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Alphonse Daudet

Alphonse Daudet

*  1840 Nimes
† 1897 Paris

Alphonse Daudet was born on May 13, 1841, in Nimes, France. Daudet went to Paris in 1857, where he published his first volume of poetry, "Les Amoureuses," in 1858. First writing for the magazine "Figaro," he had a position as secretary to the Duke of Morny, a powerful minister and the half brother of Napoleon III, from 1860 until 1865. Daudet found his first literary acclaim in 1866 for his humoristic, Naturalistic-leaning series "Lettres de mon moulin." More attention was gained by his story cycle "Tartarin," which was begun in 1872 and displays the boasts of the bourgeois of southern France. "Tartarin de Tarascon" (1872), "Tartarin sur les Alpes" (1885), and "Port Tarascon" (1890) all belong to this series. Daudet's breakthrough success was his novel "Fromont jeune et Risler aîné" (1874). Because of this success, he concentrated on writing his novels for the next years and published such successful works as "Jack" (1876), the story of an illegitimate child, which was followed by more stories later. In the spirit and method of Charles Dickens, Daudet developed his own somewhat Impressionistic style in his works. In contrast to Edmond de Goncourt, he did not deliver a constant feeling of toil and pain, but he was rather a "charmeur," as Émile Zola called him, conveying a sense of happiness and excitement. A close friend of Goncourt, Flaubert, and Zola, Daudet belonged to the Naturalist school of prose. Daudet worked his surroundings into his novels; his experiences, his milieu, the men whom he knew, the people who played a more or less important role in Paris life. Daudet died on December 16, 1897, in Paris.