Other Literary Forms
Alphonse Daudet began his career—as did most aspiring writers in nineteenth century France—with a small volume of poems; then he turned to writing short essays and stories (called chroniques) for newspapers as a means of livelihood. He also tried his hand at writing for the theater in those early years, sometimes in collaboration, sometimes alone. He felt his true vocation, however, was in the novel, and he began his career as a novelist with a fictionalized account of his own youth, written when he was twenty-eight years old. Thereafter he published some fifteen novels, one every other year on the average until his death. Until he was forty, some of his time was occupied by journalism, consisting of chroniques, short stories, and drama criticism, most of it collected in volumes during his lifetime. He wrote half a dozen full-length plays during his mature years, without ever really achieving a great public success. After his death, the interesting diary of his fatal illness was published, as were some fragmentary personal reminiscences, but he never wrote a formal autobiography.