Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Françoise Sagan (June 21, 1935–September 24 2004), real name Françoise Quoirez, was a French playwright, novelist and screenwriter, best known for strong romantic themes involving middle-class characters.
Sagan was born in Cajarc, Aveyron, where she lived for the first few years of her life, until her family moved to Lyon at the outset of World War II. She failed entrance examinations to the Sorbonne in 1953 mainly due to her active nightlife in the Paris clubs. Though notorious all her life for her extravagant lifestyle, she would later attend school there but without graduating.
Her first novel was published in 1954, at the age of 18. Bonjour Tristesse (meaning "Hello/goodbye sadness") and was an immediate international success. It concerns the life of pleasure-driven 17-year-old Cécile, in particular her relationship with her boyfriend and her adulterous, playboy father. The novel allegedly influenced the Simon & Garfunkel song The Sounds of Silence. Her pseudonym was taken from a character in Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time).
Sagan's characters became something of an icon for disillusioned teenagers, in some ways similar to those of J.D. Salinger. She produced dozens of works during a career lasting until 1996, many of which have been filmed. Sporting the austere style of the French psychological novel even while nouveau roman became popular, the conversations between her characters are often considered to contain existential undertones. In addition to novels, plays, and autobiography, she also wrote song lyrics and screenplays.
She was married twice, to Guy Schoeller and Bob Westhof , but both marriages ended in divorce.
In the 1960s, Sagan became more devoted to writing plays, which, though lauded for excellent dialogues, were only moderately successful. Afterwards, she resumed her career as a novelist.
Her health was reported to be poor in the decade of the 2000s. In 2002 she was unable to appear at a trial in which she was convicted of tax fraud involving François Mitterrand, and she received a suspended sentence. She died at the age of 69 in Honfleur, Calvados.
The character of Margot Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums is allegedly based partly on Françoise Sagan.
- Bonjour Tristesse
- Un certain sourire (A Certain Smile )
- Les merveilleux nuages
- Aimez-vous Brahms?
- La chamade
- Les yeux de soie (Silken Eyes)
- Le lit defait (The Unmade Bed)
- Le garde du coeur (The Heart-Keeper)
- Chateâu en Suède (Chateau in Sweden) (1960)
- Toxique (1964)
- Des bleus à l'âme (Scars on The Soul) (1972, translated 1974)
- Avec mon meilleur souvenir (With Fondest Regards ) (1984, translated 1985)
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