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André Malraux


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André Malraux (November 3, 1901 – November 23, 1976) was a French author, adventurer and statesman, and a dominant figure in French politics and culture.

Additional recommended knowledge



Malraux was born in Paris. His parents separated in 1905 and eventually divorced. He was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother, Berthe and Adrienne Lamy. His father, a stockbroker, committed suicide in 1930.

At the age of 21, Malraux left for Cambodia with his new wife, Clara Goldschmidt. In Cambodia, Malraux undertook an expedition into remote jungle areas in search of lost temples. On his return, he was arrested by French colonial authorities for removing bas-reliefs from one of the temples he discovered, Banteay Srei.

Malraux became highly critical of the French colonial authorities in Indochina, and in 1925 helped to organize the Young Annam League and founded a newspaper Indochina in Chains.

On his return to France, he published The Temptation of the West (1926) an exchange of letters between a Westerner and an Oriental comparing aspects of the two cultures. This was followed by his first novel The Conquerors (1928), then by The Royal Way (1930) which drew in part on his Cambodian experience, and then by Man's Fate (La Condition Humaine). For La Condition Humaine, a powerful novel about a communist uprising in Shanghai, he won the 1933 Prix Goncourt.

In the 1930s Malraux was active in the anti-Fascist Popular Front in France. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War he joined the Republican forces in Spain, serving in, and helping to organise, their fledging air force. He also toured the United States to raise funds for the Republicans. A novel drawing on his Spanish war experiences, Man's Hope, (L'Espoir) appeared in 1938.

At the outbreak of Second World War Malraux joined the French Army. He was captured in 1940 during the Western Offensive but escaped and later joined the French Resistance. He was captured by the Gestapo in 1944 and underwent a mock execution. Later he led a tank unit Brigade Alsace-Lorraine in defence of Strasbourg and in the takeover of Stuttgart. He was awarded the Médaille de la Résistance, the Croix de Guerre, and the British Distinguished Service Order.

During the war he worked on a long novel, The Struggle with the Angel, the manuscript of which was destroyed by the Gestapo after his capture in 1944. A surviving first part, which he entitled The Walnut Trees of Altenburg, was published after the war.

Malraux and his first wife were divorced in the 1940s. (His daughter from this marriage, Florence (b.1933), married the filmmaker Alain Resnais.)

Malraux had two sons by his second wife Josette Clotis: Pierre-Gauthier (1940-1961) and Vincent (1943-1961). In 1944 while Malraux was fighting in Alsace, Josette was killed in an accident, having slipped while boarding a train. The two sons died in an automobile accident in 1961.

After the war General Charles de Gaulle appointed Malraux as his Minister for Information (1945-1946). During this post-war period he also worked on the first of his books on art, The Psychology of Art which was published in three volumes over the period 1947 to 1949. The work was subsequently re-published in a one volume, somewhat revised, form as The Voices of Silence (Les Voix du Silence). Malraux became France's first Minister of Culture in de Gaulle's second government from 1960 to 1969. Among many other initiatives, he created maisons de la culture in a number of provincial cities and worked to preserve France's national heritage.


In 1948 Malraux married Marie-Madeleine Lioux, a concert pianist and the widow of his half-brother, Roland Malraux. They separated in 1966.

During the 1960s Malraux published the first volume of a trilogy on art entitled The Metamorphosis of the Gods, the second two volumes (not yet translated into English) appearing shortly before he died. He also began publishing a series of semi-autobiographical works, the first of which was entitled Antimémoires. One of these, Lazarus, is a reflection on death following one of his own final illnesses. Malraux died in Créteil, near Paris, on November 23, 1976, and was buried in the Verrières-le-Buisson (Essonne) cemetery. In honor of his contributions to French culture, his ashes were moved to the Panthéon in Paris in 1996, on the twentieth anniversary of his death.

An international Malraux Society was founded in the United States in 1968. There is also an active association based in Paris - the Amitiés internationales André Malraux.


  • Andre Malraux (1960) by Geoffrey H. Hartman
  • Malraux (1971) by Pierre Galante (SBN 40212441-3)
  • Andre Malraux: A Biography (1997) by Curtis Cate (ISBN 208066795)
  • Malraux ou la Lutte avec l'ange. Art, histoire et religion (2001) by Raphaël Aubert (ISBN 2-8309-1026-5)
  • Malraux : A Life (2005) by Olivier Todd (ISBN 0375407022)
  • Dits et écrits d'André Malraux : Bibliographie commentée (2003) by Jacques Chanussot and Claude Travi (ISBN 2-905965-88-6)
  • The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936 - 1939 (Second edition 2006) by Anthony Beevor (ISBN 0-2978-4832-1)
  • André Malraux (2003) by Roberta Newnham (ISBN 9781841508542)


"The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random among the profusion of the earth and the galaxies, but that in this prison we can fashion images sufficiently powerful to deny our nothingness."

Partial bibliography

  • Lunes en Papier, 1923 (Paper Moons, 2005)
  • La Tentation de l'Occident, 1926 (The Temptation of the West, 1926)
  • Royaume-Farfelu, 1928 (The Kingdom of Farfelu, 2005)
  • Les Conquérants, 1928 (The Conquerors, 1928)
  • La Voie royale, 1930 (The Royal Way or The Way of the Kings, 1930)
  • La Condition humaine, 1933 (Man's Fate, 1934)
  • Le Temps du mépris, 1935 (Days of Wrath, 1935)
  • L'Espoir, 1937 (Man' Hope, 1938)
  • Les Noyers de l'Altenburg, Paris, Gallimard, 1948. (The Walnut Trees of Altenburg)
  • La Psychologie de l'Art, 1947-1949 (The Psychology of Art)
  • Les Voix du silence, 1951 (The Voices of Silence, 1953)
  • La Métamorphose des dieux: Vol 1. Le Surnaturel, Paris, Gallimard, 1957 (In English as The Metamorphosis of the Gods, translated by Stuart Gilbert); Vol 2. L'Irréel, Paris, Gallimard, 1974; Vol 3. L'Intemporel, Paris, Gallimard, 1976.
  • Antimémoires, 1967 (Anti-Memoirs, 1968 - autobiography)
  • Les Chênes qu'on abat, 1971 (Felled Oaks or The Fallen Oaks)
  • Lazare, 1974 (Lazarus, 1977)

For a more complete biography see the site of the Amitiés internationales André Malraux


A sentence said said by him "What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets!" was re-used in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's original dialogue. In the recent re-release, included with Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, it was changed to "Mankind? A cesspit of hatred and lies!", much to the chagrin to some of the series' fans.[citation needed]

Preceded by
Minister of Culture
Succeeded by
Edmond Michelet
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "André_Malraux". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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