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French writer was tied to Surrealists

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Julien Gracq, 97, the pen name of the French writer Louis Poirier who was known as one of the last links to the pre-World War II Surrealist movement, died Saturday in the western French city of Anders from apparent complications of a digestive hemorrhage, according to hospital officials.

His literary debut came in 1938 with “Au Chateau d’Argol” (The Castle of Argol), known for its Surrealist tinge. It was dedicated to Andre Breton, the French writer, poet and surrealist theorist.

His best known novel, “Le Rivage des Syrtes” (The Opposing Shore), a tale about collective suicide in an imaginary landscape, was awarded the Goncourt Prize in 1951. Gracq, reclusive and embittered over criticism of his earlier work, rejected the honor.

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He was born July 27, 1910, in the western town of Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, where he lived until just before his death. He was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II.

He wrote 20 books and spent much of his life as a history and geography teacher in high school, retiring in 1970.

He had lived alone since the death of his sister some years ago.


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