Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz (rah-mew) was born in 1878 in Lausanne, on Lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud. He studied at the University of Lausanne and in 1902 moved to Paris, where he intended to develop his capacities as a writer. During the next twelve years he wrote diligently, producing several novels and numerous poems and short stories. Becoming increasingly dissatisfied with life in Paris and with his work, however, he began to believe that isolation in France neither liberated him nor provided him with the kind of material he was best equipped to handle. Consequently, he resolved to return to his birthplace and to write in the midst of the life he remembered and valued. In 1914 he settled down once more in Switzerland, in the town of Pully, and began a flow of work about the people he understood, writing of fishermen and farmers, of craftsmen and peasants.
His decision was soon shown to be wise. A series of novels concerned with Swiss life came from Pully, bringing success and recognition to their author. Writing in a sympathetic way about the people he knew, he won a wide audience. Although there were critics who claimed that he was allowing his metaphysical and mystical interests to cloud his clear vision of the people of Switzerland, there was enough of the beauty and virtue of the land in his books to make them widely accepted. Ramuz explained in a critical discussion of his work that he intended to communicate the basic emotions of actual life not by philosophical analysis or contrived situations but by selecting those features of real life that would best exemplify the qualities he wanted to share.
Ramuz was considered for the Nobel Prize in 1945, a tribute to the enduring quality of his work and to his productivity. Two years later, on May 23, 1947, he died in Pully as the result of an operation.