Frédéric Mistral – Biography
Frédéric Mistral (1830-1914) came from an old and well-to-do
family of landowners that had settled in Provence in the sixteenth century. He
was deeply influenced by his early years in the leisurely and patriarchal manor
of his father. Mistral read law, but after taking his degree devoted himself entirely
to writing poetry in Provençal, the passion for which had been aroused
during his school days by one of his masters, the Provençal poet Joseph
Roumanille. Mistral's aim was to make neo-Provençal a literary language
conforming to fixed standards of purity. For this purpose he spent many years
on the compilation of the Trésor dóu Félibrige, a
dictionary of Provençal published by the «Felibrige», a literary
society that Mistral had founded.
Mistral was both an epic and a
lyrical poet. His work is determined by Provence, not only in language, but in
content and feeling. Provence is the true hero of all his poems. His first great
success was Miréio (1859), a story of two star-crossed lovers. It
was followed by Calendau (1867), a fantastic narrative poem about a Provençal
fisherman. Other works include Lis Isclo d'or (1876) [Islands of Gold],
a collection of poems; «Nerto» (1884), a narrative poem based on a
chronicle of the Avignon Popes; La Rèino Jano (1890); and Lou
pouémo dóu rose (1897) [The Song of the Rhone]. A five-volume
edition of his works appeared between 1887 and 1910; three volumes of unpublished
works appeared posthumously (1926-30). Mistral wrote an autobiography Moun
espelido: Memori è raconte (1906) [Memoirs of Mistral]. His efforts
to revive Provençal were at various times supported by the Academie Française
and the Institut de France.
From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier
Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the
award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures.
The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.
To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.
died on March 25, 1914.
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