Giraudoux, (Hyppolyte) Jean (1882-1944), French playwright, novelist, and diplomat, whose witty, originally expressed works in an impressionistic style helped free French theater from the restrictions of realism. Giraudoux was born in Bellac and educated at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the University of Munich, and Harvard University. In 1910 he entered the French foreign service. He became director of information of France in 1929 and held a similar post under the government of Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, the so-called Vichy regime.
Giraudoux first won literary acclaim for several novels that appeared shortly after World War I, including My Friend from Limousin (1922; trans. 1923) and Églantine (1927). These were followed by such internationally successful plays as Siegfried (1928; trans. 1930), Amphitryon 38 (1929; trans. 1938), Intermezzo (1933), Tiger at the Gates (1935; trans. 1955), Électre (1937), and Ondine (1939; trans. 1954). Many of these were modern treatments of ancient Greek stories. In 1943 he completed his last play, the satirical La folle de Chaillot, produced posthumously in 1945 and produced in the U.S. in 1947 as The Madwoman of Chaillot. A novel, La menteuse, was discovered in 1968 and published in English as The Lying Woman in 1972.
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