Storyline: The exhaustive existentialist transcends a wall-eyed wallflower appearance to become the intellectual satyr of his day, reaping encomia, honor and acolytes galore, in his dominating stance as a central cerebral figure of his time and place.

Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) - French writer and philosopher. Outer: Born into the bourgeois class, which he spent a lifetime flouting and rebuking. Adored by his mother, whom he doted on in return, father was a naval officer who died when he was an infant. The former was first cousin of celebrated physician/theologian Albert Schweitzer. Lived with his grandparents until his mother remarried in 1919, while later viewing his early home as a “hothouse of bourgeois hypocrisy. 4'11" and wall-eyed, he was educated by his grandfather to be this century’s answer to Voltaire (Michel Foucault). Despite his precocity, he flunked his initial college entrance exams, then topped the list the 2nd time he took them, entering the elite Ecole Normale Superieure. Studied in Germany afterwards, in 1933, then wound up teaching high school in Le Havre and other places for 14 years. Wrote Nausea, his most accomplished novel in 1938, limning his ideas on existentialism and the isolation of being. Never able to maintain friendships with those who were his intellectual peers, rather he preferred having youthful acolytes at his feet, particularly young woman, who fed into his own pride of being. Had countless affairs, as well as a longtime relationship with writer Simone de Beauvoir, beginning in 1929 when they met at school, although he never liked the sex act itself. Instead, he enjoyed the conquest of seduction, and cuddling afterwards. Later research showed he had much more of a dependency on de Beauvoir for his ideas than first believed, with the duo reading every word each other ever wrote. Often lived nearby her, and continually tried to seduce her paramours, although their sexual connection ended after a decade. Nevertheless, the duo viewed themselves as ‘soul mates,’ and continually played with one another’s jealousies and competitiveness. Also took care of many of his seducees, feeling a responsibility for them. Preferred living in hotel rooms, eschewing anything that smacked of a true ‘home,’ while doing much of his writing in public, often sitting at his favorite table at the Cafe de Flore. During WW II, he was in a prisoner of war camp, as well as in the French Resistance, then became extremely politically active afterwards, taking radical leftist stances on all the issues of the coming decades in France, with a black and white overview that held more to prideful symbols than actualities. In 1943, he wrote his chief philosophical work, Being and Nothingness, which made him the primary French proponent of existence as an active human state. Strongly motivated by an absolute hatred of anything bourgeois, thanks to his projected upbringing. Had an ongoing intellectual battle with Raymond Aron from schooldays onward, taking a blanket Marxist viewpoint to Aron’s skeptical liberalism, with the 2 coming to dominate French intellectual life for many decades. A veritable fount of self-expression, he was also a playwright of ideas, although less disciplined in that arena, as well as a critic and essayist. Eventually, he became an anti-communist of the Soviet variety, because of abuses by the party, after a lifelong embracing of Marxist ideals, while his stature gradually eroded with age. Lived simply, with books as his only possessions, and his mind as his most treasured appurtenance. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but rejected it for fear of becoming an institution. Also turned down the Legion d’Honneur, on anti-bourgeois grounds. Enthusiastically supported the Parisian student revolts of the late 1960s, in his ongoing desire to be continually au courant in all things political. Addicted to amphetamines, coffee, sleeping pills, cigarettes and alcohol, with little regard for his physical well-being, so that later life saw him incontinent, and far more into satiating his ravaged flesh than his mind. His eyes eventually weakened to the point of near-blindness and he suffered paralysis near the end. At his death from pulmonary edema, the funeral procession stretched 2 miles, with 25,000 in attendance. Inner: Iconoclastic, self-confident, amiably angry, and highly ambitious, wishing to know the most about everything. Completely self-absorbed, obsessed with youth, with a continuous desire to be on the cutting edge of things, reinterpreting circumstances to fit his projected ideas. Able to mix the abstract with the novelistic. Despite his distinctly French intellectuality, actually operated out of Germanic cerebral traditions. Je pense ergo je suis lifetime of trying to integrate his intellectuality and sensuality in one unique, questioning package, while acting out the role of over-amped over-sexed philosopher king. Jean Marie Mathias Philippe Auguste, comte de Villiers de L’Isle-Adam (1838-1889) - French writer. Outer: From an old noble, but impoverished Breton family, who were steeped in traditions of chivalry, and fervently Roman Catholic. Father had to obtain a papal dispensation to marry into an old Brittany family. Despite the title, they suffered poverty and lived on the largesse of an aunt. A poor student, although read widely on his own, and wrote imitative verse and plays. In 1857 the family moved to Paris, and he began frequenting literary cafe circles, hanging with the Parnassian poets, but his early works elicited little response. When his family returned to the provinces 2 years later, he lost the last of his inhibitions, and plunged wholehearted into the bohemian life of the city. An excellent piano player, and a big fan of Richard Wagner (Werner Herzog), whom he met. When his aunt died in 1864, he sank into poverty for the rest of his life. His family stopped him from marrying the daughter of poet Theophile Gautier, while he struggled with his writing, eking out an existence as a salonista and editor, while his efforts all brought him little, thanks to an ornate style and a heavy philosophic bent. Became a lieutenant in the National Guard in the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, although saw no active duty. Scraped by at a variety of jobs, but had to depend on friends, as much of his literary effort went for naught. Maintained the stance that his art was more valued than his life, and made little effort in the latter arena. Had one political stab as a Royalist candidate for the Seine department and was roundly defeated. In 1881, he had a son with Marie Dantine, an illiterate widow and former chambermaid, whom he would marry shortly before his death. Continued in the same impoverished vein for the rest of his life, getting little monetary reward for his short stories or plays, although some modest renown his last 5 years, until he finally contracted stomach cancer, and died of it. His literary executors were his close friends Stephane Mallarme (Simone de Beauvoir) and Joris Karl Huysman (William Burroughs) who largely failed in their responsibility. Considered one of the Symbolistes, and best remembered for his short stories in Contest cruels or Cruel Tales. Inner: Fascinated with the occult, as well as all the ‘isms’ of his time, while indifferent to anything that didn’t foster his art. Art-for-art’s sake lifetime of exercising his considerable creative gifts, without real regard to audience, save for his circle of similarly-minded friends. Paul Scarron (1610-1660) - French poet. Outer: Son of a well-to-do magistrate and member of Parlement. Father was both extravagant and pious. Mother died when he was young, stepmother made life difficult for the family. Mischievous and not into the household sense of austerity. Loved gaiety and theater, although his family pushed him towards a ecclesiastic career. Took minor orders, became an abbe, then entered the service of the bishop of Le Mans, traveling to Rome with him. Libertine, highly social, loved the trinity of wine, women and song. During a carnival, he covered his body with honey and feathers and hid under a bridge as a joke. Jumped in the water and became crippled by rheumatism at the age of 27. His health grew worse, his body became deformed, and his legs were useless. Lived in great pain for 20 years, using opiates to relieve it. Forced to survive by the generosity of his protectors, suffered lawsuits from his stepmother, and had to support his sisters, who were a burden. Returned to Paris, and wrote for the theater as well as poetry, comedies, novels and parodies, rebelling against the artificiality then in practice. Still enjoyed gay company, but lost his pension supporting the Fronde uprising of princes against the crown. In his 40s, he married Francois d’Aubigne (Simone de Beauvoir), who was 17 at time. Despite his physical agonies and promiscuity, it was a happy marriage. Finally died from his infirmities. Inner: Sensualist, libertine, with an overriding interest in laughter and pleasure. Laughter in the face of adversity lifetime of enjoying physical pleasures of the flesh, after earlier denying them, only to be undone by an uncooperative corpus, in his ongoing alternate celebrations of the mind and body. Olivier de Magny (c1529-1561) - French poet. Outer: Origins obscured. Began his public life as secretary to the almoner for the king. Went to Paris and participated in the literary life there, writing poetry and doing translations. Became the secretary of a church figure and went with him to Rome, where he came in contact with Joachim Du Bellay (Stephen Spender). Had a reputed affair with Louise Labe (Simone de Beauvoir), whom he later publicly repudiated in his writings. Sometimes wrote in the style of Roman poet Catullus (Joe Orton), and though much of his work was derivative, much was also original. His early death precluded him from further identification with the Pleiade, a crew of French poets harkening back to Grecian cultural themes. Inner: Modest, joyful, sensuous. Foreshortened lifetime of breaking away from his earlier patterns of physical and sexual denial. Pierre Abelard (1079-1142) - French philosopher. Outer: Son of a knight, but preferred the pursuit of philosophy and logic to a military career. Proved himself a provocative student who argued with his teachers and showed how language was a philosophy in itself, although was in and of itself unable to demonstrate the truth of things. Wandered from school to school as a peripatetic Aristotelian teacher, always challenging the accepted theological and rhetorical philosophy with his brilliant sense of exposition, to become one of the most stirring and popular teachers of his day. Best known for his original use of dialectics and his ability to use language as a tool to probe medieval mystery. In 1118, he took on Heloise (Simone de Beauvoir), the niece of Fulbert, a powerful canon of the cathedral of Paris, as his private pupil. The duo had an illicit affair, which they did not try to hide, believing themselves above a scandal. A son, Astralabe, was born, but Heloise discouraged him from marrying her, feeling his career would be compromised. On his insistence, a secret ceremony was performed in front of Fulbert, but the latter thought that he would abandon his bride to a nunnery, and had him castrated by ruffians. Shamefully became a monk, while Heloise reluctantly became a nun. Challenged the way of life of his fellow monks, who resented him, and openly espoused heretical beliefs, for which he was condemned in 1121, had his work burned, and placed for a time under house arrest, barely escaping being lynched. After challenging the patron saint of his abbey, he fled to another territory in order to avoid being brought before the king of France to be tried. Although he had the desire to withdraw and become a hermit, he was persuaded by his students to continue his teachings. More controversy followed, and, after contemplating fleeing Christendom altogether, he accepted a position as abbot of remote Breton monastery in 1125, only to suffer assassination attempts. Returned to France to rejoin Heloise in the new community of nuns called Paraclete. Became the abbot of a community, and found some peace while encouraging the nuns towards literary study. In his last years, he returned to Paris in 1136 to teach and write. Highly celebrated by this time, he, nevertheless, won further enmity from authorities, was condemned, excommunicated and finally retired to a Cluny monastery for his last 2 years, where, old, broken and and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he became a Cluniac monk. Wrote his autobiography Historia calamitatum, the story of my troubles, as well as numerous philosophical, and theological works. Died of scurvy. Inner: Provocative, brilliant and courageous. Saw language as a tool for expressing reality and attacked everything from a rationalist viewpoint. Felt the love of God was central to morality, but also held a crypto-martyr complex, eliciting over-the-top reactions from his adversaries. Extreme rationalist lifetime of struggle over his sense of humanity with virtually every other theological master around, as well as bravely challenging the accepted tenets of his time to his ultimate unmanning and psychological detriment. Origen (Oregenes Adamantius) (c185-c254) - Greek philosopher and theologian. Outer: Probably born of Christian parents, although accounts vary. Father was martyred, so he had to take care of his mother and 6 younger brothers. Initially sought martyrdom himself, although his mother hid his clothes, so that he could not pursue a public death. Lived in a house of wealthy woman, then taught grammar. Probably castrated himself so as not to tempted by his own sexuality, and lived the life of an extreme ascetic, denying his body to further his heart and mind. Learned Hebrew, and became head of the cathetical school at Alexandria, where he spent almost 3 decades. Became famous for accepting no money for his teachings, while putting much of his energy into writing. Attempted to synthesize Greek philosophy with Christian creed, and became the most influential man in the Church of his time, positing a joyous, incremental pathway to God for everyone. Interpreted Scripture literally, ethically and allegorically, and though a Christian apologist, he was often questioned over his sense of orthodoxy, thanks to harboring certain Gnostic beliefs, and viewing the mythos of Christianity in symbolic, rather than literal terms. Although not ordained a priest, he was allowed to preach on his travels to Rome, Caesarea and Jerusalem. Later ordained, but his own bishop, feeling threatened, had him deposed and banished. Founded a new school in Caesarea that was even more illustrious than the previous one In Alexandria. During the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Decius (Joseph Stalin), he was imprisoned, tortured and pilloried, which probably contributed to his death shortly after his release. Inner: Martyr-complex, as well as a synthesizing view of Christianity and intellectual paganism. A Platonist at heart, he saw wisdom and knowledge as pre-eminent and the touchstone for soul ascendance, which he viewed as the ultimate pathway of humanity in their return to the Godhead. Ascetic lifetime of struggle with his sexuality and bodily needs in order to free himself to touch upon his sense of the divine, uncorrupted by earthly temptation, or the gravity of physical needs.


Storyline: The scrupulous scribe of the second sex makes her indelible political, social and psychological mark down through the ages as a singular champion of her own personal truths, regardless of the considerable consequences they have brought her.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) - French philosopher and writer. Outer: Father was an advocate to the court of appeals, who initially wanted to be an actor, although his social position denied him his true desire, leading to a lifelong hatred for his profession. Mother was the daughter of a wealthy banker and an ardent Catholic. The older of two sisters, with her younger sibling Helene, becoming a painter and feminist. Had a middle class provincial upbringing, and once thought of being a nun, before becoming a confirmed atheist in her mid-teens, in response to her mother’s rigidity, feeling religion was a means of avoiding truth. Pursued conventional studies, then lived with her grandmother and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, which she planned to teach. Met the diminutive Jean Paul Sartre in her early 20s, and the duo maintained a lifelong connection, with both holding strong principles against marriage as an oppressive institution, while he continually tried to seduce her paramours. The relationship was physical for the first decade, and then emotional and intellectual afterwards. Never lived with him, but was always close by, while each competed with one another with their various other affairs, although she progressively took more and more care of him as he grew more enfeebled later in life, while acting as his unacknowledged co-writer. Lean and intense, with a high-pitched voice. Taught in Marseilles, then Rouen, while continuing to live with her grandmother, before returning to Paris in her early 30s. Gave up teaching to write full-time by her late 30,. and joined Sartre on editing a monthly journal at the end of WW II. Began writing novels of existential dilemmas, as well as ethically-oriented essays. Had a profound influence on the women’s movement worldwide with the publication of "The Second Sex" in 1949, in which she felt women were products of civilization, rather than biology. The book caused a furor in France at mid-century, and a little later in the U.S. when it was translated. Highly active politically for left-wing causes her whole adult life, welcoming interviews from both the French and foreign presses. Also wrote fiction, most notably "The Mandarins," which gave a fictionalized account of her relationship with Sartre, and won the 1954 Goncourt Prize. Had a seventeen year on-and-off affair with American writer Nelson Algren, although refused to marry him, as both sacrificed their intensely sexual and emotional connection for their work, before she returned to Sartre. Also had a 6 year liaison with a young Communist journalist, in the 1950s. Although an early Marxist, visiting the USSR several times, and eventually became disillusioned with communism. Wrote a quartet of autobiographical works, as well as an important work on aging, "The Coming of Age." Admitted to being bisexual in later life after earlier categorically denying it. Also wrote an unblinking and uncharitable account of the last years of Sartre’s life. In her last years, she became dependent on alcohol and amphetamines, which hastened her end. Cared for by her former student Sylvie Le Bon, a philosophy professor, whom she eventually adopted, and who became her literary executor. Died of a respiratory ailment one day before the 6th anniversary of Sartre’s death, and was buried in the same grave as his, although wearing Algren’s ring. Inner: Humorless, uncompromising but passionate. Totally self-absorbed, but capable of loosening up with the right stimulus. Felt jealous and lonely throughout her life, and used conquest as a means of satiating it. Highly analytic, with her heart and mind closely entwined. Provocateur lifetime of being an intellectual spur to her sex, while continuing her longtime relationship with her favorite emotional ‘soul mate’ partner. Stephan Mallarmé (1842-1898) - French poet. Outer: From a well-educated family connected to the civil service for two generations. Mother died when he was 5, father remarried the next year. Sent to a school for the sons of gentlemen, but proved an indifferent student, despite his love for languages. After the death of his father, he took his teacher’s examination and embarked on his unsatisfactory career as saidsame. Went to England in his early 20s, and while in London, he married a young German governess, 2 children from the union, with a son dying at age of 8. Returned from the trip a confirmed Anglophile. Never obtained a university degree, and began teaching English in secondary schools, first in the provinces and finally in Paris, in a near three decade career he pursued with “inward groans” the rest of his working life, because of his vacillating nature. Moved frequently, but led a life largely without significant event. Possessed an extremely active intellect, and was obsessed with theoretical esthetics and the hidden power of language. Wrote poetry in the style of Charles Baudelaire (Lou Reed), and like him, wished to translate all of Edgar Allen Poe’s (Patti Smith) works. Began finding his own style, and became a celebrated poet, while spending a great deal of his time on each of poems, searching for verbal perfection in each. Looked to friendships to counter his grueling teacherly tasks, and established a modest weekly salon in his Paris flat, called Mardis, (Tuesdays) that lasted 18 years. After his retirement in 1893, he lectured at Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1896 was elected Prince of Poets, succeeding Paul Verlaine (Mickey Avalon). Died suddenly of a spasm in his throat. Inner: Unassuming, courteous, scholarly. Dilatory daydreamer in practical matters, far more the thinker than doer, with a retiring nature. Dedicated his life to thinking, talking and poetic creation, with the latter an ongoing struggle for him. Felt poems should evoke rather than describe, giving a special power to words. Idealist and searcher for beauty through language. Gender-switching lifetime of the mind, so as to explore the pure intellectuality of his being without social, sexual or political repercussions as in the past and future. Francoise de Maintenon (Francoise d’Aubigné) (1635-1719) - French queen. Outer: From the minor nobility. Granddaughter of Agrippa d’Aubigném a famous poet and Huguenot hero who disinherited her sire, leaving the family in financial ruin. Father was a blackguard, gambler, duellist and counterfeiter in prison for debt at the time of her birth, as was her mother for Huguenot sympathies. Baptised a Roman Catholic, although educated by a Protestant aunt. The family spent time on Martinique then returned to France at her father’s death, where she was forced to beg on the street. After her mother died, she was cared for by a Catholic aunt and became an ardent religionist. Married at 17 to Paul Scarron (Jean Paul Sartre) to avoid going into a convent, despite bursting into tears on first seeing him. A happy union, although her husband was nearing the end of a libidinous life lived largely as an invalid, and remained an adulterous libertine. Enjoyed the intellectual and social circles of Paris through him, while maintaining a semblance of modesty and religiosity in direct contrast to those around her. After his death in 1660, when she was still in her 20s, she was left impoverished and went into a convent, then through a friend, became tutor to the children of Louis XIV (Charles de Gaulle) by one of his mistresses. Made a marquise, after the queen, who was devoted to her, died in her arms. In 1684, she became the king’s 2nd wife in a 30 year morganatic marriage. Served as his political adviser and exercised some influence over him, lifting the moral tone of his court, although did nothing to protect the Huguenots. Established the Cordon Bleu as a cooking school, which would become the most famous in the world. In the latter part of her life, she devoted considerable energy to a school she founded for the daughters of poor but noble families. An accomplished letter and essay writer, she produced some remarkable documents on education. After the king’s death in 1715, she retired to an Ursuline convent, where she died. Inner: Beautiful, reserved, virtuous, highly intelligent, also discreet and highly self-controlled. Regal lifetime of enjoying royal power without the benefit of royal birth, allowing her to exercise influence on the moral and educational upliftment of France while augmenting her own skills of self-expression. Louise Labe (c1524-1566) - French poet. Outer: Daughter of a prosperous but illiterate rope-maker. Mother died when she was very young. Received an excellent education, spoke several languages and was an accomplished singer and lute-player. Had a marriage of convenience to a rich rope-maker twice her age who died a decade later. Rumored to have had a love affair with Olivier de Magny (Jean Paul Sartre), who later repudiated her, much to her chagrin. Had many admirers, but her free ways scandalized provincial Lyons. Became a legendary figure, with a street named after her. Wrote both plays and poetry, with the themes of uniting the soul and the senses. Her later life is obscured, although she is believed to have bought a country estate near Lyons, where she eventually died. Inner: Beautiful, elegant, witty conversationalist. Pagan and amoral in her personal philosophy, but was constrained by convention from completely acting them out. Believed strongly that women were the intellectual equals, if not superiors, of men. Act out lifetime of exercising the freedom of her mind to help her rise above the limits placed on her gender and social position. Heloise (c1098-1164) - French abbess. Outer: Niece of the Canon of Notre Dame Cathedral. Widely known for her beauty, culture and wisdom. When she was 17, she became a pupil of Peter Abelard (Jean Paul Sartre) who also lived at the Canon’s house. The duo became sexually involved, and, after they were caught, had to meet secretly elsewhere, although both believed themselves beyond taint. During an absence by the Canon, Abelard sent her to his sister in Brittany where she gave birth to a son. Since the marriage would have hurt his career, both decided not to wed. A secret ceremony took place in front of the Canon, who angrily wanted their union to be publicly known. Abelard wanted her to retire to a convent until gossip petered out, but the Canon, suspecting abandonment, sent 4 ruffians to emasculate him. Afterwards Abelard fled to an abbey to recover, while she became a nun, and with the help of her former lover, was made head of a religious order at the Paraclete, where the 2 were eventually buried. Their love story was immortalized in the stirring correspondence between them, which began on her part with ardor and ended with resignation. Outlived her lover, and performed her duties, but her true heart was never in her work, only in what might have been. Inner: Cultured, passionate, rebellious, witty and learned. Bitter tears lifetime of defying convention and then having the strength to resist the bounds ultimately placed on her for it. Joan Angelicus (818-855) - English/Italian Pope. Outer: Born in Britain, she went to school in Cologne, and fell in love with a young Benedictine monk, disguising herself as a man to accompany him to Athens. After his death, she went to Rome to enter the priesthood, and, because of her scholarship, won a university chair there as a professor, before becoming a notary of the Vatican Curia, where she was known as Father John. Lectured and gave sermons, winning great popularity, and was elected Pope in the year 855. Discharged her duties for 2 years, then fell in love with her private chamberlain, who impregnated her. Although she wished to escape the Vatican, she could not do so, and during a ceremonial ride from St. Peter’s to the Lateran Palace, went into labor, and was lifted from her horse, giving birth to a premature son from under the robes of her papal vestments, in full view of a crowd. The enraged mob, on discovering she was a woman, tied her to the tail of her horse and dragged her through the streets of Rome and back to the spot of her unfortunate delivery where she was stoned to death. Her son eventually became a Bishop, while her lover retired to a monastery. The Church later discredited the whole story as a myth, but enough his/storians confirmed it to make it a probable actuality. Inner: Ambitious, highly intelligent, with the soul of a trickster. Cross-dressing lifetime of breaking the rules of gender roles and paying for it with her life to set up a whole series of go-rounds where she would gradually empower women with her unusual intellectual process and highly focused passions. Deborah (1200-1124BZ) - Israeli judge and prophetess. Outer: From the tribe of Ephraim. Lived in the mountains between Ramah and Beth-El, and maintained the righteous ways of the Torah. After the death of the second judge, Ehud, the ancient Hebrews took up idolatry. As a consequence they fell to the king of the Canaanites, who made them suffer greatly under the cruel rule of his general Sisera. During this time, the prophetess held court in the open air beneath a palm tree and gave advice to those seeking it, while warning her people to abandon their evil ways and return to the truth of the Torah. At her urging, her husband, Barak, raised an army of 10,000, and she accompanied them into battle. Although the Canaanites were initially successful, the battlefield was turned to mud by heavy rains, throwing their soldiers into confusion and causing them to retreat. The Israelite army pursued them and easily dispatched them, as their hated general hid in a tent. He was subsequently slain by a woman named Jael, who was from a small clan who were not Israelites, but lived in proximity to them. The prophetess glorified her in the “Song of Deborah”, having predicted victory at the hands of a woman, rather than a man. Served as the 4th Judge of Israel, and for 20 years her people lived in peace under both her and her husband. Succeeded by Gideon (Steven Soltoff). Inner: Righteous lifetime of serving her people as both a visionary and a grounding force, bringing them back, at least for a while, to their holy ways, in her ongoing longtime championship of the innate power of the second sex.


Storyline: The bard of bucolic ideals searches for love in all its guises, but never quite gets out of his poetic head and into his wounded heart, creating a host of contradictory characters both on the printed page and in the annals of the western literary canon.

Leonard Cohen (Leonard Norman Cohen) (1934-2016) - Canadian/American troubadour and novelist. Outer: From a prosperous middle-class Jewish family. Mother was a Lithuanian immigrant, while father was a clothing merchant of Polish extract who died when his son was 9. Both parents encouraged his creativity. Older of two with a younger sister. Learned the guitar at 16, and began playing in local cafes in Montreal. 5’7” and slightly built with brown hair and brown eyes. Went to McGill Univ, and after graduation, and a term at his alma mater’s law school, published his first book of poems, giving him an early reputation as a writer of sensuous, erotic imagery. Finished his formal education with a year at Columbia Univ., then made a half-hearted attempt at the family business, before dividing his time between Montreal and the Grecian isle of Hydra. Lived on a small family inheritance, while his pursuit of altered states and carnal delights made him infamous in Canada. The publication of the novel Beautiful Losers in 1966 insured his international reputation as an uninhibited bacchic voice of far more than passing interest. Moved to the U.S. in 1967 and began his career as a monotoned singer of his own songs shortly afterwards, enjoying a long-held cult reputation, following his debut album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen” in 1968, Had a brief connection to singer Janis Joplin (Pink), while all his inamoratas proved fecund fodder for his well-honed pen. Produced a son, Adam, a singer-songwriter, and daughter, Lorca, by a girlfriend, artist Suzanne Elrod, although never married. Formed his own publishing company, Stranger Music, and did a lot of wandering, and experimenting, before embracing Buddhism, and settling in the Hollywood Hills with actress Rebecca de Mornay. The duo eventually parted, and he continued his self-seeking on his own. In 1993, he began living in a mountaintop ashram and practicing Zen for 5 years under a Japanese Zen master, while meditating 6 hours a day, before descending back down to the everyday world, with an increased sense of inner clarity. During this time his longtime personal manager began looting millions from the money he set aside for his retirement fund, leaving him with $150,000, which he did not discover until 2004, setting up legal action twixt the two. Eventually won a $9.5 million default judgment, although had difficulty collecting it. Steadily evinced a greater surety to his work as he matured, moving from the personal to the his/storical, while maintaining his iconoclastic stance as a self-proclaimed ‘teacher of the heart.’ Given numerous honors from his native country and inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. At the same time, he began touring again after a decade and a half lapse, despite being in his 70s, thanks to a limber constitution, and an innate desire to continue to spread the gospel of his offbeat spirituality. Celebrated his 80th birthday by taking up smoking cigarettes again after a thirty year hiatus, feeling he may as well pursue his forbidden pleasures while he still could. His health quickly faded, as his voice fell to a whisper and he died peacefully at home surrounded by family, after falling out of bed in the middle of the night. Buried in a Jewish cemetery in Montreal in a plain pine box next to his parents. Released 14 studio albums all told, with the last, “You Want it Darker,” just three weeks before his death. Inner: Sardonic, sensuous and self-effacing with a highly developed esthetic, and a great love for language and its poetic power. Saw performance and prayer as two sides of the same devotional stance. Observant in both his Judaic and Zen practices, while always looking for the divine, both within and without, despite his basic depressive character. Fascinated with the struggle between despair and human potential. Beautiful winner/loser lifetime of plunging into his longtime obsessions - sex, divinity and drugs, and their resultant ecstatic states - and trying to turn them all into the sumptuous Dionysian harvest of enduring art. qD. H. Lawrence (David Herbert Lawrence) (1885-1930) - British writer. Outer: Mother was from a middle-class family that had fallen into hard times and had been a teacher and writer of poetry, father was a rough-hewn alcoholic coal miner. The duality of his parents, a genteel mother and a rough, alcoholic father, would be later limned in Sons and Lovers, and would also feed into his own internal tensions, as sensualist and esthete. Deeply attached to his mother, who dominated him, reshaping him in her own image. 4th of 5 children. Often in poor health and bullied at school, he much preferred the company of girls, knowing full well he would never be a miner. 5’9”, thin, and frail. Educated through scholarships, served a short time as a clerk, then as an elementary schoolteacher, before graduating Nottingham Univ. His writing talent was obvious from an early age, and he published poems and a novel in his early 20s, then ran off with the wife of one of his professors, Frieda von Richthofen (Rebeccas De Mornay), a distant cousin of the German flying ace, Manfred von Richthofen (Wally George). She abandoned an unhappy marriage and 3 small children to elope with him to Germany, after his promise they would build a new world together, although he never outgrew his mother domination, and remained a wounded little boy all his life. Also aped his parent’s stormy union with her. Arrested for spying in Germany, he was saved from prosecution by the intervention of her father, and the two hotfooted it over the Alps to Italy. Returned to England and married her at the outbreak of WW I, but both were hounded because of her German origins, and he was harassed because of his beard and occupation as a writer. Obscenity charges over his novel The Rainbow, and a general disaffection with industrial society, sent the couple wandering both together and alone around Europe, looking for a place to alight. Later emigrated to America in the mid-1920s, via Ceylon and Australia, and spent 3 years in the Southwest, with Taos, New Mexico as his base, testing out various life modes first hand, but always leading with his head rather than his heart. Highly attracted to Amerindian mysteries and rites. Visited Mexico, where he became fascinated by the Aztecs, seeing in them the possibilities of a utopia that he had always searched for, then illness forced him to return to England and Italy, where he wrote his most controversial work in 1928 on a dare, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, while his wife claimed he was impotent. Employed an excellent use of metaphor in all his works, as well as great insight into sexual dynamics, although largely a befuddled social thinker. An adept letter writer, as well as poet, with an intoxicating sense of language. Produced more works while living in Europe, summing up his nature-oriented philosophy in his final book, Apocalypse, before finally succumbing to tuberculosis in his mid-40s, after struggling with the disease a good deal of his life. His ashes were buried in a shrine in Taos. Inner: Alternately charming and tortured, as well as courageous enough to explore the hidden worlds of emotion and sexuality. His host of unresolved conflicts were inherited from his underground father and idealized mother, never finding the middle-ground they represented. Rebel-without-a-pause lifetime of searching for and never finding the inner or outer utopian ideal that he felt would make him whole. qStendahl (Marie-Henri Beyle) (1783-1842) - French writer. Outer: Son of a well-to-do lawyer. Idolized his mother who died in childbirth when he was 7, disliked his father and despised his bourgeois city of birth, Grenoble, his entire life. Had a violent tempestuous personality as a child. Educated at home by a tyrannical Jesuit priest, then escaped his unhappy household through academic brilliance. Short, stocky and snub-nosed. An ardent republican, with his views shaped by the French Revolution, whose excesses he witnessed as a child. Suffered a complete collapse in Paris, and refused to take his entrance exams in a fit of despair. Helped by prosperous relatives, he was finally commissioned as an officer, serving as an aide-de-camp during Napoleon’s campaigns over a 14 year span, which he always viewed as his golden period. Idolized the latter, while holding a strong antipathy to the Church. While stationed in Milan, he let his libido loose. Returned to Paris in 1802, and decided on a literary career, although he became sidetracked through his continuous amatory pursuits. After further adventures, he was made secretary to the Council of State, then went on several diplomatic missions for Napoleon, proving himself to be resourceful and courageous. Retreated to Milan after the fall of Napoleon in 1814. A compulsive journal keeper, while his first few books did not give any indication of the genius to come, nor were they successful. Expelled from Italy in 1821 for revolutionary sympathies, returned to Paris, and began his career as a journalist. Wrote his first novel in his early 40s, and his 2nd novel was his masterwork, The Red and the Black, about the unscrupulous rise and fall of an ambitious egotist, in which he showed his masterful psychological insights. Used over 200 pseudonyms, as symbol, perhaps of the many aspects of his unintegrated character. Spent his last years as consul-general in an Italian port town. Wrote his autobiography and his second masterwork, The Charterhouse of Parma, another rise and fall saga set against a specific social milieu. Suffered a paralytic stroke in his late 50s, returned to Paris, and died the following year after collapsing on the street following a reception. Recognition came after his death. His summary epitaph, which could be used for all his lives, read, “He lived. He wrote. He loved.” Inner: Tempestuous, impulsive and romantic sensualist, with a great psychological insight into the human condition. Held a cynical sense of immorality, but a profound understanding of human feelings. Loved all things Italian. Red and black lifetime of giving play to his ongoing sense of amatory and political adventure, while sharpening his skills of observation and exposition. qJean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) - Swiss/French writer. Outer: Of French Huguenot origin. Family had been in Geneva for 5 generations. Mother died 9 days after his birth, father was a Swiss Calvinist watchmaker and sometime dancing-master. One older brother. His early schooling was by his father, who imbued him with a love of 17th century French romances and a sense of republican virtues. At 10, his sire was forced to leave Geneva, after a fight, while he was left to live with mother’s family, feeling himself an orphan. Served 2 unhappy apprenticeships with a notary and an engraver, finally running away after 5 years with latter. Taken in by a priest, he was sent to Annency and Mme. de Warens (Rebecca De Mornay), who served as his “Maman,” and then Turin to be baptized as a Roman Catholic. Became a lackey, was dismissed for thievery, and took the same position with a comte, before returning to his “Maman.” Studied music, then earned his livelihood by teaching it, and eventually both writing it and copying it, by which he would make his living. Wandered, clerked, gave monthly concerts, and finally became the lover of Mme. de Warens, who was 12 years his senior, although he was supplanted by another, with the 3 living together, until the latter died. Spent an idyllic time with his Maman afterwards, where he first began his serious writing. She, however, would once again take on another lover, in a second menage, which ultimately soured him on the relationship, and he left her. Worked as a tutor, met many prominent literary people, then worked for a year as secretary to the French ambassador in Venice. Returned to Paris in his mid-30s, had a liaison with his former scullery maid, Therese Le Vasseur, that ultimately produced 5 children, although all were sent to a foundling home because he felt they would interfere with his work. Later wrote “Emile,” a guide to child-rearing. Struggled financially, then in 1749 won a prize contest with a discourse against civilization, a position he espoused and then was forced to live up to, becoming the antithesis of culture and refinement. Despite writing with great difficulty, he had a successful opera, then wrote a 2nd discourse, which assailed property as the root of all inequality. Converted in his his 40s from Roman Catholicism back to Calvinism. Gave up people as well, turning to nature as his true religion, while seeing a belief in a moral God as basic to existence. Went to live in Montmorency, wrote 2 novels, the 2nd of which was burned and condemned by the Paris Parliament. His critics were also repelled by his intellectual amorality and anti-religiosity, but the public loved his work. Wrote Social Contract, which lauds the emotions and nature as the true guide to humanity, while advocating popular sovereignty. Forced to flee because of his writings, he alienated numerous hosts in his wanderings and wound up in London, thanks to the efforts of philosopher David Hume (Reinhold Neibuhr), where he was greatly honored. Wrote his famous Confessions in London in his mid-50s, then because of a paranoid feeling of plots against him, left, wandered unhappily in France, and returned to Paris in 1770 to resume his musical career, and finally died of apoplexy, although rumors spread he had committed suicide. Basically conservative in nature, he was still an inspiration to the French revolutionaries who postseded him. Inner: Chronically uneasy, with a fondness for crises. Basically misanthropic, with little real social grace, despite a belief in the innate godliness of humanity. Temperamental, maniacally hypersensitive and insecure. Had an aversion to all visitors, but particularly literary ones, feeling they would write something personal about him. Had a sexual predilection for spanking, although bladder problems effectively ended his libidinous life in his early 40s, necessitating a retreat from people in general. Celebrator of nature, moral truths and individualism, and as such, had a profound influence on later generations. Confessional lifetime of exploring controversial stances to see where they would lead him, as a spiritual sentimentalist disguised as a philosopher. Pius II (Enea Sivio Piccolomini) (1405-1464) - Italian pope. Outer: Oldest of 18 children of a noble family that had seen better days financially. Helped with the family estate, then at 18, entered the Univ. of Siena, where he enjoyed the pleasures of both the mind and body, before becoming a teacher in Siena. Wished to be a monk, although his friends initially disappraised him of that ambition. Studied classics in Florence, before returning to Siena at the behest of relatives to study law. Became secretary to the bishop of Ferma in his mid-20s, before seeking out better-paying employment with a series of bishops, and a cardinal, whom he accompanied on several journeys. Went on a secret mission to Scotland in 1435, where he contracted gout during an icy walk, from which he suffered the rest of his life. Returned to Basel, where he threw himself into the humanistic culture there, while receiving posts from the city council through his oratorical skills. Continued pursuing pleasures of the flesh, while celebrating classical antiquity with friends, and opposing the policies of Eugenius IV (Francois Mitterand). Fathered several illegitimate children and was unapologetic about his loose nature. Remained conflicted about the monastic state because of its demands for purity and celibacy. Nevertheless, he continued to be involved in papal affairs, becoming secretary to the antipope, Felix V. His literary output, which had been considerable, including erotic poetry, led him to being crowned imperial poet by the HRE, Friedrich III (Ernst Zundel). Became secretary in the imperial chancery in Vienna, and ultimately switched allegiance to Eugenius IV in 1445, after long opposing him. Absolved of censures placed on him for his service to the antipope, he underwent a complete transformation of character, and was ordained a subdeacon, using the position to help bring Germany into alliance with papal politics. In 1447, he was given serial bishoprics, while remaining n the service of the HRE, who took full advantage of his diplomatic skills. Made a cardinal in 1456, and succeeded to the papacy two years later, taking on the name of Pius II. Became the only pope ever to pen his autobiography while seated in the Chair of St. Peter. Focused his run of spiritual office on liberating Europe from Turkish incursion, as well as trying to reform the Roman curia and restore monastic discipline to the clergy. Saw Constantinople fall to the Ottomans in 1453, ending the eastern Church’s presence there, while the European powers largely ignored his desire for vengeful crusade. Unable to bring his will to bear over various continental conflicts, as well, and died in the process of trying to lead a group of crusaders eastward. Inner: Multitalented and highly cultured, with a genuine gift for both prose and stirring language. Playful, magnanimous, kindly and liberal. Odd combination of the lusty, the humanistic and the ascetic, with a propensity for radically changing both his mind and allegiances when circumstances seemed to warrant it. Chameleonic lifetime of adjusting and readjusting to whatever situation he found himself in, in order to explore the full depth of his complex character in an ever-changing milieu ultimately colored by deep religious tradition. qChretien de Troyes (1130?-c1190) - French poet. Outer: Little really known of his life. Probably born in Champagne, and frequented the court of its countess. Also probably visited England. His earliest works were imitations of Ovid, an earlier life of his. Best known for his Arthurian romances, which were widely imitated and gave the basis for sophisticated courtly romance, with his subtle characterization, inventiveness and poetic mastery. Wrote in the vernacular for an aristocratic society dominated by women, and was one of the most influential writers of the Middle Ages. Inner: Skilled narrator, highly imaginative, with an innate understanding of courtly love. Chivalric lifetime of exploring the romance of the human condition, while bridging the past with the substance and style to help create a lasting literature for the mid-ages between antiquity and modernity. Lucius Apuleius (c123AZ-?) - Roman philosopher and writer. Outer: Born in Africa and educated at Carthage and Athens, traveled widely in the Mediterranean region, and became interested in religious initiation rites, particularly those associated with the Egyptian goddess Isis. Taught rhetoric in Rome, then returned to Africa to marry a rich widow. In 158, her family accused him of magic in winning her and brought him to court. Wrote his defense, which became the source for his life story, and was acquitted. Returned to Carthage, and lived out his life as a respected philosopher, poet and rhetorician. Best known for The Golden Ass, which he called Metamorphosis, the story of a young man changed into an ass via magic, and his adventures in working his way back to his humanity. The work was in part autobiographical, and served as an invaluable source for ancient mysteries. It is the first complete book of antiquity to survive into the modern age. In part bawdy, voluptuous and horrifying, probably not unlike its author’s mind. Also wrote philosophical treatises on Plato’s notions of demons, gods and men and on Socrates’s (Timothy Leary) beliefs, as well as other works now lost. Inner: Had a mastery of a wide range of styles. Passionate goddess worshipping lifetime of exploring the magic and enchantment of pagandom through creative expression, and in the process, titillating the consciousness of his time, an ongoing occupation of his. Ovid (Publius Ovidus Naso) (43BZ-c17AZ) - Roman poet. Outer: Born in a small village east of Rome to a landowning family of equestrian rank. His last name meant nose, which probably signified an ancestor with a spectacular proboscis. Although not wealthy, his father was well-off enough to give him a solid education, with the thought of his becoming a lawyer. Studied law and rhetoric in Rome, showing a distaste for the former, and a brilliant aptitude for the latter, then completed his education in Athens. Traveled in Sicily and Asia Minor, before settling in Rome. Through his father’s influence, he held minor judicial posts, but had little interest in the law, and even less in politics, preferring poetry and the company of poets to public life. Fell in with Sextus Propertius (James Joyce), using his love poems as his initial model, then soon surpassed him. Won instant celebrity with his erotic verse, which he followed with fictitious love letters written by legendary heroines. In his Art of Love, he gave specific instructions for lovemaking, which caused a sensation, with two volumes geared towards men, and one for women. Had 2 brief early marriages, then a stable relationship with his 3rd wife. Despite his erotica, he was a respectable family man, and became the leading poet of Rome. One daughter from his 2nd marriage. Retold Greek and Roman myths in Metamorphosis, his most enduring work, but became the victim of the emperor Augustus’s (Gerhard Schroeder) last ditch attempt to defray the innate decay of his republic. Charged with irreverence towards the state and its ruler, he was exiled for life in 8AZ to an outpost on the Black Sea for immoral offenses that were never made clear. The emperor’s own grand/daughter Julia (Maria Shriver) had been one of his enthusiastic readers, and had also been exiled at the same time for adultery, in a subtle linkage, proving the deleterious effects of his writings. His last works were poems celebrating the sorrow of exile, although he came to appreciate both the place and the people of his enforced separation from Rome. Denied a certain martyrdom at the end, since he was celebrated by his final city, although his last final outpouring was totally devoid of the wit and the irreverence that had characterized his earlier work. Inner: Prolific and facile. Clever and ambitious mischiefmaker and celebrator of womanhood, with a strong sense of humanity to his writing. Controversy-seeking lifetime of pushing his fame and notoriety as master of the erotic to its limit, through a complete disregard of political consequences, and suffering mightily the last part of his life because of it.


Storyline: The wayfaring siren brings her unusual presence to stage center after earlier playing a famous support role as the partner of genius, in order to bring out her own innate creativity.

Rebecca De Mornay (Rebecca Jane Pearch) (1959) - American actress. Outer: Father was conservative TV talk show host and provocateur, Wally George from whom she was permanently estranged from her teenages onward. Her parents divorced soon after her birth, and her mother remarried when she was 2. Took her name from her stepfather, who died when she was 5. In order to deal with her grief and widowhood, her mother took to compulsive traveling, first to England, then Europe, with stops in Mexico, Jamaica and Bermuda along the way, before she wound up in Austria, along with her half-brother. Fluent in German, as well as French, she went to Summerhill, an alternative school in England then graduated cum laude from a German-speaking high school in the Austrian Alps. 5’5”, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and quite striking. Slipping into a variety of realities from her peripatetic childhood, convinced her that acting would suit her best, a choice her mother had earlier made for her, while she initially resisted it. To that end, she moved back to the U.S. and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles. Despite having had very little experience, with one small role to her credit, she made an auspicious start with Risky Business in 1983, as an entrepreneurial call girl. Involved for two and one/half years afterwards with her costar, Tom Cruise. In between films, she has also done theater work, which she much prefers as a far more fulfilling medium, as well as TV, with recurring roles in several series. In 1989, she married novelist/screenwriter Bruce Wagner, divorced the following year. Became involved with poet, singer and novelist Leonard Cohen, in the early 1990s, to the point of official engagement, although the two never wed. Worked as both a producer and arranger on one of his albums during that period. Hit another cinematic peak in 1993 with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, assaying a sociopathic nanny. Has also tried her hand at scriptwriting and directing on the small screen, although her larger ambition to be a filmmaker have been frustrated. In 1995, she married sportscaster Patrick O’Neal, the son of actor Ryan O’Neal, two daughters from the union. The couple were divorced in 2000. Continues to explore offbeat roles, mostly on TV, in keeping with her own offbeat character, while occasionally grabbing tabloid headlines, thanks to a decidedly nonconformist and free-spirited nature. Inner: Direct, highly articulate, and very much her own woman. Sees herself as a storyteller, and her various endeavors, have all been geared in that direction. Transitional lifetime of finding her center in the risky business of professional show’n’tell, in order to further bring out her own gifts for both emoting and exposition. Frieda Lawrence (Emma Maria Frieda von Richthofen) (1879-1956) - German/American writer and celebrated spouse. Outer: Father was a German baron and an engineer in the Prussian occupying army. Mother was French. Middle of three sisters, and very close to her philandering sire, who demanded high moral standards of others, but not himself. Related to the celebrated WW I flying ace, Manfred von Richtofen (Wally George), who was killed at war’s end. A wild child with little inhibition, she was educated in convent schools. Had thick blonde hair and slightly unbalanced features. Sent to Berlin to get over an infatuation with a Prussian lieutenant, she wound up marrying a stuffy British philologist and professor of languages who was 15 years her senior, thinking his dignity and respactability would rub off on her. Two daughters and a son from the union. Realized her mistake their wedding night, and soon plunged into a series of affairs, including one with Otto Gross, a free-love advocate and psychologist, who fathered a child with her elder sister, causing a rift twixt the two that would last for years. Settled in Nottingham with her husband, and became a translator of German fairy tales, as a means of balancing off her unfulfilling marriage. Met writer D. H. Lawrence (Leonard Cohen), a former student of her husband, in 1912, and quickly kissed her marriage and young children goodby, eloping with him to Germany, under the promise that the two of them would create a new world together, only to see him arrested for being a spy. With her father’s help, the couple escaped to Italy, and then returned to England, where they married at the outset of WW I, following her divorce. Saw herself as his liberator, and went on to influence much of his work, as both a critic and reader. Unable to return to the continent, per their desire, they also found that he was persona non grata in England, thanks to obscenity charges, while her German origins made her equally suspect. As soon as the conflict was over, the two took to traveling again, both together and separately, through Europe, as well as Ceylon and Australia, before settling on a ranch in Taos, New Mexico, which would serve as their base for a three year period. Despite his burgeoning reputation as a writer of civilized eros, in an odd irony, he became impotent, because of his extremely fragile health. The couple moved to Tuscany in Italy, and he died of TB in France in 1930, while getting more and more infuriated at her vitality the sicker he became. Fell apart after his death, and hooked up with Angelo Ravagli, a captain in the Italian army and another father figure for her, whose constant infidelities never seemed to both her, as a direct reflection of her much-beloved sire. The duo did not officially marry until 1950, when he finally was able to divorce his wife. Set up a shrine to Lawrence in Taos, and also wrote her own personal account of their relationship, “Not I, But the Wind.” Her home would serve as an intellectual mecca, while she entertained numerous expatriate Germans there. Worked intermittently on her autobiography, although never completed it. A chain smoker, she developed asthma, but remained vital throughout her life. Finally developed a serious viral infection and a died of a massive stroke on her 77th birthday. Her memoirs were later published posthumously in 1961. Inner: High energy and the embodiment of a host of contradictions, which she recognized, feeling herself full of both faults and graces. Surprisingly inept at practical matters - even using a telephone confused her. Free-spirited lifetime of adventuring in the name of both notoriety and art, while learning to fashion her own incipient skills of self-expression through proximity to genius, in preparation for finally independently launching herself in that realm the next go-round in this series. Francoise-Louise de Warens, Baronne de Warens (Francoise-Louise de la Tour) (1699-1768) - French benefactress and free spirit. Outer: From a Swiss Protestant family that had emigrated to France. In 1714 she married a nobleman and became a baroness. Had the marriage annulled the same year, but kept the title, while emigrating back to Switzerland. In 1726, she converted to Catholicism in order to take advantage of a church pension offer to counteract the growing Protestant movement in and around Geneva, when a clothing business she was trying to inaugurate failed to support her. May have been a spy for the kingdom of Savoy, and a covert Catholic reconverter, as well. Two years later, she met a very young Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Leonard Cohen), who called her Maman, since she was a dozen years his senior. Set up an apartment household with another young man, she called her accountant, and in 1731, Rousseau joined them. Openly separated him from his virginity two years later, and the trio became a menage a trois, until her other lover died a year later. Leased a house in the countryside afterwards, where the two lived in tranquil idyllic harmony, allowing him to begin his serious writing career, before she took on another young lover, a former hairdresser named Wintzenreid, which created numerous tensions between her and Rousseau, and he eventually left in 1737, only to return and unhappily rejoin the new menage, since he felt she still had things to teach him. Continued his writing, but by 1740, he had had quite enough of the arrangement, and left for good. Lived out the rest of her life as a liberated woman of her time, but ultimately died in poverty. Inner: Free-spirited, highly independent, and very much in control of her various relationships. Teacherly lifetime of opening up her longtime inamorata to both the pleasures of the flesh, and the powers of the natural world, in her ongoing self-appointed role as muse to genius, in preparation for her own explorations in the same realm of self-expression.


Storyline: The avant garde voyager traverses the worlds of the flesh, the devil and the spirit with a trickster passport giving him opiated license to pass freely over the dual landscapes of eros and civilization.

nLou Reed (Lewis Alan Reed) (1942-2013) - American singer/songwriter. Outer: Of Jewish descent. Father was an accountant, with whom he had a very dualistic relationship. Older of two with a younger sister. Grew up on Long Island in a middle-class home, while feeling profoundly alienated. Subject to panic attacks, he turned to music as his salvation, and played in a number of bands during high school, with a particular affinity for the street harmony of doo-wop. Older of two with a younger sister. 5’10”, with dark brown hair and eyes. A homophile during an era when it was viewed as a disease, he was given electroshock treatments to “cure” him, although it only managed to dislodge his memory, and alienate him even further. Went to Syracuse Univ., where he majored in English and was encouraged by dissipated poet Delmore Schwartz (Mickey Avalon), while envisioning himself as the Great American Novelist recording artist. Also hosted a late-nite radio program while there, before dropping out, and moving to NYC, where he became an in-house songwriter for a music publishing company. Partnered with Welshman John Cale, which in turn, created his seminal group, the Velvet Underground, a foursome who proved to be one of the most influential subterranean ensembles of the 1960s and early 1970s, despite its fluctuating membership. Subsequently became part of the entourage around artist Andy Warhol, who would serve as another mentor for him. Teamed by the latter with the willowy Nico, a former German model, and the combination produced the highly influential album, “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” which would inspire numerous underground groups in a variety of genres. Briefly became lovers with the self-destructive chanteuse, before disassociating himself from both her and Warhol. The Velvet Underground lost Cale as well, to become more of a quasi-overground crew highlighting the next phase of his songwriting career, as a pop-oriented tunesmith, with lighter lyrics geared towards a far less discriminating audience, causing him to leave it in 1970, and briefly return home to his parents, during which time he took a job with his father’s accounting firm as a part-time typist. In 1971, he released his first solo album, which consisted of re-recordings of unreleased material from his Velvet Underground days, which did little to enhance his reputation. Subsequently became part of England’s glam rock scene, with David Bowie as one of his producers, and his next album, “Transformer,” included his best known song, “Walk on the Wild Side,” a salute to the various sub rosa characters who populated the Warholian universe. Underwent his own transformation from the experience, including a falling out with Bowie, although the duo would later reconcile. Changed his outer image to fascist chic, dying his hair blonde, while becoming a hallucinatory style-setter and an extremely difficult diva with interviewers, fueled in some part by the ingestion of copious opiates, that saw him concerned far more with style than substance. By now, a genuine rock personality, with a strong European following, he released a noise-filled nose-thumber, and tried to remain as unpredictable as possible through the 1970s, at the end of which, he made his movie debut in Paul Simon’s One Trick Pony, playing a shabby record producer. Married Sylvia Morales in 1980, and she would become his muse for the decade, before divorcing him at the end of it. Straightened up and out, to the point where he became an overground spokesman for Honda scooters, a stance that would have been unthinkable for him in years previous. Did more film roles, and also involved himself politically in the various issues of the time. Following Warhol’s death in 1987, he reteamed with John Cale for a tribute album for the late artist, then reunited with the Velvet Underground. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, although he failed to be elected on his own, despite two nominations after the turn of the century. Began collaborating with performance artist Laurie Anderson, both privately and professionally, while also becoming entranced with the works of Edgar Allan Poe (Patti Smith), whose latest incarnation he had appeared with in small NY clubs. Reworked some of the poet’s texts, and entitled a double CD set, “The Raven,” after his most famous poem. A photographer, as well, he released several books of photos, and continued his high profile career deep into middle age, as a lynchpin for various artistic souls in various artistic media, per his longtime standing as champion of avant garde expression. In 2013, he underwent a successful liver transplant, only to die at home several months later from liver dis-ease. Posthumously inducted into the R’n’R Hall of Fame in 2015. Inner: Prickly and highly sensitive, but always open to reinvention and exploring the innovative and experimental in both sound and style. Physically abusive to women, and seen as a monster by many of his associates, per a posthumous biography. Different drummer lifetime of using music as his primary means of expression, after earlier having thoroughly investigated language and art, while retaining the same difficult character in his ongoing exploration of esthetics as humanity’s highest and most noble pursuit, despite his own bruised and decidedly unvelvet social dealings. nGuillaume Apollinaire (Wilhelm Apollinaris de Kostrowitzky) (1880-1918) - Outer: Born illegitimately to an adventurous aristocratic Polish mother and a Swiss-Italian father, who played almost no role in his life. Raised by his gambling mother in Italy, the south of France and Monaco, while pretending to be a Russian prince. Educated at the College Saint-Charles in Monaco, and then schools in Cannes and Nice. Traveled in Germany, and became tutor to a German family there, before basing himself in Paris, initially working at a bank. Began using the name of Guillaume Apollinaire at 21 as his nom de pen. Mixed with avant-garde circles of young artists and writers, had numerous lovers and made himself into a highly original poet, limning life and love and Paris in a similar manner to Charles Baudelaire, an earlier life of his. Wrote satirical and semi-pornographic texts, including one that would be banned in France for the next six decades, and co-founded an art review. After moving to Montparnasse, he became a leading figure in the Cubist and Futurist movements. Briefly imprisoned in 1911 on suspicion of stealing no less than the Mona Lisa, but released after a week. Called for a new spirit in poetry that explored both surprise and wonder, and in 1913, his “Alcools,” a synthesis of traditional forms with modern imagery, established his reputation. Used little or no punctuation in his verse and experimented with pictorial typography. Took out French nationality and volunteered for infantry service in 1914, and reveled in military life, seeing war as a glorious adventure, rising to the rank of lieutenant. Fought on the front and received a severe head wound in 1916 from which he never recovered, was operated on and returned to Paris. Coined the term ‘surrealism,’ in 1917, and established its initial literary icons. Married Jacqueline Kolb and died suddenly afterwards in his apartment during the influenza epidemic that came at the Great War’s end. The intertwining of sexuality and mythos in his works would give them further life throughout the century, and his literary reputation has continued to rise long after his demise. Inner: Highly sexual, erotically obsessive. Deliberately provocative, as well as entertaining. Fascinated by Greco-Latin culture. Dionysian lifetime of re-establishing his social graces after a profoundly alienating earlier existence in this series, pursuing the same themes, as usual, of eros and civilization, and how the two decadently intertwine. nCharles Baudelaire (1821-1867) - French poet and critic. Outer: Mother was 26, father was a distinguished 60 year old civil servant at the time of his birth. Had a happy early childhood, but after the death of his sire and his mother’s remarriage to a general in 1828, he became withdrawn and sullen, and extremely hostile to his stepfather, although continued to adore his mother. The duo opposed his determination to become a poet. Took off on a trip to India in 1841, but left the ship at Mauritius and returned to Paris. Decided to become a freelance writer at the age of 20, and from his early 20s was a regular contributor to a number of journals. Became a member in good standing of the Club des Hashichin, a monthly gathering of like-minded Romantics, including Theophile Gautier (Tom Waits) and Petrus Borel (Neil Young), who consumed hashish and opiates in an attempt to touch on and open up their artistic subconscious. Made a half-hearted suicide attempt in his mid-20s, and pursued excess as his middle-ground, eventually descending into sordid desperation. Was widely read, and an initial supporter of the 1848 revolution, but he quickly grew conservative and maintained that stance in all but his personal life. Identified with Edgar Allen Poe (Patti Smith) and spent many years translating his works. Never married, but had a mulatto mistress for 14 years which managed to alienate him from the Parisian social scene. Always treated her with kindness, even when she became a besotted blight and their relationship deteriorated into agonized unhappiness. Considered most of his contemporary writers as 2nd rate. Addicted to opium, which made prolonged periods of work impossible. Spent much of his time in isolation, not venturing out for weeks on end, and attaining legendary status for his acute critical perceptions and eccentricities. His poetical masterwork was Fleurs du Mal, “Flowers of Evil,’ a meditation on good, evil and desperately desired release, printed in 1857, which resulted in a lawsuit from the state, causing him to suppress a half dozen of his poems, although his enduring fame would ultimately with these works. By 1864, his resources were exhausted and he went to Brussels with the hopes of living as a lecturer. Instead, he squatted in squalor, and was brought back to Paris, suffering from advanced syphilis and hemiplegic paralysis. Finally found his relief from life as a lifelong depressive dying of syphilis in his mother’s arms. Little appreciated during his own time. Inner: Eccentric, extremely developed aesthetic sensibilities, highly rebellious and idiosyncratic. Morbidly self-analytical with a sense of personal damnation and a longing to be released by death. Isolated lifetime of deliberately pursuing his own appointed pathway to literary immortality and achieving it on his own terms to the detriment of both mind and body. nClement Marot (c1496-1544) - French poet. Outer: Son of a mediocre court poet. Became a page to one of the king’s secretaries, and wishing to follow in his father’s footsteps, entered the service of Margaret of Angouleme (Eleanor Roosevelt), sister of King Francois I (David Lloyd-George) in his early 20s. On his father’s death in 1526, he became valet de chambre to Francois. Secretly attracted to the growing Protestant movement, he also began translating Psalms, at Margaret’s urging. Arrested at age 30 for religious apostasy and suspicion of Lutheranism, he spent a brief imprisonment, which served as a literary inspiration for him. Imprisoned again for attacking a prison guard and freeing a prisoner. Wrote a plea to the king and was released. Once again threatened with imprisonment for eating meat on Lent, but spared. His poetic reputation and fame grew, but he was forced to flee to Margaret’s protection during the period of Protestant persecution beginning in 1534. Fled to Italy as persecutions escalated, and spent 2 years in exile there in Ferrara, then Venice. Finally returned in 1539 when the atmosphere abated, and he had made abjurations for his apostasies. Continued his translations of the Psalms, which he published, but was forced to flee to Geneva in 1542. Despite receiving encouragement from John Calvin (Martin Heidigger), he found the environment far too limiting for him, after the unpardonable breach of being caught playing backgammon on Sunday, and he ended his life in exile in Italy. Inner: Strong-willed, feisty, born to the pen as his weapon. Cheerful, affectionate, sincere and refined, essentially a graceful court poet, with a ready wit, and a love for the Latin classics. Revered by contemporary poets, and one of the first French writers to adopt the sonnet form. Rebellious lifetime of being convicted for his religious convictions, while transmuting the turbulence of his times and his self into exemplary poetry without the fleshly experimentation that he would pursue in his next several go-rounds.


Storyline: The subjective subversive gradually builds on his superb mastery of language and tantalizing idea to become a full-fledged philosophe interested in no less than upending the bedrock social and sexual assumptions of his times.

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) - French philosopher. Outer: Son of an eminent surgeon, who wished his son would follow in his profession. Attended a Jesuit school, where he evinced an early aptitude for academics, then, following WW II, he studied under a Marxist philosopher at the Ecole Normale Superieure. Suffered from acute depression during this period, to the point of contemplating suicide, which led to a lifelong fascination with psychology. Matriculated afterwards at the Sorbonne and Univ. of Paris, while joining the French Communist Party in the early 1950s, although was turned off by Stalinist Russia, and left the party, without ever really being an active celebrant. Taught in Sweden, Poland and Germany during the rest of the decade, while feeling ambivalent about his academic career. In the early 1960s, he became involved with Daniel Defert, a radical activist and fellow professor, with whom he would live in a free-form relationship the rest of his life. Followed him to Tunisia, where he taught, and came back to France after the student demonstrations of 1968, to become head of the philosophy department at Vincennes, where he joined students in occupying administration buildings, before being elected to the prestigious College de France in 1970 with a professorship in the his/story of the system of thought. Examined mental illness and society’s exclusionary response to it, which led to a study of penal institutions, and the formulation of theories relating to power and social control. Became an explorer and archaeologist of the unconscious, then genealogist of the same, looking into how power structures shape the boundaries of truth, as his politics became more psychologically oriented. After visiting the U.S. in 1970, he taught at the Univ. of Buffalo, and Berkeley, while mid-decade he took LSD in Death Valley, calling it one of his life’s ultimate experiences. Continued experimenting with mind-altering drugs, and was also concomitantly committed to prison reform, as well as personal and universal transformation. Maintain his exploratory zeal towards life’s conundrums in his controversial works, with an examination of western attitudes towards sexuality, completing 1/2 of a 6 volume look at that subject, The History of Sexuality, with the metaphor of the human body as a political arena. Fused poetic sensibilities with scientific overview. Accused of obliqueness and opaqueness in his work, despite its inventive brilliance. An overt homophile, with an attraction to sadomasochism towards life’s end to complete his sense of liberation from the guilt-binds of his body, thanks to his involvement in San Francisco’s sub rosa sexual culture, during the 1970s and early 1980s. Died of a neurological disorder brought on by AIDS. Inner: Deliberately provocative, and obsessed with power in all its forms, particularly the power of death. Relentlessly erudite, and a prodigious researcher, although felt reason was another form of imprisonment. Also viewed accepted knowledge as a form of power to isolate and condemn deviance. Felt each of his books was a total immersion in the subject matter, as a means of self-exploration. Also thought his/story was always a his/story of the present. Fascinated with confinement and punishment, while trying to transcend every fixed form in order to discover a transformative freedom through language and idea. Monstre sacre lifetime of continuing his longtime exploration of power through unconventional intellectual and sexual stances. Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) - French writer. Outer: Mother was 32 years younger than his father, a peasant who prospered following the French Revolution. Had an unhappy childhood, and was ignored by his parents, making him an indifferent student, despite an acute intelligence. His family moved to Paris in his mid-teens, and he finished his studies there, before enrolling as law student per their wishes. Announced he’d rather be a writer, and was given a tiny subsistence income in hopes he would come to his senses. Lived a hermit-like, highly disciplined, austere existence, although he was forced to do hack work to survive. Both his singular work habits and his sense of slick and sloppy melodrama would affect his later work. Sought out older women as mother/lover figures for encouragement. Fell into debt when the publishing business his mother and patroness both help financed, failed, thereby establishing a lifelong pattern of debts and escaping debtors. In the process, he found more support for his higher literary ambitions, and began producing a rich series of novels that would be the basis for his life’s body of work, the Comedie Humaine or Human Comedy, beginning in 1829. Wrote works in series, dividing them eventually into 3 parts - the study of manners, the study of philosophies or motivations and analytical studies, which were his satires. His desire to portray in literary form a huge swath of society made for odd and obsessive work habits. Rose at midnight, drank coffee incessantly and often worked 16 hour days, continually revising, as well as adding new material. Existed as grandly as he could, incurring debt with abortive business enterprises, despite the enormous popularity of his work. Wrote from both observation and projection, creating his own realities from a combination of 2. Failed twice to gain election to French Academy. Had a decades-long courtship of Eveline Hanska, a married Polish noblewoman, duo eventually married 5 months before his premature death from a body prone to ailment. Had heart trouble, lung inflammation, impaired vision, and died of bronchitis and heart condition. Inner: Ugly and awkward. Short, clumsy, stout, but with a keen wit and lively intelligence. Had an extreme love for things aristocratic, lived like one after he became famous. Far more closely connected to women than men. Human comedy lifetime of reinventing the novel as a mirror of morality, character and life itself, while rising from ordinary circumstances to give him more of a sense of broad-based society. Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire) (1694-1778) - French philosopher and writer. Outer: Father was a notary, mother was of the lesser nobility, and died when her son was 7. Introduced into aristocratic circles through the former, and educated at a Jesuit college. Had a strong interest in both his/story and poetry, and desired a literary career, although studied law, per his sire’s desire. Worked as a secretary to the French ambassador in Holland, and eloped with a French refugee, although his father ended the union, and he was forced to return to France. Composed satirical verse, and took the name Voltaire, a latinized spelling of his name, following the success of his first tragedy, “Oedipe,” in 1718. Forced several times to flee Paris, thanks to a predilection for attacking the government and the Catholic Church, and twice was unjustly imprisoned in the Bastille, which fed into his unquenchable sense of justice. Wrote an epic on the earlier monarch, Henri IV (FDR), which was illegally published. Met the exiled Henry Bolingbroke (Maxwell Beaverbrook), then after offending a young nobleman, he was forced into exile in London in 1726, where he associated with the leading writers of the day, and was greatly influenced by English philosophical thought. Wrote in English, expressed Deist beliefs, as well as an admiration for English religious toleration. Returned to France 3 years later, penned several intellectual tragedies and began formulating a view of his/story where facts are secondary to material and cultural progress. A prodigious coffee-drinker, he consumed over 40 cups a day. Had a long and productive connection with Emilie du Chatelet, an eminent mathematician and linguist in her own right. The 2 often worked together at her estate, where he produced most of his long poems. Elected to the French Academy in his early 50s on the strength of his dramas. After the death of du Chatelet, he proceeded to the court of Friedrich the Great (Michael Milken) in Germany, with whom he had had a decade long correspondence, staying 3 years, until friction with that prickly monarch sent him fleeing to Switzerland. Amassed a huge fortune through shrewd investments and money-lending to the rich. Criticism of the current regime kept him in exile, as he continued his impressive literary and his/storical output. His best remembered work would be Candide, a satire on simplistic optimism, written during this period. In the Swiss town of Ferney, he built a private theater, helped establish a model community, and gathered a large reference library. Continued to display his intellectual virtuosity with 2 more decades of writing there, finally returning to Paris in his final months of life to witness the successful opening of his new play. Died from the excitement of his return, uttering at the end, “I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.” Inner: Extraordinary sense of self-esteem, witty, unabashed materialist and lover of luxury and power. Saw God in totally rational terms, while dismissing the Gospels and the story of Jesus as irrational fabrications, and lumped Jews in with his general distaste for organized religion. Largely a celebrator of himself, as a supreme rationalist. I think, therefore I think I am magnifique lifetime of acting as the literary exemplar of the Enlightenment with both pen and personality. Francois Malherbe (1555-1628) - French poet and literary theorist. Outer: From a noble, albeit modest background. Father was a Protestant, had a Huguenot for a tutor, then studied in Basel and Heidelberg, although he was motivated more by opportunism than religious conviction. Penned poetry, although later destroyed it, feeling it inferior. Entered poetic circles in Aix, and after the death of his protector 5 years later, he returned to Normandy for a decade, where in his mid-20s, he married a widow, 2 children from union, both of whom he outlived. Constantly looking for protectors, and writing poems about the powerful as a sly means of procuring them, although he remained in the civil service until he was 40. Founded a poetic school based on classicism, linguistic precision and purity. Attacked all deviations from his standards, although wrote from the head rather than the heart. Condemned the ornamentation and overly facile writings of the Pleiade poets, and set down rules of versification, which would last some 200 years. Eventually won royal patronage from Henri IV (FDR), and returned to Paris as official court poet in 1605, frequenting aristocratic circles the rest of his life and serving as a severe literary legislator. Wrote little himself, and his pronouncements were mostly oral. Also wrote extremely slowly, in one case, took so long in penning a consolation verse on the death of a notable’s wife, that the latter had already remarried and died when he finished it. Inner: Highly opportunistic, strong sense of self, deeply opinionated. Oral rather than writerly lifetime of self-expression and championing classical values with an acute awareness of his own sense of personal power. Jean de Meung (Chopinel or Clopinel) (c1240-c1305) - French poet. Outer: Probably connected to a noble family, and was clerically educated in Paris in the classics, philosophy and theology. Spent most of his life in the City of Lights, while maintaining a connection with the medieval royal court. Extremely learned, and never shy about showing it in print, he was the author of numerous translations from the Latin, but his fame rests on a continuation of the Romance of the Rose, which persisted in being a highly popular work long after his death. Used its format to foment his own moral and philosophic agenda. The details of his life were largely unrecorded. Inner: Satirist, moralist, wit, intellectual. Franco-foundation lifetime of realizing the power of language, while learning the language of power, and introducing his long-running act to the annals of French literature and thought. Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus) (61-112) - Roman orator and statesman. Outer: Nephew of encyclopediast Pliny the Elder (Thomas Mann), orphaned early and adopted by his uncle. Began practicing law at 18, and gained a reputation as a prosecutor. Became a praetor in 93, and 7 years later a consul, although had a largely unremarkable public career, despite a facility for finances, which allowed him to head the military and senatorial treasuries. An undistinguished poet, a decent orator, and a pithy observer. His lasting fame came from his letters, 10 volumes worth, in which he limned the Roman life of his time, gave advice, and sketched many of the leading figures. Enjoyed hosting gatherings at his holiday villa, where he would sometimes hold sessions that lasted for three days, with himself as the main expositor of his writings. His last post was as provincial governor in Bithynia, where he had been sent to investigate corruption. Inner: Enthusiastic literateur and meticulous microhis/storian. Keen-eyed lifetime of mastering the information of his time, while developing the expository style of observation and subjectivity, for which he would later gain great fame.


Storyline: The swaggering stylist creates his own self-made legend as the very embodiment of the masculine, only to so consume himself in its pursuit that he winds up as empty as the spent shotgun shell that bids him his final farewell to arms.

sErnest Hemingway (1899-1961) - American writer. Outer: Father was a country doctor and outdoorsman who later committed suicide, mother had artistic leanings. Both parents were prudish and conventional. An older sister later said their mother dressed him as a girl, called him Ernestine and tried to raise them as twins, creating a curious he-man, androgynous duality in him. At 6, he demanded his hair be cut and be treated as a boy. Also had three younger sisters and a younger brother who also committed suicide, twenty years after he did, as did a second sister in 1966. Excelled in high school, but chafed at his hometown environs. Got a job as a reporter with the Kansas City Star following his graduation from high school. After repeated rejections from military service because of an eye injury, he served as an ambulance driver during WW I and then in the Italian infantry, where he was wounded and hospitalized. Had a love affair with a nurse who refused to marry him. These indelible experiences eventually resulted in Farewell to Arms. Became a foreign correspondent in Paris for the Toronto Star, and was identified with the expatriate circle that hung around writer Gertrude Stein (Sinead O’Connor). Married Hadley Richardson in his early 20s, one son from the union, which ended in divorce in 1927. His first three volumes, in his mid-20s, attracted attention because of their concise, direct literary style, which would become his trademark. The Sun Also Rises, published in 1926, about a group of expatriates in Spain, established his reputation as a major novelist. Married a second time in 1927 to Pauline Pfeiffer, 2 sons from the union, which ended in divorce in 1940. Emotionally involved with the dynamics of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, he raised money for the Loyalists, while covering it as a correspondent, and later as a novelist in For Whom the Bell Tolls. A heavy drinker and socializer, he had a continual need to prove his manhood. His early success caused him to self-inflate, and then deflate when he could not maintain the same high level for all his fiction. Began signing his letters, “Pappy,” dividing his time between the Florida Keys, where he fished and Utah where he hunted. Got into arguments with and became estranged from old friends, while losing himself in the cult of his own personality. Married writer and journalist Martha Gellhorn in 1940, a competitive union where she characterized him as a “ghastly lover” of the ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am school,’ that also ended in divorce. Bought a farm, Finca Vigia, or “Lookout Farm,” in 1939 outside Havana, Cuba, which served as a counterintelligence base, although his activities were far more fantasy than actuality, and it was eventually closed. A correspondent in WW II, he flew several missions, keeping close to the intense fighting, and participating in the liberation of Paris, before returning to Cuba at war’s end, divorcing and marrying a fourth time in 1946, to Mary Welsh, another journalist. The quality of his work became thinner and thinner as he became more and more engorged by his elephantine image, with only some of his short stories showing his earlier spark. Awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954, well after his important work was done. Left Cuba in 1960, after the revolution that saw Fidel Castro rise to power the previous year, and moved to Idaho. Twice hospitalized at Mayo Clinic for anxiety and depression. Plagued by ill health, and the feeling his faculties were diminishing, he killed himself with a shotgun. The Cuban government eventually turned his home into a museum. Inner: Clever, hedonistic, manic/depressive, and obsessed equally with life and death. Had an enormous capacity for pursuing his own pleasures. Believed writing was work, so he did so standing up. Loved wordplay, and was a good mimic. Extremely funky, cared little for personal hygiene. Highly self-involved, extremely macho, and an out-and-out war lover, while his contradictory traits often canceled one another, thanks to a fascination with androgyny, as well. Chest-thumping lifetime of creating himself as a public myth of machismo, and then dealing with the emptiness within, which belied it. sMarie Joseph Eugene Sue (1804-1857) - French writer. Outer: Son of a surgeon, who distinguished himself under the Emperor Napoleon. Pursued a medical career, serving as a surgeon in the Navy until his father’s death, which left him with a large enough inheritance to pursue his avocation of writing fulltime in 1829. His naval experiences formed the gist of his first novels, as well as a his/story of the French Navy. Hailed as a French James Fenimore Cooper (John Steinbeck) for his early works, which limned the sea-worlds of sailors and pirates. His next works played into the tastes of the haute-monde, and he was viewed as a highly fashionable writer. After losing his fortune and being betrayed by a mistress, as well as other misfortunes, he separated from the world of high society and went to Sologne to begin the 3rd phase of his writing career, social novels, begun in his late 30s, from which he gained his greatest success. His Mysteries of Paris limned the underworld and slums of that city. The book had a huge shock appeal, and was imitated by other writers in cities all over the world. His next work, The Wandering Jew was even more popular, and he spent the rest of his life as a prolific and highly popular author. Elected to the French Assembly as a representative of the Seine district in 1850, but was exiled a year later as a result of his protest against the coup staged by Napoleon III (Darryl F. Zanuck). Although he considered himself a serious writer, his gaudy descriptions and declamatory style were much more geared for popular tastes than civilization’s lasting library. Inner: Macho, strongly anti-clerical, with the ability to gauge popular literary tastes. More the exuberant sensationalist than the stylist, with a tendency towards the grandiose and the melodramatic in his storytelling. Swaggering sailor lifetime of up-and-down adventures and steady popular acclaim, so as not to stretch his skills of exposition beyond the ordinary. Marc-Antoine Gerard, Sieur de Saint-Amant (1594-1661) - French poet and soldier. Outer: Father was a Protestant merchant, shipowner and corsair. Received training in languages, music and painting. Had an upper middle class upbringing, and lived under the protection of a French duc, in Brittany and Paris. Frequented literary circles, as courtier, poet and libertine, while pursuing the unholy trinity of medieval manhood, fighting, feasting and fornicating. His sire died when he was 30, and he was given the title deed to a glassworks, but did not gain possession for nearly a decade and a half after a lengthy trial, allowing him to become an equerry and titled gentleman. Highly social, he made a name for himself as a drinker, debaucher and versifying declaimer. Fought in numerous campaigns in France, as well as in Spain and England. In 1633, he accompanied a marshal to Rome to petition the pope and wrote Rome Ridicule about the journey. Became one of the first members of the French Academy on his return. Traveled widely in middle age, continuing his fighting, writing and adventuring. Taken prisoner briefly by the Spanish, then let go, he visited the Scandinavian countries and eventually came back to France, spending his last decade between his home environs of Rouen and Paris, writing poetry. Left a legacy of well wrought verse, full of burlesques but also quite realistic in its depiction of nature and foreign customs. Inner: Adventurous, observant, ambitious. Hairy-chested lifetime of giving fully play to his macho athleticism, as well as his macho aesthetic, creating a lively balance twixt the two, in what was probably a perfect age for him. Benedict XII (Jacques Fournier) (?-1342) - French pope. Outer: Father was a miller. Large, with a loud voice, and a plebian aspect, per his modest upbringing. Became a Cistercian monk and later received his doctorate of theology from the Univ. of Paris. Made an abbot in 1311, succeeding an uncle, and showed an excellent sense of organization. At the time, the anti-Catharist crusades were at their height, and he evinced special zeal going after them which made him unpopular locally. After recording his activities and depositing them in the Vatican Library, he was made bishop of two French dioceses, before becoming a cardinal in 1327. Seven years later, he was elected on the first ballot by the schismatic cardinals at Avignon to become their 3rd pope, taking on the name Benedict XII. Insisted on probity and economy in his curia, and patronized the poet Petrarch (T.S. Eliot), despite the latter’s satires on him, while running counter to some of the policies of his predecessor, John XXII (Ivan Boesky). Made temporary peace with the Holy Roman Empire, and also the Franciscan Spirituals, who were at odds with Vatican orthodoxy. As a dedicated reformer, he tried to lessen the Church’s bureaucracy and its religious orders through strict measures which engendered much opposition. Most of his reforms were undone by his successors, because of his relatively short eight year term of office. His stances also created many enemies in the political world. Built a costly palace in Avignon and disappointed the Roman Church by not healing the schism twixt it and its French offshoot. The 100 Years War between France and England began during his reign. Largely ineffectual in the political sphere, for which he had little zeal, although maintained his voice in the spiritual realm, engaging in scholastic debates with leading mystics and philosophers of the time. Inner: Calm, honest and conscientious, albeit dour and unbending. Lusty appetite for food and drink, but little taste for diplomacy or dealing with people strictly of the material world. The old man and the See lifetime of being given great spiritual power, and using its intellectual, rather than political elements as a means of expressing himself, in preparation for employing his prolific pen as a means of personal self-discovery and self-glorification in go-rounds to come. Louis III (863-882) - West Frankish king. Outer: Father was Louis II (Cecil B. DeMille). Following the death of their sire in 879, he and his brother agreed to partition their realm, and he received Neustria and Francia. Ceded western Lotharingia to dissident nobles and a rival claimant the following year, and then he and his brother failed to halt a Provencal usurper, while marauding Northmen sacked several of his cities and large monasteries. Scored a decisive victory over them the following year at Saucourt in 881, briefly halting Scandinavian mischief into northern France, but died the following year. Unmarried, he was succeeded by his half-brother Charles III (Lex Barker). Inner: Energetic martial adept, but the fates would allow him only the briefest of reigns. Cup-of-cafe lifetime of tasting the martial aspect of rule, which suited his personality, without having the bothersome political and social complications, which he would deal with later on from the aspect of the pen rather than the sword.


Storyline: The outrageously incorrigible outlaw nakedly lunches on his own psyche in order to bring forth the darkest sentiments possible in his skewering of society-at-large.

dWilliam Burroughs (1914-1997) - American writer. Outer: Paternal grandfather invented the adding machine, and he was named after him. Mother was descended from Confederate General Robert E. Lee (George Marshall). The younger of two brothers, he was educated in private schools, while discovering himself to be homoerotic, which he would not acknowledge until adulthood, despite continually dipping into the demimondaine all along the way. Timid and solitary, he identified with the archetype of the artist as outlaw and adventurer. After getting a BA at Harvard in 1936, he briefly studied medicine in Vienna, and anthropology at Harvard. Lived in a half dozen countries on a small monthly stipend, and began showing signs of instability, most notably by cutting off the joint of a finger to impress a friend. Married Ilse Klapper, a German-Jewish refugee in order to give her entry into the U.S., then divorced her in 1946, although the two would remain friends. Following Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the army, only to find it not to his liking. Through his mother’s manipulations, he was soon discharged, before becoming, successively, an advertising copywriter, exterminator, bartender and private detective during a long period of aimless drifting. Took up with a divorced amphetamine addict, Joan Vollmer Adams, in what would be a common law marriage. Had a son of the same name from the union, who, unsurprisingly, became an alcoholic, drug addict and self-destructive writer of some promise before dying of cirrhosis of the liver in his mid-30s. Settled in New York, and his apartment became a meeting place for the early Beats. Wrote Junkie, a matter-of-fact view of New York’s 1940s drug underworld, under the name of William Lee. Addicted to heroin from 1944 to 1957, while testing the patience of the law with various escapades. Moved to Louisiana, where his home was raided and he fled to Mexico in 1949 to escape police, hoping to stay there long enough for the statute of limitations to obliterate his crime. Two years later, he accidentally killed his wife, while drunkenly trying to shoot a glass off her head with a handgun a la William Tell. Deeply disturbed by the incident, he managed to escape Mexican justice through bribery and fleeing, then found himself at loose ends once again, before pursuing his own homoerotic impulse, living in Morocco, South America and NYC. While in the Amazon, he went in search of the potent vine yage, and was promptly beaten, robbed and briefly jailed, before taking a safer route to it, as part of his never-ending quest for altered consciousness. Best known for Naked Lunch, a howlingly decadent view of the world, written after weaning himself from heroin, which was the last book to be censored by U.S. authorities. Originally published in Paris in 1958. Wrote by talking into a tape recorder and then arranging the pastiches he created for maximum shock value. Continued along the same line for a host of highly imaginative but deliberately obscene works, while appearing occasionally in motion pictures as a grim-faced purveyor of narcotized states. An experimental artist and filmmaker as well, although his real power lay in the assembled word, which excoriated straight consumerist society. Public icon to some, perverted and demonic to others, although an extremely private person. Eventually, he became a conservative Kansan in 1981, living with a longtime companion along with a host of cats and guns. Began keeping diaries towards the end of his life, when he could no longer use the typewriter, and they were ultimately published as Last Words. Died of heart failure. Inner: Morbid, alien, dark witted. Dour exterior, but with a scathing wit beneath it. Rebel, despised conformity and hypocrisy, and loved to detonate minds. Outlaw lifetime of exploring his profound sense of inner distance through alienating experiences, while creating a unique literature out of the combination of the two. dJoris-Karl Huysman (Charles Marie Georges Huysmans) (1848-1907) - French novelist. Outer: Father was a Dutch lithographer and miniaturist who became a French citizen. Mother was French and had been a schoolteacher. His sire died when he was 8, and his mother remarried a Protestant businessman, and had two daughters by her second husband. Profoundly affected by the loss of his progenitor, he felt an outcast in the family, and was denied affection and understanding, although remained closely attached to his mother. Equally alienated at school as a scholarship student, but won his baccalaureate with private tutoring and went to work in a government welfare office at the Ministry of the Interior. Studied law and arts-and-sciences at the Univ. of Paris, but preferred cafe life and casual affairs to schoolwork, and he began writing as a release from his unhappiness. The mistress with whom he was living bore a daughter by someone else, but before he was forced to accept responsibility for them, he was ordered to join the National Guard in 1870. Shunted around the front because of dysentery, he eventually secured a leave from service through a family friend and began working as a clerk for the war ministry, where he would remain for the next three decades plus. Wrote his first book under the Dutch name of Joris Karl Huysman and published it in 1874 at his own expense. After several aborted novels, he published his next work in Belgium to avoid government prosecution for erotic content, although when he tried to take copies back with him, they were confiscated by customs. Won the admiration and appreciation of many French writers for his impressionistic writing. Also wrote scathing art criticism and championed the impressionists. Continued his dreary job as a government functionary, while producing his decadent, sordid view of life at its dingiest in his novels. Became interested in Satanism and the Occult, and felt himself under attack from a dark spirit, for which he took magical precautions. Also had a predilection for the mysteries of orthodox Catholicism, which he inherited from his father. Frequented both Church and low life Paris, before spending some time at a Trappist monastery to regain his conventional faith. Finally resigned from his civil service position and became an oblate of a Benedictine monastery in 1899, but had to return to Paris 2 years later when it was disbanded. Became one of the founders of the Goncourt Academy and at century’s turn, was elected its president. Ravaged by cancer his last years, he suffered dental problems, rheumatism and partial blindness, with an eye affliction that caused him at the end to have his eyelids sewn shut. Eventually died in absolute agony of cancer of the mouth, which he accepted with Christian resignation. Recognized and honored for his literary talent just before he exited. His luminous style influenced many writers, despite his elaborate, mannered, perverse prose. Inner: Pessimistic, decadent and depressive. Extremely alienated with a dual pull towards the pleasures of the flesh and conventional and unconventional spirituality. Deviant lifetime of trying to find some sort of inner balance through writing, between the boredom of conventionality and the decadence of sensation, only to ultimately fall prey to his own unhappy festering flesh. dPierre LaClos (Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderlos de LaClos) (1742-1803) - French writer. Outer: Born into the minor nobility. Entered military service, rising to the rank of captain. Had a child with his mistress, and later married her in a relatively happy union after he had inherited a small income. Played a minor role in the French Revolution, serving as secretary to the Duc d’Orleans. Escaped execution by declaring himself a republican, returned to the army, fought against the Prussians and was made Governor-General of French possessions in India. Before he could take office, however, the government fell and he was arrested, spending a year in prison. Wrote uninspired poetry and treatises, and also invented the shells used at the battle of Valmy. His singular noteworthy literary achievement was Les Liaisons Dangeureuses, written earlier in his early 40s, and a masterpiece of erotic literature. After his release, he returned to the army, and rose to rank of general under Napoleon Bonaparte. Died of dysentery at a military outpost in Italy. Inner: Cold and reserved. Perceptive, quiet, calculating, with an excellent eye for detail. Largely blameless, a moralist at heart, with a gift for psychological analysis and vivid, dry descriptions. Relatively conventional lifetime of a largely undistinguished activity save for one extraordinary dark work of seduction and betrayal, which would give him the impetus to dive into the dark side of himself and his creations in future unhappy but not unmemorable go-rounds in this series. dCharles de Saint-Evremond (1616-1713) - French writer. Outer: Of Norman descent, from a good family. 3rd of 6 surviving sons of a French officer. Initially studied at a Jesuit college, and then prepared for the law. Blue-eyed and handsome, with an easy grace about him. Although a diligent student, he was far more drawn to the military life, and entered service at the age of 16, rising quickly to the rank of captain of cavalry, thanks to his courageous displays in combat, where he was severely wounded in 1645, while continually distinguishing himself in combat. Spent his summers campaigning and his winters in Paris, where he indulged himself in literary circles. His tongue was as quick as his sword, as was his pen, and he made an equal name for himself with his satires, as well as his clever conversation. A dazzling duelist as well, who had a thrust maneuver named after him. Wrote on a wide variety of literary and philosophical subjects, although was less the original thinker, than the accomplished ironist. Entered the service of the king, Louis XIV (Charles de Gaulle) during the Fronde rebellion, and won royal favor, gaining him several posts. Also incurred the wrath of a former admirer, Cardinal Mazarin (Francois Mitterand), when he criticized him, which sent him briefly to the Bastille. Forced to flee the country when a pamphlet further excoriating Mazarin’s moves scandalized the king, and he spent the last four decades of his life in England, where he was extremely well-received. His wit and epicurean tastes were well in keeping with the restored court of Charles II (Peter O’Toole), and his literary criticisms bore some weight in his adopted country, once they were translated. Enjoyed his status, as well as his highborn company, although he declined an invitation from Louis to return in 1689, and instead remained where he was through three successive reigns, and ultimately was buried in Westminster Abbey. Kept a menagerie of animals, and had a host of lovers. Ultimately a huge wen appeared on his nose, and he was plagued with urinary problems, due to an ulcer in the bladder. Died at home, and was alert to the very end, just short of becoming a centenarian. His singular original work, a reflection on manners and mentality as an element of his/story, remained unfinished, so that his literary reputation was based on his short critiques and his satirical comedies. Inner: Witty in person as well as on paper, and relatively fearless, with a great love for confrontation, be it intellectual or martial. Never felt the need to master English, while viewing good food and conversation as the zeniths of civilized existence. Probably bisexual, with little use for religion. Libertin lifetime of displaying his scabrous wit and his love of martial life, before returning to dive far deeper into his own darker regions in go-rounds to come, to produce highly memorable testaments to the innate depravity of humanity. dLothair I (941-986) - King of France. Outer: Of Carolingian descent. Son of Louis IV (Henry Miller). Mother was the sister of German HRE Otto I (Mohandes Gandhi). Elected king without opposition following his father’s demise in 954, but was controlled by the magnate, Hugh the Great (Louis B. Mayer), and then after his death in 956, by his uncle Bruno (Edmund Allenby), the archbishop of Cologne, who was also brother of the German king, Otto, and uncle of Hugh Capet (Steven Spielberg), Hugh’s son. Married Ermengarde de Tours, the daughter of the king of Italy. 9 children from the union, including Louis V (Harold Brodkey). Bruno’s concerns were with furthering the aims of his own family, and after the former’s death in 965, his situation deteriorated considerably. Although he enjoyed good relations with Hugh Capet, his small domain was awash in feudal friction. Supported a revolt in Lorraine against Otto II (Orde Wingate), which made that German king give Lower Lorraine to his difficult brother, Charles. Tried to capture Otto’s family in Aachen, but failed and the action invited a reactive raid into France. Another invasion of Lorraine lost him the valuable support of the powerful archbishop of Reims, who threw his considerable weight behind Hugh Capet. Was preparing yet another invasion of Lorraine when he suddenly died. Inner: Ambitious, but devious, overseeing a fractious realm which reflected his own unintegrated interior. Dynasty finishing lifetime of acting as the penultimate banner carrier of the House of Charlemagne, hastening its end with both his weak seed and his inability to make his will manifest in the realm of pure power.


Storyline: The self-obsessed memoirist allows his memory to speak volumes of things past while indulging in his endless fascination with his self-proclaimed genius, in an ongoing neurotic need to out-eccentric everyone else in sight.

zHarold Brodkey (Aaron Roy Weintraub) (1930-1996) - American writer. Outer: Father was an illiterate junkman and semi-professional fighter who claimed to have killed a Ku Klux Klanner to save a black man from being lynched. Mother died when he was 23 months old. After his mother’s death, he stopped walking, talking and eating. Neglected and beaten by his natural progenitor, who sold him for $300 to relatives. Adopted by his sire’s 2nd cousin, and it took 2 years for his adoptive mother to restore him back to health. His subsequent adopted father owned several farms and a small department store at several different times. Psychologically unstable throughout his childhood, thanks to the traumas he suffered. Had a couple of breakdowns when reminded of his mother, despite his affectionate family. Vomited violently on a reunion with his natural father, who subsequently was limited to brief visits. At 9, his adoptive father had a stroke which invalided him; and he died 5 years later, although he molested his son in the interim, just to cap off his gruesome relationship with him. Determined to be a writer from his youth on as a means of self-healing. Extremely intelligent, he entered Harvard Univ. as a pre-med student, but drifted away from science when he saw his adoptive mother would not live long. 6’2”. Graduated from Harvard, and in 1952, eloped with Joanna Brown, a Radcliffe graduate, one daughter from the union, who would become the only editor he trusted. Taught for a year, then returned to NYC. Worked as a page for NBC and then as a researcher, while his short stories began appearing in the New Yorker. Held several positions at NBC, and his first published book of stories won him the Prix de Rome. Divorced in 1962, although the marriage was relatively happy, but happiness restrained him from being totally honest, or so he claimed. Taught at the college level afterwards, and hobnobbed with the rich’n’famous. Began a Proustian novel called, Party of Animals, working on it for decades, so that it would eventually have a life of its own. Completely neurotic about the book, which was thousands of pages of manuscript following the auto-hagiographical adventures of one Wiley Silenowicz. Spent many solitary hours, a la Proust, lying on a couch remembering things past, although disagreed with Proust that memories flood from subtly reliving experiences, like tasting a cookie. Won 2 fellowships and a couple of O. Henry awards. In 1980, he married novelist Ellen Schwamm, a fellow adorer of him. Bi-sexual and HIV positive, from his earlier relations with men, although a physical fitness buff, working out regularly. A staff writer at the New Yorker and a teacher at Cornell and CCNY, as well as the purveyor of a powerful literary reputation based partly on promise of things to come. His final book was This Wild Darkness - The Story of My Death, written after he learned he had contracted AIDS. Throughout his final illness his wife was fiercely supportive til end. Died of AIDS in his NYC apartment. Inner: Self-obsessed and self-worshipful to an extreme, with an abiding interest in literary honesty. Called the American Proust. Angry and aloofly combative. Ego a go go lifetime of thoroughly immersing himself in his own exaggerated sense of self, while nurturing the notion of his own literary genius. zMarcel Proust (1871-1922) - French writer. Outer: Parents were wealthy bourgeoisie. Mother was Jewish, father was a doctor who pronounced him weak-willed. Extremely attached to the former, with a morbid need for affection. One brother. Baptised a Catholic. Asthmatic from early childhood, and afflicted with chronic insomnia, he was totally dependent on his mother, using his illness to perpetuate the dependency. Educated at Lycee Condorcet, where his school friends made fun of his affectations and social sycophancy, did brief military service, then studied law and political science, but his frail health precluded him from following a profession. Instead, he mingled with Parisian high society, and nursed his neuroses, which came largely from repressing his attraction to men. His first 35 years were spent in pursuit of a largely frivolous social existence, although his extreme esthetic sensibilities were always apparent in his sporadic stories and contributions to literary journals. Slept until late afternoon, ate and wrote at night, while demanding absolute quiet during the day from both his family and servants. The death of his father, then that of his mother in 1905, finally prompted his literary career in an attempt to keep the past alive. It also allowed him to pursue his homophile tendencies, although they remained veiled in his books. Remembrance of Things Past, a series of minutely-realized autobiographical novels, were composed over the rest of life, while lying semi-invalided in bed, in a fumigated cork-lined room to dim all outside noise with the shades drawn. Used stimulants and depressants to write and then fall asleep. Spent his last 14 years sleeping all day and writing feverishly all night, although never finished volumes six and seven. The work would wind up as the longest novel ever writ, some 1.4 million words. Died of pneumonia. Inner: Self-obsessed, with a strong feeling of being an outsider. Charming and witty during his earlier social phase, with a great need to be accepted by aristocratic society. Saw jealousy as inseparable from love, and felt the past never leaves us. Time and death were 2 of his abiding themes. Weak and frivolous externally, but an obsessive, dedicated artist on the interior. Self-worshiping lifetime of meticulously recording the past in order to recapture it and imbue it with meaning, as well as better understand himself, while giving play to his unabated eccentricities. zSebastian Chamfort (Nicolas-Sebastien Roch) (c1741-1794) - French writer and moral philosopher. Outer: Purposefully obscured his origins. Probably was the illegitimate offspring of a noblewoman and a canon, who gave him up at birth to a relative, in place of an infant who had died. Baptised with the name of the dead infant and given his identity. His foster mother, a grocer’s wife, worked for the relatives of his real mother. Learned his true identity when he was 7 or 8. Sent off to a seminary in Paris to be educated for the priesthood, but rejected it, and wound up at the College des Grassins. Handsome and glib, he won attention as a brilliant conversationalist, and supported himself by teaching and doing hack work, while largely living hand-to-mouth, on the sheer basis of his personality. Added ‘de Chamfort,’ to his name at 21. His first literary success was a comedy in 1761, and by the end of the decade, he had established a reputation, although illness curtailed further work, as he fell to a mysterious disfiguring disease, which destroyed his looks. At the same time, he was forced to suffer the slings and arrows of literary jealousies. A friend gave him a pension, which allowed him to recover at a spa, where he met a duchess, who introduced him to the court. A subsequent tragedy, performed in front of the king, brought him a further pension from the royal family, in 1776, as well as the position of secretary to the king’s cousin. Grew bored with the role after a year, and married Marthe Buffon, a 48 year old witty widow, who would be the one true love of his life, but she suddenly died within 6 months. Lived in Holland with another woman, before returning to France, and in 1781, he was elected to the French Academy. Became secretary to the king’s sister, and was once more involved with the court, before quitting it for good after another unfortunate love affair. Initially active in the French Revolution, as a fanatic republican, he became a street orator, and was one of the first to enter the Bastille, after it was stormed in 1789. For the next two years, he was secretary of the radical Jacobin club, although he became critical of its excesses. Arrested and released, he was told he would not be taken again but was. Attempted suicide by locking himself in his office and shooting himself in the face. His pistol, however, malfunctioned, and he shot off part of his nose and his jaw, while blowing out his right eye, with the bullet lodging in his head. Grabbing a paper cutter, he repeatedly stabbed his chest, only to botch his death once again, and he wound up lingering into the next year, suffering in most excruciating fashion, until finally finding his release in his small apartment. Most of his writings were on little slips of paper tossed into boxes which were discovered after his death. Inner: Witty ironist, with acute critical sensibilities. Figure of marked dualities, republican in sentiments, aristocratic in tastes. Self-inventing lifetime of dealing with his dualities and a self-poisoning inability to integrate them. zJean Chapelain (1595-1674) - French poet and critic. Outer: His well-to-do parents were extremely supportive of his early literary aims, providing him with an excellent education in both classics and contemporary European literature. A witty and learned conversationalist, he worked his way into the highest circles of cultured French society, and earned the patronage of the powerful minister Armand Richelieu (Henry Kissinger). In 1632, he became secretary to Louis XIII (Cecil B. DeMille). Helped found the French Academy, and exerted considerable influence on its membership, by giving the king a list of nominees, with characterizations of each. A pedantic and unimaginative critic, although sound in his judgments, which gave him a basis for later literary criticism. Spent more than 25 years on an epic poem on St. Jeanne d’Arc (Petra Kelly), which was eagerly awaited. When the first 12 cantos were finally published, they proved a great disappointment. Became the subject of cruel satires, and much criticism for his lofty, albeit mediocre, literary stance. Never married, although was generously supported by patrons, eventually dying a wealthy man. Inner: Loyal, well-liked, but unable to match his literary abilities with his intellectuality. Superficial lifetime of social success, but failed literary ambitions, causing him to reverse his priorities as this series of lives has progressed. zLouis V (967-987) - King of France. Known as “Louis the Do-Nothing.” Outer: Son of French king Lothair I (William Burroughs). Mother was the daughter of the King of Italy. Crowned in 969, while his father was still alive, but showed little inclination to rule, preferring to pursue his own pleasures. Married Adelaide d’Anjou, the widow of an Aquitaine count soon afterwards, and added King of Aquitaine to his royal titles, no children from union, since his wife who soon fled his house. His capricious actions and his rejection of his wife, brought the disapproval of his nobles. Became sole king on his father’s death in 986, but continued his flighty ways, and ignored the advice of his mother and the counsel of his chief adviser, the archbishop of Reims, who wanted him to seek alliance with the German king, Otto III (T.E. Lawrence). Just as he was about to have the archbishop tried for treason, he was killed in a hunting accident, which may have been an assassination. Also may have been poisoned by his mother. Succeeded by Hugh Capet (Steven Spielberg), who inaugurated the Capetian line on the throne of France. Last of the Carolingian kings, ending the dynastic line of Charlemagne (Napoleon Bonaparte). Inner: Pleasure-loving and irresponsible, as well as unwilling to be told what to do. Dynasty finishing lifetime of trying to assert his royal authority, after having earlier been a weak puppet of his mother, only to become the weak seed of his largely inglorious line of fighting crypto-writers and inadvertantly initiating the rise of the House of Capet on the French throne, while exhibiting all the self-absorbed characteristics that would later mark his various lives of the pen.


Storyline: The surrealist theorist enters the world of dreams full force, after experiencing the effects of the derangement of war, and becomes a champion of the irrational, in a deliberate break with his precious past, in order to liberate the world’s mind in the midst of the madness of the 20th century.

jAndre Breton (1896-1966) - French writer. Outer: From a petit-bourgeoise background. Mother was pious, stern and eagerly upward mobile, father was a shopkeeper and an undemonstrative atheist. Grew up in a dreary industrial town on the Brittany coast, and had little to say of his unhappy childhood, although won first prize every year in grade school. Entered a Paris lycee in 1907, which opened him up to the larger world of literature and ideas and he published his first poems in his mid-teens, while opting for an anti-cerebral stance, in an unconscious breakaway from his previous hidden past. His subsequent celebration of the darkness of the psyche was rewarded by an internship during WW I in a psychiatric hospital, where he was astounded by the creative imagery of the deranged soldiers there. A subsequent fascination with irrationality and dreams ensued, giving birth to the Dadaist and then Surrealist movements, of which he would become a prime force. Along with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault, he founded the review Litterature, as a venue for nihilist writing and in 1924, published the Surrealist Manifesto, in which he championed his own anarchic view of art, with deliberately provocative utterances and performances, and an off-with-their-heads sensibility for anyone who dared stray from his noncomformist party line. Added two more manifestos, in 1930 and 1942. Married in 1934, one daughter from union, later divorced. Pursued a political ambivalence around the Communist Party, with his own dialectic take on the materiality of Marxism and the mental gymnastics of surrealism, which he ultimately found irreconcilable. Showed himself equally noncommittal in his love affairs, preferring waifs, while being a misogynist at heart. Deliberately masked his own softer nature, with an evangelical grandiosity, and was unable to brook any opposition to his ideas and ideals. His written works were less read than quoted, as he lauded the preternatural, while demeaning the realistic as far too mundane to even contemplate, thanks in large part to his own bleak beginnings. Fled France in 1941 to avoid WW II, spending it in NYC, among his fellow artistic refugees. Married a second time in 1945. Showed an increasing interest in occultism, and remained a central figure in the exploration of the esthetic unconscious until his demise. After his death, his three room studio became a research center. Inner: Charismatic, completely self-assured and leonine, with measured and deliberately slow gestures, so as to insure all attention on him. Saw love, in theory at least, as revolutionizing and madness-making. Switched over to his pure male side, after experiencing his softer sensibilities the previous go-round, so as to complete a circle of himself. Showed humor in his writings, although took himself too seriously to ever see the humor in himself. Breakaway lifetime of exploring the power of his own unconscious, while showing an unconscionable aversion to all things ordinary, including the base realities by which most people run their lives. jJules de Goncourt (1830-1870) - French novelist, critic and his/storian. Outer: Grandfather had ennobled the family. Father was a reserve military officer, who had a brilliant career during the Napoleonic years, and died when son was 4. Mother’s family was active in finance and law. Younger brother of Edmond de Goncourt (Louis Aragon), delicate and frail, with a pronounced feminine fragility. Attended the College Bourbon, and like his brother, studied the classics, while pursuing a gentleman’s pathway of leisured creativity. Superior student to his sibling. On their mother’s death in 1848, both brothers were made financially secure to pursue their own artistic interests. Took an artistic walking tour with his sibling, then settled in with him in the same abode for nearly twenty years. Collaborated with him on a novel, reviews, critiques and a series of his/storical studies on art, particularly 18th century drawing, which they collected. Wrote a series of novels, using the theme of destructive women over and over, as well as researching closely all their subject matter, viewing their creative work as his/story that might have been. Both felt that lierature should directly mirror life. Also kept a dual journal, which he penned. Although both formed liaisons, neither ever fell in love, preferring to be observers rather than actively engaged in romantic life. Both brothers would often finish each other’s sentences, and they would combine drafts of their works for the completed result. Eventually became hypersensitive to noise, as his physicality degenerated. Had a softening of the brain, and probably suffered from syphilis, before succumbing to paralysis and bronchial pneumonia, shortly after both brothers had moved into their new home. Inner: Hypochondriac, vain, suspicious, nervous. Imaginative and excitable, with a Latin temperament. Symbiotic lifetime of working with a twin soul, and then departing relatively early, to see how his other half would fare, before each returned separately to become far more active and engaged in the world around them. Johann Jacob Breitinger (1701-1776) - Swiss critic and scholar. Outer: Father was a government official. Studied theology, philology and his/story at the Univ. of Zurich, while also mastering seven languages. Initially wrote scholarly articles in Latin, before penning a critical edition of the Septuaginta, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Worked closely with fellow scholar Johann Jacob Bodmer (Louis Aragon) in an unusual intellectual symbiosis, with each participating directly in the output of the other. The more gifted and serious writer of the two, his contributions showed both a greater clarity and depth of thought than his cohort. Along with others, the duo founded the journal “Discourse der Mahlern” in 1721, which was modeled after its English counterpart, “The Spectator,” and ran for two years. Showed a preference for English rather than French literature, which was counter to the German tastes of the time. Championed imagination in the German literary canon, as well, rather than the imitation of nature, which fed into the cult of the literary genius later in the century. Along with Bodmer, he contributed to the rediscovery of medieval German literature, giving the educated public new eyes through which to read it. In 1731, he was appointed Professor of Hebrew and Greek at the Carolinum Gymnasium in Zurich and four years later he became professor of Greek and canon of the seminary there, holding those positions for the rest of his life, which was largely one of the mind. Inner: Saw the fable as the highest form of literature, since it also taught moral elements. Extremely intellectual, while running against the critical currents of his times. Cerebral partnership lifetime of working in collaboration with his longtime cohort/sibling, to give precursive ballast to the romantic movement to come in the next generation following their active literary lives. Urban V (Guillaume de Grimoard) (1310-1370) - French pope. Outer: From a knightly family, he received his education at Montpellier and Toulouse, before becoming a Benedictine monk, identifying completely with his order, to the point of continuing to wear his habit, even after he became pope. After being ordained, he took courses in theology and canon law at his alma maters, as well as in Paris and Avignon, ultimately receiving a doctorate. Taught canon law at all the schools he studied at, and was considered one of the great canonists of his time. Served as vicar-general of several dioceses, as well as prior, then abbot of Notre-Dame du Pre. Worked closely with the papacy of Innocent VI in a diplomatic capacity for Italian affairs, and in 1361 was appointed as abbot of a Marseilles abbacy. While on a diplomatic mission the following year, he was told he had succeeded his predecessor. Specifically picked because he was not a cardinal, thereby averting any competition or jealousies among the College of Cardinals. His diplomatic skills, coupled with his learning and sagacity made him a logical choice, since his deep spirituality was nicely counterbalanced by a pragmatic nature fully capable of dealing with down-to-Earth problems. Took on the name Urban, since all four of his predecessors had been canonized. A popular choice, he was able to sidestep the French king, Jean II’s (Bernard Baruch) wish that his son wed Joanna I (Katherine Graham), the widowed queen of Naples. Refused to allow Jean to levy a tithe on the clergy to defray an enormous ransom to the English crown, and turned down the king’s request to name four cardinals. Excommunicated the tyrant of Milan, after he failed to appear before him, showing absolutely no fear of the martial powers of earthly rulers. Continually promoted peace in his diplomatic dealings between Italy and France, particularly in light of the mercenaries active in both countries. Founded universities in Krakow and Vienna, while giving strong assistance to his alma maters. Tried to focus the martial energies of various companies on a crusade against the Turks, rather than one another, although failed to do so, with his only recourse as excommunication, as well as calling on the various kings and emperors to rid the continent of them. Because Rome had suffered mightily from the anchoring absence of a pope, he announced in 1366 that he would be returning there, much to the displeasure of the French king and the French cardinals. The following year, he set out for Italy, although the chaotic state of Rome demanded he enter with an army in tow, which he eventually did in the fall of that year, under the escort of several princes. Oversaw the restoration of the basilicas and papal palaces, while the papal treasury was redistributed to the city churches. Restored discipline, by putting much of the city’s unemployed to work. Joined by the HRE Karl IV (Angela Merkel) in Rome the following year, he crowned his empress, in a show of unity between empire and papacy that had been noticeably absent for more than a century. Received the Byzantine emperor, John V Palaeologus (Rajiv Gandhi) the following year, in hopes for help against the Muslims, although in both cases, their empires were shadows of what they had once been. Italy remained riven with revolts, and he found himself longing to return to France. Did so, in the wake of fighting between England and his beloved native land. Barely survived his return before expiring and he was ultimately buried in Marseilles, with miracles purportedly happening around his tomb. His canonization was delayed and never came to pass, making him the first of the Urbans not to achieve sainthood, despite his overwhelming desire for continental peace among the European Christian nations. Inner: Disciplined, scholarly, great patron of learning. Enthusiastic builder and restorer, with his singular defect an overt prejudice towards the needs of hs native country, over the common weal of Christendom. I de jure lifetime of enhancing the intellectual life of western Europe, as a champion of both mind and spirit, constantly looking to uplift and educate in his self-appointed role as continental canon.


Storyline: The idealistic ideologue challenges his roots with the nihilism of art, then challenges his art with the dogma of political theory, while showing both bravery and commitment to all he undertakes, after earlier cocooning himself with his brother in the safer realms of pure intellectual exposition.

jLouis Aragon (1897-1982) - French writer. Outer: From a bourgeois background. His family ran a pension in a fashionable Paris district. An insatiable reader, at 11, he knew he would be a writer. Educated at the Lycee Carnot, then the Univ. of Paris, where he studied medicine. Served briefly in WW I, where he won the Croix de Guerre, while seeing action as an auxiliary doctor. Along with Andre Breton and Philippe Soupault, he founded the review Litterature, which became the bellwether for the French Dadaist movement, which, in turn, gave birth to the Surrealist movement. Published his first collection of poetry the following year, “Fire of Joy,” which excoriated the values of his upbringing. A virtuoso stylist, he combined the marvelous with the everyday in his earlier works. Eventually broke with surrealism after falling in love with the Russian novelist Else Triolet, whom he married in 1929, after she had served as his nurse and a symbol of France for him. Also was one of the many lovers of writer and heiress Nancy Cunard. Had his own surreal take on Soviet Communism, seeing it as a utopic answer to the world’s problems, after visiting the country in 1930. Went to Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, all the while serving the Communist Party, and in 1937 was made editor of its newly created newspaper, Ce Soir. Became a leading advocate of socialist realism, and in five monumental volumes, entitled, The Real World, written between 1934 and 1951, he threaded his characters through his take on Marxist his/story, although he slipped further and further into propaganda, and farther away from literature, the deeper he got into the ongoing work. During the German occupation of France in WW II, he was active in the intellectual end of the resistance, and founded the National Committee of Writers. His wife died in 1970, and he glorified her in autobiographical poems, while coming out as a bisexual. Remained prolific throughout his long life, penning poetry, fiction, art criticism, his/story and journalism. Able to criticize Soviet policy when he disagreed with it, and felt a consistency to his life, in his evolution from anarchic Dadaism to partyline Communism. Remained an active writer until the nearend of his long life. Inner: Elegant, witty and eloquent into old age. Extremely prolific, had a great verve to his use of language, which he saw as a weapon to change the world. Engaged lifetime of rejecting his past and embracing the future as he saw it, while trying to remain consistent to both his ideals and actualities. jEdmond de Goncourt (1822-1896) - French novelist, critic and his/storian. Outer: Family had been ennobled by his grandfather. Father was a reserve military officer who enjoyed a brilliant career under the Emperor Napoleon. Mother’s family was active in finance and law. Older brother of Jules de Goncourt (Andre Breton). His sire died when he was 12. Attended the College Henri IV, studying the classics, showing a distinct preference for modern writers. Had the physicality of a warrior, although sported a high, thin voice. Studied painting for two years, then took up the law, before entering the office of the Treasury. On his mother’s death in 1848, he was able to become a fulltime aesthete. Took an artistic walking tour with his sibling, where both jotted down the details and observations of the trip, setting the documentary pattern for their subsequent literary career, then settled in with him in same abode for most of the the next two decades. Collaborated with his sibling on a novel, reviews, critiques and a series of his/storical studies on art, particularly 18th century drawing, which they collected. Wrote a series of novels, using short, impressionistic disconnected tableaux, written in a mannered style, often employing the language of the art world, as well making up words of their own. In addition, he kept a dual journal with Jules doing the writing. Both took his/story personally, blaming their failures on events outside their control. Although each were periodically involved with women, they reserved their intimate emotional connection for each other. Both brothers would often finish each other’s sentences, working together in incredible tandem both socially and intellectually. Jules died from pneumonia shortly after they moved into their new home. Totally devastated by the loss, he started collecting things to compensate, while friends slowly drew him out. Continued his creative output, using it as a balm against his sense of loss, although without his twin spirit, his later works proved to be lesser efforts. Championed modern art, and awakened a national interest in Japanese painting, although had little use for impressionism, despite his own impressionistic writings. Hosted a salon has last decade, in spite of his social shortcomings. Suffered from dyspepsia and hepatitis, and eventually succumbed to pulmonary congestion, outliving his brother by 26 years. Provided in his will for a Goncourt Academy, which would go on to award a prestigious French literary prize to a young and needy author. Inner: Hypochondriac, vain, suspicious, nervous. Phlegmatic and conventional, with a Germanic spirit. Cerebral lifetime of working in tandem with a twin soul, and then seeing how he would fare over his last quarter of a century without his mirror support, before returning to give voice and action to his far more assertive being, as would his brother, as both moved from their feminine into their masculine sides, in order to do so. Johann Jacob Bodmer (1698-1783) - Swiss critic, publisher and academic. Outer: Father was a Protestant minister. Interested in literature and his/story from early youth onwards. After schooling there, taught theology at the Univ. of Zurich, and also served part time on the Zurich council. In 1719, he continued his studies in non-theological subjects, while meeting lifelong friend Johann Jacob Breitinger (Andre Breton), with whom he would collaborate in an unusual cerebral symbiosis. The duo, along with others, founded the weekly journal “Discouse der Mahlern” in 1721, which was modeled after its English counterpart, “The Spectator,” and lasted two years, while also serving as a touchstone for some of his earliest ideas on German literature. In 1725, he obtained the chair for Helvetian history at the Univ. of Zurich, while also becoming co-owner of a publishing house. Continued publishing essays on German poetry and literature, focusing, like Breitinger, on their imaginative content, rather than the rigid academic standards by which they had been judged in scholarly reviews. Saw process as equally, if not more important than artistic contrivances in the structure and creation of great works, putting him at odds with standard academic views of the time, while making the two of them forerunners of the romantic movement, which would come to early flower in their old age. Both he and Breitinger were enthusiasts of high medieval poetry, although he was less scholarly and not quite as deep a thinker as his compatriot, despite their mutually working together on much of the material they published under their own names. Along with Breitinger, he championed English literature over French in the academic canons, with his prose translation of John Milton’s (John Stott) “Paradise Lost,” an inspiring piece for other German penmen. Not a particularly talented writer, with his own literary and dramatic pieces failing to meet the standards he set for others. Appointed a member of Zurich’s Great Council in 1735, although his focus remained on his academic life. Finally retired his professorship in 1775 and spent his last year on his estate outside of Zurich. Inner: Symbiotic lifetime of close collaboration with longtime sibling/cohort in the service of German literature, while making his own initial forays into creative composition as a neophyte still learning his way around the creative dramatic word. Innocent VI (Etienne Aubert) (c1282-1362) - French pope. Outer: Father was a seigneur, or manor owner, in Limousine province, allowing his son a solid education. Became a professor of civil law at Toulouse, before being appointed chief judge in the city. After taking holy orders, he rose swiftly through the Church hierarchy, becoming a Cardnal-Bishop, and in 1352, a Grand Penitentiary. The same year, he was chosen at a papal enclave to succeed Clement VI (Louis Malle), and took on the name of Innocent VI. Like most of his fellow Avignon popes, he was extremely reform-minded, beginning with reversing some of the excesses of his predecessor, who saw the papacy as a tool to indulge his own great love of luxury and beautiful objects, and thereby transformed the wealth accumulated by his two predecessors into sheer material splendor, rather than using it to facilitate ordinary spiritual matters. Cut his chapel staff, and sold off some of the paintings and jewelry in order to try to stabilize papal finances, which had been stretched beyond repair under Clement. His reforms, however, were met with resistance by many cardinals, who had gotten used to celebrating mammon, and had demanded wide latitude in their behavior in the conclave that had elected him. Refused to be cowed by his cardinalate, and pressed ahead with his reforms, showing a particular zeal against a group known as the Spiritual Franciscans, an extremist order that had earlier been declared heretical because of their opposition to Church wealth. Tried to restore some sense of order in Rome, while the aftermath of the Black Plague continued to ravage Europe. In his own rooms, he sat between two fires in order to keep the air around him pure, and remained unaffected by the rampant dis/ease. Unable to exert any power outside the church realm, other than a treaty between France and England in 1360, which marked the end of the first phase of the 100 Years War. Despite crowning Karl IV (Angela Merkel) as HRE, the former reiterated his predecessor’s position that the election of an imperial candidate did not require papal approval. His Avignon residence remained susceptible to attacks by wandering soldiers because of the ongoing French/English war, which forced him to spend considerable monies on fortifications. Spent his last years in preparation for another crusade which never came about. Although he wanted to move back to the safer confines of Rome, he died before he was able to do so. Inner: Patronized art and letters, while accruing an excellent reputation for justice. Frugal, monkish, strongly reform-minded, but far less effective in the political realm, where his will was often thwarted. Innocence personified lifetime of acting on his higher instincts to affect some change in a corrupt institution, despite resistance aplenty to his good graces and desire for a more peaceful, equitable world.


Storyline: The self-sacrificing stranger takes on the sisyphean task of searching for moral order in an amoral, unkind and absurd universe, while proving to be his own worst nemesis in his ongoing self-designated promethean task of self-discovery and self-abnegation.

zAlbert Camus (1913-1960) - French writer. Outer: From a French Algerian settler family. His father was a farm laborer, who was killed at the first battle of the Marne during WW I when he was one. His mother, who was of Spanish extract, was illiterate and partially deaf. Raised by his maternal grandmother in poverty. An active athlete as a teen, with a love of learning despite his anti-intellectual home environs. Developed TB as a teen, which eventually spread to both lungs, afflicting him the rest of his life, as well as making him a victim of periodic depression. Studied at the Univ. of Algiers, but couldn’t be a teacher because of his physical limitations, and wound up doing odd jobs. Married a morphine addict in 1934, but neither of the two could remain faithful to one another, and it soon ended. Compulsively seductive, he was always looking for connection. Worked as a meteorologist, stockbroker’s agent, civil servant and actor in Algeria with a left-wing theatrical company, the Worker’s Theatre, that he helped form, adapting, directing and acting in plays. Briefly a member of Communist Party, beginning in 1934, while strongly interested in social reform, although left it in 1936, after being denounced as a Trotskyite. Went to Paris as a journalist, and was rejected from the army, because of his TB. In 1940, he married Francine Faure, a pianist and mathematician, twins from union, which he repeatedly violated with his infidelities. Worked for Paris-Soir magazine, moving to Bordeaux after the German occupation of Paris. Wrote his best known works during the war, The Stranger, a paean to alienation, and The Myth of Sisyphus, which further explored his view of the absurdity of life, with its protagonist condemned to forever push a rock up a hill, only to have it roll down to the bottom to start all over again. Joined the French Resistance, and became editor of its periodical Combat, assuming the nom de guerre of ‘Beauchard.’ Resigned from the paper in 1947, when it became a commercial enterprise. In 1949, his TB forced him to live in seclusion for 2 years. By this time, he was recognized as a major literary figure for his concise and lucid style. Saw himself as a humanist, but his absurdist view of humanity labeled him an existentialist, a categorization he detested. Despite his view of the meaningless of the human condition, all his characters in his novels and plays choose rebellion as a means of asserting their humanity. A social activist, he worked for UNESCO, until Spain was accepted by the UN. Also was one of the few leftists who criticized the ham-handed maneuvers of the Soviet Union in crushing rebellions in its satellite states, although was torn over the Algerian War for Independence, since his mother still lived there, which alienated him from his fellow wing-nuts on the left. Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Continually agonized over the political conditions of his time. After a period of writer’s block, and estrangement from the intellectual establishment, he began to resurrect himself. While driving in a sports car with his publisher and the latter’s wife and daughter, however, he slid off a wet road and smashed into a tree, breaking his neck and dying instantly, in a final absurd act of self-sacrifice, since he had earlier opined that the most absurd way to die is in an automobile accident. His publisher also perished along with him. Inner: Intellectual, alienated, a true stranger. Contradictory: pleasure-seeking and ascetic, private and self-protective. Propelled by a trinity of myths - Sisyphus, the eternal struggler, Prometheus, the self-destructive bringer of knowledge, and Nemesis, the antithetical idealist. Etranger in an etrange land lifetime of serving as a humanistic moral conscience for France’s war generations, despite his own antithetical views of the absurdity of the human condition. zJules LaForgue (1860-1887) - French writer. Outer: Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, son of an expatriate teacher, one of 11 children. Family returned to France when he was 6, although his parents went back to Uruguay without the children. The memories of the ocean voyage and exotic childhood stayed with him the rest of his life. A mediocre student, although obviously highly intelligent. His parents returned to France when he was 17, but his mother soon died in childbirth. Finished his schooling in Paris. Worked as a secretary to an art director, wrote articles on artists and read extensively, particularly the romantic poets. Lived meagerly, was well-mannered albeit remote, and saw himself as a mystic pessimist after rejecting Catholicism. After his father died, he became reader to Empress Augusta of Germany. Spent a further 5 years of relative isolation following her traveling court. Became increasingly bitter over his duties, with few close friends. His poetry was linked to the Symbolist school, with bitter ironic overtones. In his late 20s, he resigned his position to marry Leah Lee, an Englishwoman who had tutored him, then returned to Paris. Living in poverty, both he and his wife developed tuberculosis. Opiated and invalided, he died of the disease at 27, his wife following him in death a year later. Inner: Sensitive, alienated and unhappy. Quintessential stranger lifetime of living out the romantic illusion of the alienated artist, who has nowhere to ultimately go but the grave. zAndre Chenier (1762-1794) - French poet. Outer: Born in Constantinople to a French consul-general and a Greek mother. Brought to France at the age of 5. Educated at the College de Navarre and his mother’s salon, which attracted distinguished members of French society. Entered the army at 20, was stationed in France and studied languages, while leading a romantic life. Resigned after 6 months to travel, although was unable to visit his mother’s home in Greece because of his illness. Went to London as a secretary in the French embassy, which he did not enjoy, but returned to France and became heavily involved in revolutionary activities at the outbreak of the French Revolution. Warned of the dangers of political violence and mob rule, he became an outspoken figure against Jacobin excesses. Forced to go into exile after the king’s execution in 1793. Returned to Paris the following year and was arrested and imprisoned. A brother, who was a dramatist, saved him from execution by keeping his name off the lists of those to be brought to trial. His father, however, made an appeal, which brought his name to the attention of the authorities. Tried, condemned and guillotined the day before Maximilien Robespierre (Joseph Stalin) fell and the Reign of Terror ended. Only 2 of his poems were published during his life. His full works were brought out 2 decades later, where they fit the mood of romanticism, and he was hailed as a precursor of that movement, as well as the greatest French poet of the 18th century. Inner: Handsome, romantic, highly political. Learned, passionate, and disciplined. Martyred lifetime of falling absurd victim to the fates, while living out the romantic ideal of lover, politico, poet and early embracer of death. Pius III (Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini) (1439-1503) - Italian pope. Outer: Nephew of future Pope Pius II (Leonard Cohen), via his mother, who was the former’s sister. Despite his relative’s wealth, he grew up destitute, until he was brought into his home, replete with all the privileges it entailed. Studied law in Perugia, and after receiving his canonist doctorate, his uncle appointed him to the archbishopric of Siena, and made him a cardinal. Sent as a legate to the March of Ancona, and showed a maturity beyond his years, as well as a spotless character. Continued to serve the papacy in a variety of legations, including one to the German states, where his knowledge of the language, which he acquired in his uncle’s home, led to a successful mission. Commissioned a library of humanistic texts that had been assembled by his uncle, with Pinturicchio (Georges Braque) doing panels along its walls celebrating the latter’s life. Somehow the books never reached their destination, although the library would remain a testament to High Renaissance art and architecture. During the controversial and highly materialistic pontificates of Sixtus IV (Benito Mussolini) and Alexander VI (Maxim Gorki), he deliberately stayed away from Rome, devoting himself to embellishing Siena, and the family fief there. Spent his days in deep study and prayer, while making himself accessible to his parishioners, so as to both serve and remain deep within himself. Elected to the papacy in 1503, as a compromise between two powerful factions, the Borgias and the della Roveres, and took on the name of Pius III, in honor of his uncle. Already prematurely old and suffering from gout, he was specifically chosen because he was in ill health, and died soon afterwards of an ulcer in his leg, with some suspecting he had been the victim of poisoning, for political reasons. Ultimately buried alongside his uncle. Inner: Modest, studious and goodhearted, taking his vows seriously. Extremely temperate in his habits, consuming an evening meal only once every other day. Graced lifetime of being given easy access to power via family lines and acquitting himself well through his communication skills, while showing a genuinely spiritual nature, only to fall victim at the end to his ongoing predilection for self-destruction, as counterfoil to his far greater gifts for self-expression and creativity. zLucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus) (39-65) - Latin poet. Outer: A native of Cordova and nephew of philosopher and politician, Seneca (George Bernard Shaw). Raised in the center of Rome’s Stoic aristocracy. Attracted the attention of the Roman emperor Nero (Adolf HItler), through his abilities at rhetoric and oratory, and was appointed quaestor, but soon won the jealous enmity of the same unbalanced being, who halted his public readings. Wrote the singular Latin his/storical epic that made no mention of the gods, Bellum civile, about the previous century’s civil wars, which enjoyed great popularity in later Middle Ages, despite being filled with many factual errors. Although his poetics were average, he had great insight into political affairs, and was able to make some of his rhetorical language soar. His hatred of Nero eventually led him into a conspiracy to assassinate the mad emperor, but he was discovered and he was forced to commit suicide by opening a vein. As he died he repeated a passage from one of his poems describing the death of a young soldier. Inner: Insightful, with a strong humanistic and moral sense. Self-sacrificing lifetime of martyrdom at the hands of a tyrant, towards which he consciously contributed through his retributive actions, in his ongoing personal explorations into the absurdist human condition.


Storyline: The revolutionary controversialist loves to shock, while maintaining his own ongoing sense of being an isolated island, which can only be reached by the sexual waves lapping at his shores, as all else melts into the seas of his own determined self-obliteration.

Michel Houellebecq (Michel Thomas) (1956) - French writer. Outer: Parents were hippies who quickly lost interest in their son. Father was a mountain guide and mother was an anesthesiologist. Mother abandoned him to trek across Africa, and he wound up at 6 with his paternal grandmother who was a communist and lived south of Paris, and had no connection with his parents afterwards, later claiming his mother was dead, while she remained very much alive. One younger half-sister. Led a depressed adolescence, became addicted to morphine, and was rejected by the military for it. Graduated from trade school with a degree in agricultural engineering, then married the sister of a classmate in 1980 and divorced soon after, one son from the union. Virtually unemployable, he began drinking heavily, and was in and out of mental institutions because of his ongoing anxiety. Began publishing poetry at the time, and eventually became a software technician in 1991, debugging computers at the French Parlement, where he found his ongoing theme of exploring the workaday world of ordinariness through his extraordinarily alienated sensibilities. Changed his name to his paternal grandfather’s while moving his birthdate up 2 years. His first novel sold through word-of-mouth, but it was The Elementary Particles, in 1998, a highly sexual dystopic view of utopia that made him rich and infamous, and a figure of enormous controversy in France. Entered an open marriage, and became an active swinger, claiming to bed 25 woman a year. Recorded a CD of his poems, and added erotic film director to his curriculum vitae. Moved to Dublin in 1999, and maintains a domicile where all senses are deliberately obliterated, which he further enhances through a nonstop predilection for both tobacco and alcohol. His third novel, Platform, about sex tourism, continued exploring the same misanthropic themes, in the same vulgar, funny and obsessive manner. Garnered a lawsuit for his proclamation, “Islam is the most stupid religion,” while finally realizing a lifelong dream of becoming a mainstream film director with his fourth novel, The Possibility of an Island, a depressive sci-fi look at cloning, for which he received a million euro advance, which further cemented his reputation as the darkest of popular modern day writers. in 2008, his mother, whom he characterized as an “old slut” wrote a bitter memoir in response to the way he had portrayed her, claiming he was nothing but a foul liar. Won the Prix Goncourt in 2010 for “La Carte et La Territoire,” in which a character bearing his name is murdered in 2015. That year, he published “Soumission” or “Submission” in which a charismatic islamic politician becomes president of France in 2022. By coincidence it was published the day of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist assassinations by a pair of Muslim extremists, although the real subject matter of the book is the emptiness of French intellectual life. Inner: Melancholic, pessimistic and a sloppy writer as well as a lugubrious satirist. His sense of being ugly and pathetic, feeds into his profound negativity. Feels free will is a source of great misery for most people, and the 1960s was an anathema of disconnection. Great antipathy to democracy, viewing virtually everything as soul-killing, save for eros. Francophobe at heart and a conservative, perceiving all realities through a mordent unhappy eye. Ennuyé lifetime of finding fame and fortune as merely a source of profound boredom in his belief that modern existence is at heart a profoundly unappetizing experience. Rene Crevel (1900-1935) - French writer. Outer: Mother was austere and rigid, father managed a printery. One of 4 children. Claimed to have been traumatized for life by being circumcised at 3, at his mother’s insistence. Received a strict bourgeois Catholic education, and maintained an adolescence beauty his whole life, while feeling his initial environment was castrating for him. His father committed suicide when he was 14 by hanging, and his mother added to the drama by spewing curses at the dangling body in front of her son. Harbored a lifelong hatred of her, although after her death a decade or so later, he sought out a psychoanalyst to sort out his convoluted feelings about his family. Quite handsome, with a female grace to him. Studied at the Sorbonne, but spent far more time hanging out in artistic circles, than going to classes. Spent 3 years in military service, where he became an enthusiastic supporter of the Surrealist movement, and in 1921 helped found a revue, “Aventure,” with a group of like-minded friends. Published his first novel, Detours, in that mode in 1924. A leftist, although not a communist, he also wrote political tracts and pamphlets. Plumbed his unconscious for his later works, with the emotional upheaval of his early life thematically central to them. Spent time in a sanitarium in 1926 for tuberculosis, although remained an inveterate user of both drugs and alcohol, despite his frail constitution. A homophile, he was also an active participant in the surrealist movement to the end of his life. As he steadily grew weaker from TB, he finally turned on the gas in his apartment, and killed himself at 34, depressed by the homophobia prevalent in the ‘isms’ that interested him. Did not last long enough to allow his talent to mature, leaving 4 novels as his legacy. Inner: Alienated sensualist, unintegrated with his body, while finding the dreamscape of surrealism a perfect outlet for his perfervid imagination. People of extreme sensibilities often operate from opposing stances, in his case going from extreme ugliness to arrested beauty within this series. Sucide-waiting-to-happen lifetime of exploring his interior from an angry arrested viewpoint, only to ultimately self-destruct when he could no longer see beyond his own deep, unhappy wounds. Tristan Corbiere (Edouard-Joachim Corbiere) (1845-1875) - French poet. Outer: Father had been a corsair, writer, journalist newspaper publisher, director of a steamship company, and president of the Chamber of Commerce of Morlaix, who at 50, married an 18 year old. One of three children. Ungainly, stooped and thin, called “ancou “ or ‘spectre of death,’ for his unappetizing appearance. Attended a local school, then continued his education at Nantes, but was forced to drop out at 16 because of rheumatism and palpitations. Spent most of his life in Brittany, and was deeply affected by his sire’s stories of the sea. Adopted the name Tristan to separate his identity from his father’s. Had a half-starved dog which he would parade on a long leash, and, as if he were not ungainly enough, shaved all his hair, including his eyebrows, to give himself an even more unsettling look. Loved to sail, and had his own cutter, Le Negrier. Self-published “Les Amours Jaunes,” in 1873, which gained him little readership. His poems of the seafaring life of his native Brittany, nevertheless, are remarkable for both their irony and realism. Remained obscure until Paul Verlaine (Delmore Schwartz) championed him nine years after his painful death from tuberculosis. Inner: Self-described philosopher, stray and still-born. Biting wit, great passion for the sea, and profoundly alienated. No-man-is-an-island lifetime of looking to the sea to explain his own isolated and roiling emotions, while searching for the beauty of its truths, from an exaggeratedly ugly outer shell. Clement V (Bertrand de Gouth) (c1264-1314) - French pope. Outer: From a noble Gascon family. An older brother became Archbishop of Lyon. Studied the arts at Toulouse and law at Orleans and Bologna, before becoming a canon at Bordeaux, then vicar-general to his sibling, who was made a cardinal bishop of Albano. Became chaplain to Boniface VIII (Pierre Laval), who eventually secured the archbishopric of Bordeaux for him in 1299. Able to maintain his good graces with the French court, even after attending a Roman synod in 1302, and was a compromise choice in 1305, when the Italian cardinals couldn’t select one of their own or a fellow Italian, after a conclave that lasted almost a year. Probably had to agree to certain conditions in order to satisfy his selection, while choosing the name Clement V. Rather than go to Rome for his coronation, he had it in Lyons in an ostentatious ceremony, and showed a clear bias towards France in all he subsequently did. Immediately named nine French cardinals, while altering previous bulls that were inimical to French royal interests. As soon as he was crowned, the French king, Philippe IV (Jerry Brown), began going after the wealth and power of the Knights Templar, an order that had become the premier bankers of the continent, and were beholden to no temporal rulers. In 1307, the Templars were arrested and charged with heresy, blasphemy and amorality in France, and their wealth was confiscated. Seen as a corrupt figure by the king, so that he acted on his own, rather than waiting for papal approval. Summoned a council that was unable to find the Templars guilty of heresy, but the king’s wishes stood, and he abolished the order, although their true wealth in other countries remained hidden. Used his ill health as excuse to continue to reside in France, before the entire papal curia moved to Avignon in 1309, which was an imperial fief held by the French king of Sicily at the time. The move signaled a French/Italian schism that would last seventy years, with a Roman anti-pope and a French pope throughout that period. Stood up for his predecessor Boniface VIII, in a heresy trial sponsored by the crown, and was able to clear his name. Rome suffered under his absence, proving largely ungovernable, while Italy’s ruling families continually had at one another, ultimately causing him to call a crusade against the Venetians. Tried to enlist the Mongols against the Muslims, although nothing came of it, while his manipulations around the German crown also proved fruitless. Sold offices and used oppressive taxation to try to remedy the desperate state of papal finances, despite favoring pomp as a means of displaying his power, even without the moneys to do so. Continued to show favoritism towards his family and France, leaving the papacy in considerable straits, both financial and moral during his nine year run of office. When the Templar grandmaster Jacques de Molay (Joe Biden) was ordered to be burned in 1314, he correctly predicted that both king and pope would follow him to the grave within the year, and true to course he died within a month or so of the execution. Supposedly, while his corpse was lying in state, lightning struck the church where his body was, and it ignited a fire, rendering him in similar manner to the grandmaster of the Knights Templar, as a final personal testament to power used and abused. Inner: Loved pomp and display, while showing an intemperance around any wills that did not bow to his own. Corrupt, nepotistic and manipulative. Myopic lifetime of exercising power purely in pursuit of his own goals, as reflection of his solipsistic go-rounds to come in his pursuit of eccentric literary immortality.



Storyline: The sensual sybarite switches sexes, while maintaining a fascination with self and nature, as an ongoing hedonistic celebrator of life and love, with a genius for language and tale-telling, no matter the gender perspective.

cColette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) (1873-1954) - French writer. Outer: Of secret mixed African descent, which she would later brag about. Mother was a free-thinker and atheist, whose first husband was a madman known as “the Ape.” After his death, she married an amiable captain, whose leg had been amputated after a war wound, and he gradually dissipated the fortune she had inherited from her first mate, while serving as a tax collector. Grew up in village in Burgundy, where her mother instilled within her a deep love for the natural world, particularly plant and animal life, which she came to revere, in what was largely an enchanted childhood. Later made her mother into an endearing character, ‘Sido,’ although ignored her during her later decline and did not attend her funeral. In 1893, she married blocked writer and ghosted music critic Henri Gauthier-Villars, who brought her to Paris and introduced her to bohemian life, while publishing her first four “Claudine” novels under his pen name, Willy, after the turn of the century, which were a semi-autobiographical celebration of her own development as a school girl. Began writing about animals, while turning away from her philandering husband, and the duo were divorced in 1906, although she continued using the pen name Colette Willy until 1916. Became a musical hall performer, often playing in the semi-nude and simulating copulation, while entangling herself with both sexes, including a niece of Napoleon III (Darryl F. Zanuck), which she would also write about. Reputedly danced like an elephant. In 1912, after a decade as an open lesbian, she married a baron, Henri de Jouvenal, a journalist, diplomat and Don Juan, daughter from union, whom she largely rejected, despite being completely possessive of her. Continued penning works in the animist mode until after WW I, when she came into her full maturity as a writer, after which point she was viewed as France’s pre-eminent novelist. Opened a beauty salon, her singular failure, since she based it on her stage experience, creating a grotesque look for her customers. In 1934, she divorced again, when her husband discovered his son was his wife’s lover, and the following year, she married Maurice Goudeket, a Jewish pear merchant ruined by the Depression, who was 16 years her junior, which was her happiest union, although her husband was imprisoned by the Gestapo during WW II. During that time, she contributed to collaborationist journals, and wrote a novel full of anti-Semitic slurs. Explored women as satellites of men in a man’s world, but did so with both humor and charm. Spent her last 5 years increasingly crippled by arthritis, surrounded by her beloved cats, and a virtual prisoner of her body in her apartment, unable to write because she could no longer hold a pen. The first French woman to be accorded a state funeral. Wrote with a musical prose that conveyed her sensuous delight in life and deep appreciation of the natural world, with a boundless vocabulary and a love for shocking the reader’s sensibilities. Inner: Despised feminists, and was remarkably self-absorbed, despite presenting herself otherwise. Continually revised her works, in spite of her reputation as a totally unconscious writer. Completely contradictory, exhibitionistic, vindictive, and earthy. Genuinely besotted with the natural world, far less so with human society. Me, myself and I lifetime of self-celebration, while expanding her extraordinary gifts of the pen. cFrancois Rene de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) - French writer and statesman. Outer: From a family of old Breton nobility. His father was severe, morose and reserved, while his ardently pious mother was quite neglectful, and their son was sickly from birth, looking to wild nature around him as well as literature for his sustenance. The youngest of 6 surviving children, 4 having died at birth. HIs sire had amassed a fortune, and the family home was a feudal fortress. Extremely close with his sister Lucile. 5’4”. Had a fairly shapeless education, including a stint with the Jesuits, before returning home, seeing no future for himself in the Church. Attempted to shoot himself, before his father procured a commission for him as a 2nd lieutenant. Presented at court, and later witnessed the outbreak of the French Revolution in Paris, over which he was divided as a Royalist, but also a non-violent Rousseauvian. His regiment disbanded, while his impartial stance pleased neither his reactionary family, nor his more liberal cohorts. Left for America in 1791, as an émigré aristocrat, to discover the Northwest Passage, a predominating romantic quest of the time, although he spent most of his time in the northeast, finding his own passage in his own talents for exposition, which was inspired by the virgin landscapes of the New World, as well as the writings of others. Returned to France at the news of the arrest of the king, and in his mid-20s, he married Celeste Buisson de Lavigne, an ill-tempered teenage heiress, who put up with his many mistresses and affairs, and he, in his peculiar way, remained emotionally loyal to her, but could not abide domesticity. Joined the emigre army in the Rhineland, was wounded, then rescued and lived in exile and penury in London for the last 7 years of the century, publishing his first book during this time. His family suffered great losses in the Revolution, with his brother dying on the scaffold, his wife and sisters imprisoned, and one dying soon after, and his mother perishing as well. The losses and privation subsequently turned him towards Christianity as a solace. Returned to France at the beginning of the 19th century, and established himself as its leading writer through Rene and Atala his romances of savage America, via the help of saloniste, Pauline de Beaumont. Initiated the romantic movement in France, and his works, particularly The Genius of Christianity, exerted a strong influence thereafter, thanks to the emperor Napoleon’s resuscitation of Catholicism after its denigration by the Revolution. Began his diplomatic career under Napoleon, as an attache to the French legation in Rome, where Pauline de Beaumont followed him, only to die there, but his rebelliousness soon came to the fore and he was recalled. Resigned his post over the murder of the Duke of Enghien (Pierre Laval) and soon became a bitter anti-Bonapartist, comparing him to the Emperor Nero (Adolf Hitler). Traveled in Greece, the Near East and Spain for the next several years, and at the fall of Napoleon and restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, he was made a peer of France. Served as ambassador to Prussia and Great Britain and represented France at the Congress of Verona, resigning his offices through principle, a liberal trying to serve a reactionary regime. After 2 more brief political appointments, he retired from politics and wrote his extraordinary memoirs, which he had spent the great part of his life working on and which were published posthumously at his request. Partially paralyzed at life’s end, he died exhausted and out-of-sorts with both the world and himself. Inner: Vain and egotistical, with a sure feel for language as a bridge between classical and pre-modern times. Romantic idealist, man of both action and expression, integrating the two quite handsomely. Master stylist of the exotic, poseur and daydreamer, but with the convictions of his courage, no matter the consequence. Grandiose lifetime of exploring the tensions of liberty and discipline, progress and tradition, and the future and the past through an amazing sensibility that made poetry of his prose. cPierre de Brantome (Pierre de Bourdeille, Seigneur de Brantome) (c1540-1614) - French his/storian and biographer. Outer: Son of a baron, both mother and grandmother were attached to the court of Marguerite de Valois (Maria Shriver). Served as a page, acquiring an intimate knowledge of the colorful Valois court. Educated in Paris and Poitiers, and inherited his title on the death of his brother. Became a soldier and gentleman adventurer, traveling widely and royally, before fighting in the Huguenot wars. Angered by not being made governor of Perigord, he planned to enter the service of Spain, but an accidental fall from a horse in his mid-40s, invalided him and forced him into a literary career. His roles as courtier, soldier and traveler, and a life that spanned the reigns of 6 kings, made him an ideal his/storian. Despite a loose grasp of facts, he produced a lively, uncritical series of biographies of some of the notable personalities of his time, which were not published until a half-century after his death. Spent his last years on his estate, both writing and engaging in a number of lawsuits with his neighbors. Inner: Haughty, arrogant, elegant and fastidious. Dual lifetime of bridging the persona of the man of action with the man of description, and becoming in the process, the most gifted chronicler of his epoch.


Storyline: The unhappy hermit creates worlds within worlds within himself to compensate for his disaffection from his ongoing surroundings and difficulties of the heart, while searching for fame as a balm to his wounded, but wordy psyche.

cWilliam Faulkner (1897-1962) - American author. Outer: From a genteel Southern family that had played a significant role in the his/story of Mississippi. Father was a railroad worker and businessman whose earlier ventures were failures until he became a business manager of the state university. Largely self-educated, dropped out of high school. Taught himself to read French in his wide reading. Worked in a bank, then after a disappointing love affair, was rejected from the U.S. Army, before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force by forging a letter and faking an accent, but saw no action as WW I abruptly ended. Briefly went to the Univ. of Mississippi, held several jobs, including postmaster, and began writing novels. Called ‘Count No Count,’ for his dandified look and lack of a stable occupation. Supported himself with odd jobs, the last being a deck-hand on a freighter, before becoming a fulltime writer in his late 20s. Best known for his 15 novel cycle about imaginative Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi, chronicling various families and characters that represent the changing and eternal South, including The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. In his early 30s, he married Estelle Oldham Franklin, who had earlier rejected him, and whose subsequent marriage had failed. 2 daughters from the union,, one died when she was 2, and 2 stepchildren. Took a long time before he was recognized, although was always a popular author in France, through translations. Went to Hollywood in his mid-30s to write movies, had an 18 year affair with a script girl, but hated the place and returned home. Wasn’t fully recognized until “The Portable Faulkner” came out in 1946, anthologizing some of his work. Traveled widely after finally earning the fame he felt he deserved, while maintaining his base in Mississippi. Won the Nobel prize for Literature in his mid-50s, and gave a stirring acceptance speech. Wrote about the continuous presence of the past in the present, elegizing the old South and its agrarian individualism, although never sentimentalized it. Skilled recorder, with a penetrating psychological insight into his wide variety of characters. More and more solitary as he grew older, with a bottle of liquor as his increasingly favorite company. Died of coronary thrombosis. Acknowledged a novelistic master, and left a literary legacy of endurance. Inner: Not particularly social, but with a strong desire to be lionized. “Fated,” and “doomed,” which were 2 of his favorite literary words, also applied to his own sense of self. Seemingly whole worlds resided within him and he had the ability to make them come alive. Loosening-up lifetime of slackening his need for self-control, through the ingestion of alcoholic spirits, and maintaining his own vision and sense of language, in a successful attempt to finally win the outer recognition he had so long sought, without coming to grips with his longterm alienated inner self. cGustav Flaubert (1821-1880) - French novelist. Outer: Mother was the daughter of a surgeon, who controlled her son with a sense of martyrdom and emotional manipulation, father was also a surgeon. His older brother became a doctor, while his younger sister, to whom he was devoted, died young and left a daughter that both he and his mother raised. Couldn’t read until he was 7, but loved to listen to a neighbor’s stories of Don Quixote, the idealistic tilter of windmills. Began writing plays as a schoolboy, and at 14 fell madly in love with a matron, the wife of a music publisher, and never got over an adolescent sense of ideal love, while maintaining a platonic relationship with her and using her as a character in several novels. Studied law unenthusiastically and failed his exams, during which time he was afflicted with a disease similar to epilepsy - probably nervous hysteria - which made active life impossible and put him on his preferred literary pathway. Returned to his family home at Croisset, where he would live the rest of his life with his mother, until her death in 1872. Bearish and old by the time he was 30. Never married, thanks to his distorted view of women through his mother’s ministrations, although had a long correspondent affair with poet Louise Colet (Anais Nin), which ended in quarrels and her skewering him in a novel. Preferred prostitutes to intimacies. Generous with his friends and supportive of other writers. Traveled often, most notably a 2 year trip to the Middle East, which produced several works. Had many literary friends, from wintering in Paris. His best known novel was Madame Bovary, published in 1857, the tale of an unbalanced romantic woman and her doomed search for love, which was condemned as pornographic and censured. In a subsequent trial, he was acquitted along with his publisher, but the fame of the book overshadowed all his other work, much to his chagrin. As a writer, he was always searching for the right word, as well as the right symbol, although his tendency towards burlesque and satire made his larger body of work uneven. Often wrote in his letters of suicidal impulses and a distaste for life. Almost ruined himself financially through speculations 5 years before his death, although managed to hold onto his estate. Lived his last few years totally alone, and was looked upon as an eccentric by his neighbors. Died suddenly of apoplexy. Inner: Depressive and often in a state of nervous apprehension. Jovial, loyal and generous with his friends, albeit withdrawn with strangers. Embittered idealist, cynical and sardonic as he grew older. Loved reading aloud and listening to the sound of his own voice. Loathed bourgeois reality, and yet was part of it. Suffered much disappointment over his career, despite its success. Saw writing as scientific, impersonal and objective, and restrained the exuberant, romantic side of his nature in his meticulous approach to his craft, spending days on end on a single page. Hermetic lifetime of an unintegrated sense of self with his surroundings, using literature as the salve for his embittered sense of personal isolation, while burying his more romantic side in his pursuit of literary perfection. cAbbe Prevost (Antoine Francois Prevost d’Exiles) (1697-1763) - French novelist and abbe. Outer: From a family of lawyers. Father was the king’s prosecuting attorney. Went to Jesuit school, then to the College d’Harcourt and La Fleche in Paris in order to prepare for an ecclesiastical career. Abandoned his studies and joined the army as a private, but deserted, went back to the Jesuits, then rejoined the army as an officer, and spent 4 or 5 years leading an adventurous and dissipated life. After an unhappy love affair at 22, he became a Benedictine monk. Ordained in 1726, he was a successful preacher and teacher, while also writing profane, somewhat scandalous novels, although was unfitted for that life. Asked the pope to be transferred to a more liberal monastery, then departed before receiving an answer, and had to flee to England to avoid arrest. Later went to Holland, where he converted to Protestantism, and began his career as a writer, composing, during this period his most famous work, the love story of Manon Lescaut. After another unfortunate love affair, he returned to London in 1733, and established a journal there, modeled on the English Spectator for the French public. Returned to France to become chief chaplain to the prince of Conti, and was reinstated by the Benedictines, becoming almoner and secretary to them. Forced to leave France again because of an indiscretion in his mid-40s, although returned 8 months later to a more settled existence, where he continued his literary endeavors. Died of apoplexy while walking in the woods, although his death was also attributed to the barber who mistakenly performed the post-mortem on his suspended state. One of the first French writers to live off of his pen, writing in the Gothic mode. Inner: Impetuous, adventurous. Confirmed anglophile, served as a translating bridge between cultures. Foundation lifetime of giving life to the novel, while crossing over into the secular world, to become a succeedingly more intricate novelist.


Storyline: The incestuous narcissist uses everyone in sight to further her self-absorbed aims in making herself a literary icon, after earlier establishing herself as a gifted courtesan with the ability to bend men to her considerable will and flaunt any convention that did not suit her ambitions.

Anais Nin (1903-1977) - French/American diarist and writer. Outer: Father was a Spanish pianist, mother was a wealthy Cuban. Abandoned by her philandering progenitor, whom she nevertheless adored, seeing herself in him. Lived all over Europe, and was brought to NYC by her mother as a teenager, and educated there, although she returned later to Europe. Her first book, a study of writer D.H. Lawrence, led to a lifelong friendship with Henry Miller, by whom she became pregnant, although she aborted the baby in late term, with the rationale, better aborted than abandoned. In 1923, she married Hugh Guiler, an American banker, who worshipped her as an artist, although the duo were incompatible sexually. In her 40s, she bigamously married a young American actor turned forest ranger, Rupert Pole, who thought she was divorced from her first spouse, who, in turn, was unaware of her 2nd mate for a long time. Lived bi-coastally, shuttling back and forth every few weeks, explaining to husband number one she needed to escape New York periodically, and to number two that she was on writing assignment, maintaining the subterfuge for some 3 decades. The 2 men eventually met and became friends and keepers of her odd flame, after her death. Revealed her deception 11 years into her marriage with the latter, because of income tax claims, which forced her to invalidate her union with Pole in 1966. In addition to her two spouse, she had many lovers, including her father when she was 30, the 2 reflecting their mutual narcissism, each seeing the other in themselves, as well as her brother. Returned to New York and self-published erotic novels, which did not sell well, but were nevertheless admired by literati. Wrote a letter to her father on his initial abandonment, which became a lifelong project of diaries of herself. They were later published, beginning in 1966, and ultimately discovered to be total fabrications, recreating a far more palatable version of her interior for literary posterity. As she got older, she took on younger and younger lovers, all with her husband’s approval, who saw her as living out her dreams. Her diaries won her fame and she became a feminist heroine despite her egregious self-absorption. Ended her career as a lecturer and public personality, and after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in the mid-70s, opted for Pole as her final partner, before succumbing to the disease. Pole went on to publish the unexpurgated versions of her work, including Delta of Venus: Erotica, which kept her name alive, and added to her lusty luster, despite mixed reviews. Inner: Extremely narcissistic, with a tremendous fear of rejection and abandonment. Felt she had to reinvent herself to be acceptable to herself, while viewing her marital deceptions as her ‘trapeze,’ for which she kept notecards, to keep her stories straight. Like father, like daughter, compulsively seductive, and completely self-involved. Mirror mirror on the wall lifetime of challenging mores and conventions, while serving every whim but the truth in her nonstop self-absorption. Louise Colet (Louise Revoil) (1810-1876) - French writer. Outer: One of several daughters of a conservative but indulgent businessman. Encouraged to read and write poetry by her father, although her provincial family couldn’t understand her radical sympathies, and made fun of her literary pretensions. In order to escape them, in 1834, she married Hippolyte Colet, a musician with a post at the Paris Conservatory, and moved to the City of Light. Although the duo had little in common, she used him to actualize her overarching determination to be famous. By dint of her personality and will, she soon found a protector and lover in the philosopher Victor Cousin, who helped her further her ambitions, while fathering an illegitimate daughter with her. Despite his asking her several times to marry him, she demurred, and wound up struggling mightily to support herself following her husband’s death in 1851. Penned poetry, and won the French Academy’s annual prize for verse four times, but was essentially a vapid writer, so that her lasting reputation rests largely on her affair with Gustav Flaubert (William Faulkner), whom she met in 1846. The duo had a long correspondence, although spent little real time together, while he used a stripped-down version of her in his literary creation of Madame Emma Bovary. After their less-than-amicable parting she angrily wrote about him in her autobiographical, Lui, an ill-concealed novel, published in 1851. Had a host of other well-known literary lovers as well, including Alfred de Musset (W. Somerset Maugham). Presented herself as a champion of women, and was given a government pension for life through Cousin’s help, while the latter’s family deliberately denied the funds he left her after his death in 1867. Died at the home of her daughter. Inner: Beautiful, sensuous, and extremely self-involved. Impulsive, indiscreet, devout romantic and political radical. Early feminist, and highly determined to create herself as a figure of social and literary importance. Self-absorbed lifetime of high literary ambitions, despite limited abilities, so that her enduring legacy would be far more about her connections than her creations.


Storyline: The cerebral observer explores the duality twixt mind and body, while keeping his own exterior and interior totally shielded from public view.

Eric Rohmer (Jean-Marie Scherer) (1920-2010) - French filmmaker. Outer: From a bourgeois background, family was Alsatian, very reticent about any details of childhood. One younger brother, the philosopher, Rene Schérer. Originally wanted to be a novelist. Grew up in Limousin and came to Paris in his late teens to study literature and his/story, but preferred sitting for hours in the Cinematheque, seeing film as a new form of art. Tall and lanky, with a long ascetic face. Adopted a new name for no reason, other than he liked it, although unconsciously plugged into his previous life in this series with its ‘Ro’ beginning. Taught French and German literature at a provincial high school for 8 years, then published a novel, “Elizabeth” under the name Gilbert Cordier, before moving to Paris in 1950. Began his film career with short subjects, while writing film criticism. Co-founded the short-lived "La Gazette du Cinema," then became editor-in-chief in 1957 of the influential periodical "Cahiers du Cinema", eventually quitting his post for political reasons 6 years later. Married Therese Barbet in his late 30s, 2 sons from the union, although his obsession with privacy was such that their names were never made public during his life. Also never had a phone at his house, and lived under an assumed name. The year after quitting "Cahier", he began making documentaries for French television. His early films failed to gain attention, until he began his cycle of moral tales, a series of 6 movies where a man is tempted to stray, but ultimately doesn’t. The most notable in the series, Ma Nuit chez Maud, released in 1969, which gained him an international reputation. Each was centered around rigid intellectuality confronted with flexible physicality, showing the difference twixt words and actions, and often focusing on what does not happen rather than what does. After making 2 literary adaptations, he began a new cycle in 1980 that he called comedies et proverbs, in which, once again the words, thoughts and emotions of his characters take precedence over the plot and action. Continued working in cycles, with the same intellectual/emotional bent, focusing on groups of characters and specific social milieus. HIs last series would be “Tales of the Four Seasons,” with a philosophical love story for each one of the quartet. Wrote the screenplays for all his films, playing inner worlds off of outer ones, while exploring the emotional and moral complexities of relationships and love. Winner of numerous awards for his minimalist works, which were the result of a lifetime of careful observation of the human condition. Died after a week’s hospital stay. Inner: Highly cerebral, literate and articulate perfectionist. Intensely private, conservative and reclusive, allowing his work to do all the talking for him, while revealing as little as possible about himself, often making things up for interviews. Deliberately hidden lifetime of teaching through the art of film about the dual worlds here, inner and outer, and how they rarely integrate within any of us, while keeping himself purposefully detached from the prying eye of the 20th century’s obsession with cultural personalities. Edmond Rostand (1868-1918) - French playwright. Outer: Born into a wealthy and cultured family. His father was an economist and poet, as well as a member of the Marseille Academy and the Institute de France. Educated in Marseille and at the College Stanislas in Paris, where he studied literature, philosophy and his/story. Began writing for the theater while still a student, and also contributed poems and essays to a literary review. Abandoned his subsequent law studies in 1890, after his first book of poems was published. Married in his early 20s to the poet Rosemonde Gerard, who was the granddaughter of one of Napoleon’s marshals. Two sons, with one, Maurice, becoming a writer and another, Jean, a well-known biologist and man of letters. Initially seemed a lightweight with a pleasing sense of word rhythm, but he eventually found his voice, and became a popular playwright, noted for his both his wit and satire, as well as his dramatic sense, in trying to revive the French poetic drama of the past. His first success came in 1894, with a reworking of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but he is best remembered for Cyrano de Bergerac, a roisterous character study produced in 1897. At its premiere, people wept openly and he was showered with ladies’ gloves and fans. Cyrano, who was the complete opposite of himself, was seen as a revivification of the true Gallic spirit, and it made its author a national hero. Based himself in Paris as a poet and playwright, but returned to the Basque country because of his health in 1900, to live the rest of his life at his family’s estate there. Elected to the French Academy the following year, the youngest ever to win that honor, although disliked fame, finding it intrusive. His last twenty years were overshadowed by ill health, which allowed him to retreat into his considerable intellect while focusing more on his lyric poetry than the stage. His last plays were failures, and he eventually succumbed to influenza. Inner: Quiet and observant, with an astute sense of the traditions of the French stage. Didn’t care for fame or celebrity at all. Cerebral lifetime of being made acutely aware of the failings of his body, to counteract an excessive amount of time spent in his mind.


Storyline: The formidable feminist learns her letters from a master before going on to move out from under his domineering thumb, in order to subsequently carve her own unique niche as an innovative stylist and imagist promoting her strong anti-patriarchal views in as controversial and provocative manner possible.

Monique Wittig (1935-2003) - French novelist, radical feminist and literary theorist. Outer: Mother was from a family of Alsatian peasants. Father was from the working class. The oldest of three with a younger sister and brother. The family left Alsace during WW II, after it came under German control, then, when she was 15, they moved to Paris where she studied at the Sorbonne. Earned a Ph.d. in languages at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, before working at various semi-academic posts. Began her writing career penning radio dramas, while becoming ever more involved in feminist protests. “L’Opoponax,” published in 1964, was her first novel, chronicling a childhood in tour de force manner, and it won the prestigious Prix Médicis literary award, while using the pronoun ‘one’ rather than ‘she’ to articulate lesbian experiences. Her next work, published five years later, ''Les Guérillères,’' posed women as guerrillas fighting men, with sympathetic members of the latter gender joining them. Equally imaginative as a social activist, in 1970, she, along with others, placed a wreath at the Arc de Triomphe with a banner that read, “There is someone more unknown than the unknown soldier - his wife.” Founded the Red Dykes the following year, the first lesbian activist group in Paris, and continued her involvement with radical revolutionaries. In 1975, she took up with Sanda Zeig, an American film director and writer as a lifetime partner, and the following year they moved to the U.S., which became her base, as she worked as a visiting professor at various American institutions, while continuing her highly original literary and theoretical output. Continually played with extremely provocative themes in all her works, gaining the enmity of some male critics, and the enthusiastic plaudits of her own gender. With her partner, she created The Girl, a 2001 release that was well-received outside the heterosexual matrix. Taught LGBT studies at the Univ. of Arizona, as well as French and Creative Writing, in her final professorial stint. Died of a heart attack. Afterwards, her ashes were placed in a Parisian cemetery, while her death drew notice in a host of international periodicals, and memorials in both European and American cities. Inner: A loner at heart, she was intensely cerebral, with a great desire to aggravate, illuminate and alter conventional thinking about gender relations. Had a desire for a total rupture with male culture, claiming that lesbians were not women, since the word was a sexist construct. Saw gender identity as political and economic stances, with women as a materialistic class, rather than occupying a sexual state. Developed her own unique style of writing, eschewing normal conventions of pronouns and paragraphs, as an uncommon lyricist teaching people to transcend their narrow view of what exactly constitutes various aspects of selfhood. Probably far more discussed than actually read, despite being continually translated. Provocateur’s lifetime of redefining society’s view of women, as a writer of uncommon imaginative gifts hell-bent on disturbing conventional notions of sexual identity. Anna Dostoyevskaya (Anna Snitkina) (1846-1918) - Russian diarist and biographer. Outer: Father was a minor civil servant. As a young girl, she had read the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn) hiding in the bushes outside her parents house, until they were snatched away by an older sister. Graduated high school with honors and trained as a stenographer, ultimately developing her own idiosyncratic method of shorthand. Began working as such in 1867 on Russian novelist’s Fyodor Dostoevsky novel “The Gambler, which he needed to finish to pay off debts incurred by his brother. Quickly gained his confidence, and within a month the lonely, widowed writer had proposed to her. Early the following year, the duo were married. Four children from the union, including one daughter who died as an infant, and a second daughter and two sons, with the latter son dying at 3 months. Quite devoted to her mate, and more than willing to deal with his inability to handle his finances, as well as his jealous rages whenever any man paid any attention to her. When he made plaint that women of her generation were incapable of pursuing anything for long, she became a determined stamp collector, and pursued philately for the rest of her life, without ever buying a single one, thanks to an innate cleverness on her part. Managed all her husband’s financial dealings, including publishing moneys and negotiations, and finally got her spouse out of debt a year before he died. The duo traveled quite frequently, and in 1871, he finally gave up his compulsive gambling, feeling at long last a sense of security, through her ministrations. Beforehand, he had not only lost all his money on the roulette wheel, but her clothes and belongings as well, which prompted her to begin a diary, covering a four year period. Destroyed some of his correspondence with his first wife, and at his behest, burned some papers that might have incriminated him, serving as both active censor and support of his remarkable oeuvre. After his death in 1881, she never remarried, and instead dedicated her life to keeping his memory alive via his manuscripts, letters and photographs. In 1906, she rented a room in the State historical Museum to house all his surviving materials, and took charge of its maintenance. Published two biographies of her spouse, showing an innate literary talent and was first buried where she died, before her remains were finally laid to rest next to her husband’s in St. Petersburg in 1968. Inner: Submissive per the stances of women of her times, but also manipulative and subtly controlling while being able to readily recognize the transcendental talent of her life partner. Never fully understood many of his works, but gave him the necessary grounding to realize them. Support lifetime of learning directly from one of the great literary masters of western civilization, before freeing herself from the duty-bound role thrust on women of her time and station to become a highly imaginative and provocative voice in her own write.


Storyline: The conflicted contour lives and breathes the theater of cruelty in both her lives and works as an alienated journalist of the heart and soul, unafraid to plumb the depths and degradations of the human condition.

Marie NDiaye (1967) - French novelist and playwright. Outer: Mother was French and father was Senegalese, who abandoned the family and returned to Africa when his daughter was a baby. Had one older brother, who became a sociologist. Raised by her mother, a secondary school science teacher, in a Parisian suburb, and did not meet her progenitor until she was 15. Began writing at the age of 12, and saw her first novel, “Regarding the Rich Future” published at 18, while her second, “Comedie Classique” consisted of a single overlong sentence stretched out over 200 pages. Showed herself to be a crisp craftswomen capable of drawing deep emotion from her characters, who often suffer humiliation and betrayal, thanks to familial structures which breed great cruelty and abuse. In 2003, her play “Papa doit manger” or “Daddy’s Got to Eat,” entered the repertory of the Comedie-Francaise, making her the second woman and only living female playwright to be accorded that honor. Won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2009 for her novel “Three Powerful Women,” and enjoys a high status as one of France’s best-known and well-read writers. Took up with writer Jean-Yves Cendrey, who had a disastrous upbringing, and met her after reading her first book, three children from the union, which would be nomadic, and built on a shared sense of profound alienation. Completely disenchanted with the Sarkozy government, she became an exile in 2009, taking her family with her, and moving to Berlin, in an irony of ironies considering her last life in this series. Has written in a whole variety of genres, including short stories and children’s books, as well as photo-text fantasies. Inner: Uses her works to plumb herself and her complex relationship with the world around her. Harbors a discordant view of humanity, finding in cruelty and humiliation the core of many of her characters. Through a glass darkly lifetime of giving voice to a profound sense of alienation via a highly developed esthetic and an equally mordant sensibility. Irene Nemirovsky (1903-1942) - Russian/French novelist. Outer: Of Jewish/Ukrainian descent. Father was one of the richest bankers in pre-Revolutionary Russia, allowing her to grow up in wealth, elegance and privilege. An only child, she had an extremely contentious relationship with her mother, who feared looking old and losing her beauty, and saw in her daughter tell-tale signs of her true age, so that she kept her looking like a schoolgirl as long as possible, while giving her no love whatsoever. Fluent in several languages, learning French from her governess, while taking refuge in books because of her lonely, solitary childhood, since her beloved father was often away. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the family fled Russia and emigrated to Finland, then Sweden, and finally settled in Paris in 1919. Her sire got a position with a branch of his old bank, and the family soon was comfortably affluent again, having assimilated into the upper middle-class. In 1923, she married Michel Epstein, a Russian emigré banker, two daughters from the union. Earned a degree in literature at the Sorbonne in 1926, after earlier publishing short stories and novellas. Published her first novel in 1926, and during the next few years produced two best-sellers that became feature films, David Golder and Le Bal. Contributed to magazines with strong anti-semitic slants, using them to cement her own reputation as a writer extraordinaire, while displaying a distinct distaste for the religion of her birth. Capable of both intimate works and large canvases that detailed the dynamics of the world she saw around her, while moving about in the highest circles of the literati, allowing her to enjoy a rich, stimulating social life as a famous writer, although she was never given French citizenship. In 1939 she converted to Roman Catholicism, along with her husband, while baptizing her two young daughters, as a means of self-protection. When Germany declared war on France in 1939, she sent her daughters to a small village where their nanny’s parents lived. Forced to wear a Yellow Star, identifying her as a Jew despite her attempts to hide her true religious identity, she suddenly found that both her editors and friends abandoned her, and in 1941, she joined her daughters in the countryside, as did her husband who lost the right to work as a foreign-born Jew. While in exile from Paris, she wrote an extraordinary chronicle of the German invasion in 1940 and the occupation the following year called “Suites Francaise” creating a portrait of different classes of people and their reactions to first having to abandon Paris when it was being shelled and then returning when France capitulated to Germany in the first book, called “Storm in June.” Covered the countryside’s reaction to the occupation in “Dolce.” She had planned three more volumes in the series, although days after completing “Dolce”, in July of 1942, she was rounded up and ultimately sent to the Auschwitz-Belsen concentration camp in Nazi occupied Poland, where she soon died of typhus. Her husband was subsequently gassed to death there several months later, while her daughters survived, thanks to the help of friends who hid them and her literary masterpieces. “Suite Francais” was written in tiny print, so as to save paper, and her older daughter had it for decades, feeling it was too painful to read, until she finally began perusing it, so that it did not see print until nearly 65 years later, to virtually universal acclaim. Inner: Highly social, and at ease with both wealth and fame, enjoying each to the fullest. Panderer to the prejudices of her time, despite an extraordinary esthetic, and an extremely perceptive sense of the people around her. Knew she did not have long to live, and left notes for what would have been a 5 novel series, projecting the fates of the characters she created through the rest of the unknown war years. Heart of darkness lifetime of experiencing both the highs of fame and fortune and the depths of martyrdom and victimhood as a chronicler of a time fraught with both heroism and inhumanity.



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