The Full Wiki

More info on Léon Bloy

Léon Bloy: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Léon Bloy, 1887
French literature
By category
French literary history

16th century · 17th century
18th century · 19th century
20th century · Contemporary

French writers

Chronological list
Writers by category
Novelists · Playwrights
Poets · Essayists
Short story writers

France portal
Literature portal

Léon Bloy (July 11, 1846 - November 3, 1917), was a French novelist, essayist, pamphleteer and poet. His works reflect a deepening devotion to the Roman Catholic Church and most generally a tremendous craving for the Absolute. His devotion to religion resulted in a complete dependence on charity; he acquired his nickname ("the ungrateful beggar") as a result of the many letters requesting financial aid from friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers, all the while carrying on with his literary work, in which his eight-volume Diary takes an important place.

Bloy was born in Notre-Dame-de-Sanilhac, Dordogne. He was a friend of the author Joris-Karl Huysmans, the painter Georges Rouault, and the philosopher Jacques Maritain, and was instrumental in reconciling these intellectuals with Roman Catholicism. However, he acquired a reputation for bigotry because of his frequent outbursts of temper; and his first novel, "Le Désespéré", a fierce attack on Rationalism and those he believed to be in league with it, made him fall out with the literary community of his time and even many of his old friends. Soon, Bloy could count such prestigious authors as Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Ernest Renan, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Alphonse Daudet, Paul Bourget and Anatole France as his enemies. In addition to his published works, he left a large body of correspondence with public and literary figures. He died in Bourg-la-Reine.



His works include :



  • Le Désespéré (1887) ("Despairing")
  • La Femme pauvre (1897) ("The woman who was poor")


  • Propos d'un entrepreneur de démolitions (1884) ("The Munition Merchant's Plan")
  • Le Salut par les Juifs (1892) ("Salvation from the Jews")
  • Je m'accuse (1900) ("I accuse myself")
  • Exégèse des lieux communs (1902-1912) ("Exegesis of the Commonplaces")
  • Belluaires et porchers (1905) ("Gladiators and swineherds")
  • Celle qui pleure (1908) ("The crying one")
  • Le Sang du Pauvre (1909) ("Blood of the Poor")
  • L'Ame de Napoléon (1912) ("Napoleon's Soul")
  • Jeanne d'Arc et l'Allemagne (1915) ("Joan of Arc and Germany")

Short stories

  • Sueur de sang (1893) ("Sweating blood")
  • Histoires désobligeantes (1894) ("Disagreeable tales")


  • Le Mendiant ingrat (1898) ("The Ungrateful Beggar")
  • Mon Journal (1904) ("My diary")
  • Quatre ans de captivité à Cochons-sur-Marne (1905) ("Four years of captivity in Cochons-sur-Marne")
  • L'Invendable (1909) ("The Unsaleable")
  • Le Vieux de la montagne (1911) ("The Old Man from the Mountain")
  • Le Pèlerin de l'Absolu (1914) ("The Pilgrim of the Absolute")
  • Au seuil de l'Apocalypse (1916) ("On the Threshold of the Apocalypse")
  • La Porte des humbles (posth., 1920) ("The Door of the Lowly")

He is quoted at the beginning of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair and in the short fiction, The Mirrors of Enigma, by the Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges, who acknowledged his debt to him. In his novel "The Harp and the Shadow", Alejo Carpentier excoriates Bloy as a raving, Columbus-defending lunatic during Vatican deliberations over the explorer's canonization. Le Désespéré was republished in 2005 by Editions Underbahn with a preface by Maurice G. Dantec. He is also quoted at beginning of John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany".

A useful study in English is Léon Bloy by Rayner Heppenstall (Cambridge: Bowes & Bowes, 1953).

See also

Bloy's 'Letters to my fiancee' is quoted several times in Charles Williams's anthology 'The New Christian Year'.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address