Romains, Jules

Romains, Jules zhül rômăNˈ [key], 1885–1972, French writer, whose original name was Louis Farigoule. A brilliant student of philosophy, he became known as the chief exponent of unanimism, a literary theory positing the collective spirit or personality, e.g., the spirit of a city. This concept pervades an early collection of his poems, La Vie unanime (1908). Romains's principal work is the novel cycle Men of Good Will (27 vol., 1932–46; tr. 14 vol., 1933–46), which gives an intricate and panoramic view of French life from 1908 to 1933. Among his other novels are Mort de quelqu'un (1911; tr. The Death of a Nobody, 1914) and Les Copains (1913; tr. The Boys in the Back Room, 1937). His plays, considered masterpieces of French theater, include Cromedeyre-le-Vieil (1920), in which an isolated village returns to primitive ways, and the satirical farce Knock; ou, Le Triomphe de la médecine (1923; tr. Doctor Knock, 1925).

See study by D. Boak (1974).

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