Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Julien Green first drew critical attention in the late 1920’s as a writer of short fiction (Le Voyageur sur la terre, 1930; and Les Clefs de la mort, 1927) before attempting the longernarratives that became his forte. Green, however, is almost as well known for his autobiographical works as for his novels. His Journal, begun in 1928, has appeared in eighteen volumes published between 1938 and 2006 (partial translations in Personal Record, 1928-1939, 1939, and Diary, 1928-1957, 1964); a second series, begun in 1963, is more personal and frankly confessional in tone: Partir avant le jour (1963; To Leave Before Dawn, 1967), Mille chemins ouverts (1964; The War at Sixteen, 1993), Terre lointaine (1966; Love in America, 1994), and Jeunesse (1974; Restless Youth, 1922-1929, 1996). An additional volume, Memories of Happy Days (1942), was written and published in English during Green’s self-imposed wartime exile in the United States.

Encouraged by Louis Jouvet to try his hand at writing plays, Green achieved moderate success as a playwright with Sud (pr., pb. 1953; South, 1955), L’Ennemi (pr., pb. 1954), and L’Ombre (pr., pb. 1956), but he soon concluded that his true skills were those of a novelist. In any case, Green’s plays are seldom performed and are of interest mainly to readers already familiar with his novels.