edmond. But then the Franco-Prussian war broke out and the depressed poet found his way back to productivity. He ruthlessly recorded the famine during the siege of Paris by the Prussians.Just as blissfully, he reported on the revolt of the masses of the people.

With novels like “Manette Salomon” or “Renée Mauperin”, skilfully written in tandem, the Goncourts gave birth to the prose of naturalism, because they shed light in it down to the smallest detail of the overwhelming social existence of the declassified and the excluded. . Thomas Mann was inspired by the now almost forgotten books for his sensational hit “Die Buddenbrooks”. In his will, during Edmond’s lifetime, the foundation for the literary trophy that bears his name, first awarded in 1903, was in his will. One of the best-known carriers is the ingenious and controversial narrator Michel Houellebecq.

Edmond defined himself as the opposite of his brother, whom he described as happy, logical and ironic. He said of himself: “I am a melancholy, a dreamer. The inherited capital allowed him to work as an art collector. He has amassed treasures from all over the world in his villa. He almost overcrowded his rooms. In 1881, he published a kind of guide to the museum under the title “The house of an artist”, in which he described the treasures of his home.

Although Edmond loved to act as a scholar, there was also a thug and loathing in him. He notes of his supposed closest friend Gustave Flaubert: “His mind is coarse and sticky like his body. His buffalo gaiety lacks charm. Such gossip was one of Edmond’s specialties.

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