Françoise Quoirez Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Françoise Sagan (sah-gahn) was born Françoise Quoirez in 1935. When she was eighteen, Sagan astonished the world by writing a short novel, Bonjour Tristesse, about a teenager like herself who deliberately sets out to prevent the remarriage of her father. The sophisticated tone of the writing and the amoral attitude of the young author shocked the French public and brought her instant fame. Bonjour Tristesse was soon appearing in bookstores around the world and was translated into more than twenty languages.{$S[A]Quoirez, Françoise;Sagan, Françoise}

From this precocious beginning Sagan went on to write dozens of novels, short stories, plays, and essays and to join her literary career to the life of a celebrity, a life that has included political friendships on the left, most notably that of former French president François Mitterand. In 1988 she was arrested for possession and passing of cocaine. She admitted the cocaine use (she said that it helped her to write) but claimed that the other accusation was an attempt to harm Mitterand’s reelection chances by creating scandals involving his close friends.

In interviews Sagan has freely discussed her own life, which often sounds like the lives of characters in her many books. She was born in a town in Southwest France into a middle-class family, which she has always praised for warmth and personality. Later, her brother was to be her companion in the “enfant terrible” life she led in Paris and St. Tropez, a fishing village on the Mediterranean coast which became a rendezvous for the young and idle of her generation.

Sagan grew up in Lyon and later went to Paris to study in convent schools; she soon began to skip classes in favor of the lively student cafés of the Left Bank. After the success of her first novels had made her rich, she set about spending the money they...

(The entire section is 768 words.)

Françoise Quoirez Biography

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Françoise Quoirez, who would later take on the pen name Françoise Sagan, was born in June, 1935, at Cajarc in the Lot department of France, on the property of her bourgeois Catholic family. Her father was pursuing a successful career with the Compagnie Générale d’Electricité, and her childhood was typical for a girl from a wealthy bourgeois family. Even World War II did not seriously disrupt the lives of the Quoirez family. In spite of the war, the children were expected to continue their studies, and Sagan was enrolled in school at Lyons. Already a free spirit, she was intelligent and quick to learn whatever she needed or wished to know. Intolerant of traditional methods of education, she began to read extensively at this time when she was languishing under the constraints of her schooling.

After Paris was liberated from German occupation in 1944, the Quoirez family returned to the city, where Sagan was enrolled in school again. She attended several schools and finally was expelled from the Couvent des Oiseaux for lack of spiritualité. At the same time, it was discovered that she was anemic and in poor health, and for the sake of her health she was sent away for a year to a school in the mountains. On her return to Paris, Sagan attended a more modern coeducational school, where discipline was not rigorous and it was possible for her to cut classes to spend afternoons reading or roaming the streets of Paris. It is said that she regularly...

(The entire section is 591 words.)

Françoise Quoirez Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Françoise Sagan (sah-GAHN), the pseudonym of Françoise Quoirez, was born in a wealthy family in southwestern France. Her parents were able to shelter her from many of the hardships suffered by French people during World War II. Though comfortable, her childhood and adolescence were by all accounts marked by strict middle-class conformity. It was in part to escape from this stifling atmosphere that she attempted to become a writer. She sent the manuscript of her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse (1954; English translation, 1955), to the publishing house Julliard, which to her surprise (and possibly to the dismay of her parents) decided to publish it.

When it appeared in 1954, Sagan was only nineteen. It immediately became a scandalous best seller, winning a literary prize and gaining the attention of the literary world. Sagan—whose pen name was borrowed from a character in Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927; Remembrance of Things Past, 1922-1931, 1981), the princesse de Sagan—became a celebrity, better known for her lifestyle consisting of glamorous parties, complicated sexual relationships, fast cars, alcohol, and drug abuse, than for her literary accomplishments. This dual fame as a writer and as a media celebrity continued throughout her life.

Sagan paid a high price for her attraction to the kind of behavior that tabloid newspapers love to document. She suffered a near-fatal accident in her Aston Martin in 1957, and yet she continued to drive recklessly. Always a heavy drinker, she became addicted to painkillers as a result of her accident, a harrowing experience she recounts in the autobiographical narrative Toxique (1964; English translation, 1964). She gambled frequently, mostly in exclusive casinos. She was arrested several times in the 1990’s for cocaine possession. Her addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs contributed to lifelong health...

(The entire section is 794 words.)