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Marguerite Audoux

Summary: Marguerite Donquichote, who took her mother's name, Audoux, in 1895, was orphaned by age three, following the death of her mother and abandonment by her father. She and her sister Madeleine initially lived with an aunt but ultimately spent nine years in the orphanage at Bourges. In 1877, Andoux was put to work as a shepherdess and farm worker in the region of Sologne. There, she fell in love with a local boy, Henri Dejoulx, but his parents would not permit them to marry.Audoux moved to Paris in 1881. Desperately poor, she found occasional work as a seamstress and made ends meet with whatever menial labour could be found. She bore a stillborn child in 1883, the difficult pregnancy and labor left her permanently sterile.In Paris, she took custody of her niece, Yvonne. It was Yvonne who at age sixteen inadvertently set in motion her aunt's literary career: Yvonne, while prostituting herself (without Audoux's knowledge) in the Parisian neighborhood of the Halles, met a young man named Jules Iehl. Iehl, who also wrote under the pen name Michel Yell, was moved by the young woman's impossible situation and accompanied her home, where he met Audoux. Iehl and Audoux would remain romantically involved until 1912.Yell introduced Audoux to the Parisian intelligentsia—a group that included Charles-Louis Philippe, Léon-Paul Fargue, Léon Werth and Francis Jourdain. He also encouraged her to write her memoirs. The memoirs fell into the hands of celebrated author Octave Mirbeau and proved so compelling that Mirbeau immediately arranged to have them published.Though success and critical acclaim followed quickly on the heels of the December 1910 publication of Audoux's memoirs, her next book was ten years in the making. The Studio of Marie-Claire, published in 1920, was merely a modest success, none of her subsequent novels--From the Mill to the Town (1926), The Fiancee (1932), and finally Soft Light, (1937)--matched the success of her bestseller debut.After her death in January 1937, the novelist was buried in Saint-Raphaël, not far from the ocean she loved.

Books of Marguerite Audoux

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