Everything about Juliette Benzoni

her biography, her bibliography and so much more …

Portrait 5

Filed under: 21. Portraits — 29 April, 2009 @ 14:52

s.pngeen on www.marianne2.fr :

i.pnguliette b.pngenzoni, 300 millions of sold books, never invited on the TV show of Bernard Pivot (famous french tv show for more than 30 years!) by Clara DUPONT-MONOD (April 1999) :

s.pnghe is one of the most read French writers. Nevertheless, who knows her? Meeting with the Barbara Cartland of historical novel.

w.pnge ask her what makes run her pen for more than thirty years. She answers simply: ” I like that. “ We wonder about the craze of the public from the all world (50 million readers); she replies, evasive: “I believe that is what pleases people”. We mention about the fifty books which were sold to 300 million copies in the world, the translations in 22 tongues, from Finnish to the Hebrew, the publication of her new novel; she worries: ” it works, the bell of the gate? “

j.pnguliette Benzoni, age 78, is an editorial phenomenon and she completely does not care. Never invited to the TV show of  Pivot, avoided by the critics, this old lady writes quietly her series of historical novels, sealed in her house of Saint-Mandé, not far from Paris. It is there, in the silence of an afternoon, rocked by the warmth of Récamier armchairs with velvet pillows, in which a girl with white hair orchestrates the history.The Burgundy at the time of Jeanne of Arc, Florence in 1457, Paris under the reign of Louis XIV, Venice just after the First World war … Upstairs, in the room, the crackling of the typewriter made file off wild kidnappings, state secrets, avenging treasons and, especially, crossed passions. The love holds such a place that she was nicknamed “the  Barbara Cartland of historical novels. For the one who considers herself more like the heiress of the popular literature of the XIXth century, “the success doubtless comes from there “. From there? ” Of dreams told in a modern tongue, without archaism of epoch. ” To the futuristic thrillers with a web background, to genetic manipulations and threats millenarians, she prefers the royal rides, the taffetas and the pierced fans. To instructions for a perfect daily happiness, which consists in taking the first draught of beer by contemplating the rising dawn, this almost octogenarian prefers the action.

t.pnghe widowhood, at the age of 40, fell her into writing

t.pnghe psychology annoys her : “It is necessary to keep the reader in suspense, not to linger.” The heroes of Juliette Benzoni are always beautiful and creative ; the heroines, luxurious and brave. ” It is to please people “, she smiles.  A public faithful to the blazing epics, the same, doubtless, who followed greedily the Count de Monte-Cristo on TF1 ( a French tv serie broadcasted on this french channel TF1 during the same period). “Besides”, she smiles, ” the passion of the history came to me to the age of 9 by seeing an image of Jeanne of Arc. Alexandre Dumas did the rest. “

t.pnghis lover of historic events, “chouan” in the soul, revolutionary by the writing, was nevertheless a young lady in the very strict “Cours Désir” and was for a long time a wife of an exemplary notable. Shared between some charities and the education of her children, Juliette Benzoni published nothing before the age of 40, date of her first widowhood. Her husband was a doctor. He had so well looked after the prostitutes of the wood of Vincennes that in 1942, when was born the first son of Juliette whom she could not breast-feed, the ladies of the wood furnished her for two years fresh oranges. A rent was then needed to be paid, she found an announcement in the Figaro, in 1950 ” We look, for a newspaper, for people knowing how to write lived narratives “, so she launched out into. Her serials in the newspaper “Confidences” will last twenty four years. It is the same publisher, Paul Winckler, who asked her, for “France-Soir”, a new “Angélique”. By creating the character of Catherine, in 1961, Juliette Benzoni gave herself a narrative technic which is still hers : Everything is seen, felt, lived, through the character. The book bets on the identification of the reader to the hero, which ease the realism of descriptions. Every volume asks two years of historic researches. Everything is inspected : the accurate chronology, the color of dresses, gilts of palaces …” The comparison with Barbara Cartland irritates me”, she said. “We publishes as much, but, for me, it is without counting the enormous work of documentation. “ Once the knowledge is amassed , she writes in one breath, at the rate of three daily pages. Result : two books a year.

t.pnghe scream of the cleaning lady broke clear the manuscript …

h.pnger wild rhythm moves her closer to Max Gallo, the other stakhanoviste of the writing.  But, if this last one throws his devotion through an unique character, the novels of Benzoni, on the other hand, are the ones of plenty. ” It is a kind of family, she explains. The characters, when we bright them into life, it is really necessary to consider them as children. We cannot make them doing things which is not in accordance with their character. They get the better of me.” It happens that this small world leaves, leaving her alone, empty. Then, the sleep leaves her in its turn …

t.pnghe literature of breakaway also benefits the authors. Benzoni draws from this procession of faces the forgetting of a bit of herself. She offers herself characters who ” get out of all the situations “. They protect her from her own memory. None of them imposes her for a  second time this scream heard since the garden, the one of the cleaning lady discovering the body of her dead son, struck by a heart attack, four years ago. None of them remains her that she was twice a widow. Each of them only reminds her her disappeared son, her mother, died after him, and her daughter when they all lived in the house of Saint-Mandé. Once only, it was her who abandoned the “characters’ family”. This famous day when everything fell over with the death of her son, Juliette Benzoni was writing the series “Le Boîteux de Varsovie”. ” The scream of the cleaning lady broke clear a sentence “, she remembers. It broke much more than a sentence. The author crossed off from a black line her manuscript, and did not touch it any more. When finally she became reconciled with her own words, it was to drown herself there. ” We can manage to leave everything outside. We find the sorrow at the exit”, she says. Some confessions are worth titles of nobility.

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