Eugéne Dabit Biography

Eugenie Dabit (September 21, 1898 – August 21, 1936).

French artist, painter, writer and novelist, whose written works are limited in the Proletarian Literature movement. His best-known literary work is his novel Hotel del Norte, which earned him, in 1931, the Populista Novel Prize. Likewise, this work was brought to the cinema in 1938 by the director Marcel Carné.

Early life

Dabit was born on 21 September 1898, in Mer-les-Bains, on the French coast, within a humble working-class marriage, made up of Emile Dabit and his wife, who resided in Montmartre, in Paris, and who even their economic status moved to the area they wanted their son to be born near the sea.

Her childhood underwent major changes in a short time, produced by three moves, to which the family was forced, in search of a better livelihood. According to historians, the primary school stage was actually a time of boredom for Eugenie, who nevertheless achieved the Award of Excellence for good conduct.

In 1911, he finished this level of education, being deserving of a Medal and his Primary School certificate, the only school title he would receive in his life.

The following year, in 1912, Eugenie began as an apprentice locksmith in the company “Duty Partners”. However, the outbreak of World War I forced him to leave his study. At home, his father set out to war as a reservist in military engineering, leaving Eugenie – who was too young to be admitted to the army – as the man of the house.

In order to help his mother, Eugéne Dabit gets a job on the Paris Metro, where he served during the day by washing the windows of the carriages on the North-South line, and at night as an elevator operator at Lamarck-Caulaincourt station. However, in 1916, he was taken to the front, in order to repair the radio telegraph lines affected by the bombings.

Beginnings as a painter

After the war ended, Eugenie decided to surrender to a passion that had accompanied him: Painting. He entered in 1920, at the Académie Billoul, where he studied for a year. It was at this time that Eugenie would meet the great European authors, Rimbaud, Stendhal, Baudelaire, who would influence his literature.

In 1922, He began in the painted silk business, in the company of his partner Cristiano Caillard, and the support of his parents. Luck quickly smiled at him, meeting Irene Champigny, owner of a gallery, which earned him a small fortune by successfully marketing his pieces.

Between 1923 and 1924, Dabit decided to continue his artistic training, entering for this in the Académie de la Grande Chaumiére, where together with others of his companions he is part of the movement called Escuela Pre Saint Gervais Group. That same year, thanks to the money provided by the sale of the painted silk and the loan made by two uncles, his parents bought the Hotel du Nord, located in Paris.

From then on, the family settled in the hotel. His parents administered it, while he served at night as a doorman and bellhop. In 1924, he married Beatrice Appia, whom he had met at the Acedémie de la Grande Chaumiére.

Literary work

Some time after his marriage, he made a trip to Morocco from which he returned in 1928, at which point he began to suffer a vocational crisis in the face of little interest from people in his pictorial work. His biographers point out that it was at this time that Eugenie Dabit turned his attention to writing.

Significant changes also occurred in her personal life, following the meeting of Vere Braun, a Hungarian designer and painter, residing in Paris, with whom she is believed to have an extra-marital relationship. This brought consequences in his relationship with his wife, he was accused of infidelity, and the couple went into crisis, eventually separating.

In 1929, Dabit published his celebrated novel Hotel del Norte. In 1931, his work made him worthy of the Prize for The Populist Novel, which consisted of the recognition and five thousand francs in cash. From then on, he began his journey within the genre of the Proletarian Novel, exalting and speaking in the name of the poor, in a discourse that one another critic has come to label even a little panletarian.

However, he is well received within revolutionary circles, where he is invited to give lectures and participate in debates. From that time are also his works Petit Louis (1930) and Yvonne, which was also written in 1929 although it was not published until 2008.

In 1932 his work earned him a scholarship of twenty thousand francs by the Blumenthal Foundation, an American organization dedicated to French thought and art. A few months later, the new Association of Revolutionary Writers included him as one of its members.

His participation in the latter made him know and befriend renowned artists and writers of the time. During these years he wrote his works Villa Oasis or the False Bourgeoisie (1932); Suburbs of Paris (1933); A New Death Mark (1934), The Green Zone (1936); Lives train (1936) and Au Pont Tournant (1936).

Final years and legacy

In 1936, Eugenie Dabit received an invitation from Andre Gide to travel to the Soviet Union. However, during his transit he contracted scarlet fever, from which he failed to recover, dying on 21 August 1936, in the city of Sevastopol, in Crimea-USSR. His body was taken to Paris, where he is in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Among his published works posthumously are: The Masters of Spanish Painting (1937); City of Light (1937); The Pain of Living (1937); Journal, written between 1926 and 1936, and published in 1939; The venture Pierre Semondade, monitored for an hour with Eugéne Dabit, finally published in 2009.

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Eugéne Dabit Biography
Source: Education  
August 6, 2019

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