11 February, 2009

Pascal Lainé

Pascal Lainé is a French writer born in 1942 in Anet (Eure-et-Loir).

He studied philosophy at l'École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud and began his career as a teacher first at the Lycée technique de Saint-Quentin and later at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. He then became a professor in 1974 at the Institut universitaire de technologie in Villetaneuse. He currently serves as an administrator at the Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques (SACD).

Awarded both the Prix Médicis (1971 for l'Irrévolution) and the Goncourt (1974 for La Dentellière), Pascal Lainé has published over twenty novels and has written for television, theater and film.

Lainé discovered Dumas and Hugo as he recovered from childhood illnesses and he aspired to that kind of voluminous writing. But he focused on philosophy and history in school, becoming an avid student of Kant, Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger. He was also drawn to Marxism (both by conviction and a desire to rile his parents) and he chose Russian as his second foreign language, permitting him to read Chekhov and Dostoyevsky in the original.

With Rimbaud, he discovered the "fireworks" of poetry, and in Mallarmé he discovered the pleasure of deciphering a text and studying its structure. He is also fascinated by Witold Gombrowicz: "I felt with this joker, this aristocratic Rabelais an instant kinship. He taught me that a writer gives up his homeland and is always a foreigner wherever he finds himself."

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