Access to the full text of the entire article is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.


Vian, Boris (1920–1959) By Lapprand, Marc Didier

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM131-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 21 June 2024, from


Boris Vian (1920–1959) may well be the Renaissance man of twentieth-century France. In his short life, he was an engineer, a jazz musician, a fiction writer, a poet, a translator, a song-writer, and for a brief time a singer, a jazz critic and one of the most flamboyant members of the Collège de ‘Pataphysique. At the age of twenty-six, he wrote L’Écume des jours [Foam of the Daze], considered today his masterpiece (which still sells just under 100,000 copies each year). That same year, after a bet, he invented a pseudo-American writer in search of a publishing house: Vernon Sullivan, whose first hard-boiled novel Vian would ‘translate’: J’irai cracher sur vos tombes [I Spit on Your Graves]. For the next five years, both Vian and Sullivan penned novels alternately, the latter having a commercial (and scandalous) success and the former remaining quite unknown. In 1951 Boris Vian gave up writing novels and started a new career, turning towards the art of the stage. His productivity remained high until his premature death. His literary success, though, is entirely posthumous.

content locked



Article DOI



Related Searches

Citing this article:

Lapprand, Marc Didier. Vian, Boris (1920–1959). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

Copyright © 2016-2024 Routledge.