Robert Poulet

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Robert Poulet
Born (1893-09-04)4 September 1893
Liège, Belgium
Died 6 October 1989(1989-10-06) (aged 96)
Marly-le-Roi, France
Nationality Belgian
Occupation journalist, literary critic, writer

Robert Poulet (4 September 1893 – 6 October 1989) was a Belgian writer, literary critic and journalist.


Educated at the Faculté des Mines in his hometown, Poulet served in the First World War and before taking odd jobs in Belgium and France.[1] He began writing for a number of literary reviews in the 1920s and published his first novel, the surrealist Handji, in 1931.[2] He became a part of the 'Groupe du Lundi' that built up around Franz Hellens which attacked the regional novels prevalent in France at the time and instead endorsed magic realism.[3] As a literary critic he became noted for his rejection of female authors, dismissing them as midinettes en diable.[4] The Adventures of Tintin cartoonist Hergé, who worked for Poulet during World War II, maintained a lifelong friendship with Poulet until Hergé's death in 1983.[5]


Poulet was involved in politics during the early 1930s when he was a member of the corporatist study group Réaction.[6] Although not altogether enamoured of Nazism he became the 'political director' of Le Nouveau Journal, a collaborationist paper launched by Paul Colin in October 1940.[6] A strong supporter of Belgian independence, he was heavily influenced by Charles Maurras and the Action Française and by 1941 was in agreement with Raymond de Becker that a corporatist, authoritarian party of state should be created. His idea was soon abandoned however when the Nazis decide to instead back Léon Degrelle and Rexism, a philosophy to which Poulet was opposed.[7]

Despite all of this Poulet never opposed the Nazis and frequently wrote in support of them during his time at Le Nouveau Journal.[8] He also praised them in their war against the Soviet Union due to his own strict anti-communism.[9] He was sentenced to death in October 1945 for collaboration but, after serving six years imprisonment, ostensibly on 'death row', he was released and allowed to return to France.[10]

Later years

Following his move to France he published a number of autobiographical novels in which he sought to justify his war-time collaboration as merely trying to safeguard the monarchy and Belgian independence. He would also act as a reader at Éditions Denoël and Plon, as well as writing for the far right journal Rivarol, the Catholic paper Présent and Ecrits de Paris, amongst other publications.[11] He was a close friend and supporter of Robert Faurisson and joined him in advocating Holocaust denial.[5] Poulet's autobiography, Ce n'est pas un vie, appeared in 1976.

He died in 1989.



  • Handji (1931; definitive version, 1955)
  • Le trottoir (1931)
  • Le meilleur et le pire (1932)
  • Les ténèbres (1934; definitive version, 1958)
  • L'ange et les dieux (1942)
  • Prélude à l'apocalypse (1944; definitive version, 1981)
  • La hutte de cochenille (1953)
  • Nuptial (1956)
  • Les sources de la vie (1967)
  • Histoire de l'être (1973)
  • L'homme qui n'avait pas compris (1988)


  • Partis pris (1943)
  • L'amateur circonspect ou le cinéma dévoilé (1943; film criticism)
  • La fleur de l'imagination (1944)
  • La lanterne magique (1956)
  • Entretiens familiers avec L. F. Céline (1958; rpt. as Mon ami Bardamu, entretiens familiers avec L. F. Céline, 1971)
  • Aveux spontanés (1963)
  • Un Céline belge: Hubert Chatelion (1968)
  • L'écrivain Jean Paulhan (1968)
  • Billets de sortie (1975)
  • Robert Brasillach, critique complet (1975)
  • Robert Denoël ou l'édition à qui perd gagne (1981)
  • Le caléidoscope. Trente-neuf portraits d'écrivains, suivi de Flèches du Parthe (1982)
  • Pierre Louÿs, personnage balzacien (1982)


  • La révolution est à droite (1934)
  • Vie de Saint Jean de la Croix (1944; hagiography)
  • Journal d'un condamné à mort (1948; published anonymously)
  • L'enfer-ciel (1952)
  • Le livre de quelques-uns (1957)
  • Contre l'amour (1962; awarded the Prix Sainte-Beuve)
  • Contre la jeunesse (1963)
  • Contre la plèbe (1967)
  • Contre l'automobile (1967)
  • Ce n'est pas une vie (1976)
  • J'accuse la bourgeoisie (1978)
  • La conjecture. Mémoires apocryphes (1981)


  • Poèmes durs (1973)
  • Quatre poèmes classiques (1984)


  • Mars et Vénus (1964)


  1. Adèle King, Rereading Camara Laye, 2002, p. 132
  2. King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 133
  3. King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 134
  4. Toril Moi, Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman, 1994, pp. 78-9
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mark McKinney, History and Politics in French-Language Comics and Graphic Novels, p. 38
  6. 6.0 6.1 David Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, London: Heinemann, 1972, p. 152
  7. King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 135
  8. King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 137
  9. Lindsay Waters & Wlad Godzich, Reading de Man Reading, 1989, p. 16
  10. King, Rereading Camara Laye, pp. 137-8
  11. King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 138

Further reading

  • Jean Rimeize, Robert Poulet, 1996.
  • Jean-Marie Delaunois, Dans la mêlée du xxe siècle. Robert Poulet, le corps étranger, 2003 (ISBN: 978-2867143915).
  • Jean-Marie Delaunois, Robert Poulet, 2008 (ISBN: 9782867143915).

External links