Octave Mirbeau

Octave Mirbeau

date of birth : 16/02/1848 | date of death : 16/02/1917
Born on 16 February 1848,Trévières, France ,Novelist, Playwright, Journalist, Pamphleteer ,achieved celebrity in Europe and great success among the public, while still appealing to the literary and artistic avant-garde. His work has been translated into thirty languages.

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

Octave Mirbeau was born on 16 February 1848 in Trévières, France

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Life events:

Octave Mirbeau (16 February 1848 – 16 February 1917) was a French journalist, art critic, travel writer, pamphleteer, novelist, and playwright, who achieved celebrity in Europe and great success among the public, while still appealing to the literary and artistic avant-garde. His work has been translated into thirty languages. Mirbeau spent his childhood in a village of the Normandy, Rémalard, pursuing secondary studies at a Jesuit college in Vannes, which expelled him at the age of fifteen. Two years after the traumatic experience of the 1870 war, he was tempted by a call from the Bonapartist leader Dugué de la Fauconnerie, who hired him as private secretary and introduced him to L'Ordre de Paris. After his debut in journalism in the service of the Bonapartists, and his debut in literature when he worked as a ghostwriter, Mirbeau began to publish under his own name. Thereafter, he wrote in order to express his own ethical principles and aesthetic values. A supporter of the anarchist cause (cf. Voters strike) and fervent supporter of Alfred Dreyfus, Mirbeau embodied the intellectual who involved himself in civic issues. Independent of all parties, Mirbeau believed that one’s primary duty was to remain lucid. As an art critic, he campaigned on behalf of the “great gods nearest to his heart”: he sang the praises of Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Auguste Renoir, Félix Vallotton, and Pierre Bonnard, and was an early advocate of Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Claudel, Aristide Maillol, and Maurice Utrillo .As a literary critic and early member of Académie Goncourt, he 'discovered' Maurice Maeterlinck and Marguerite Audoux and admired Remy de Gourmont, Marcel Schwob, Léon Bloy, Georges Rodenbach, Alfred Jarry, Charles-Louis Philippe, Émile Guillaumin, Valery Larbaud and Léon Werth


Rémalard, pursuing secondary studies at a Jesuit college in Vannes, which expelled him at the age of fifteen.

Occupation and Career:

Mirbeau, Octave (1848-1917). French journalist, art critic, and novelist. His trajectory from extreme Right to anarchist Left is a microcosm of the complex politics of the bourgeois intellectual in 1880s France. His autobiographical novels, Le Calvaire (1887), L'Abbé Jules (1888), and SébastienRoch (1890), trace his disillusionment with authoritarian Catholic ideology and the state which it supports. Le Jardin des supplices (1899), a brilliant account of decadent sadism, is an ironic analysis of power relations in contemporary society, showing how individual imagination is drafted into the service of collective oppression. The racy sexuality of Le Journal d'une femme de chambre (1900) is also an exposé of the ideology of the Dreyfus era and the violence below the surface of conservative order.


  • Torture Garden (Decadence from Dedalus)
  • Le Calvaire (1886)
  • L'Abbé Jules (1888)
  • SébastienRoch (1890)
  • Dans le ciel (1893–1989)
  • Le Jardin des supplices (1899)
  • Le Journal d'une femme de chambre (1900)
  • Les Vingtet un Jours d'un neurasthénique (1901).
  • Dingo (novel) (1913).
  • Ungentilhomme (1919).
  • Les Mémoires de monami (1920).
  • Œuvreromanesque, 3 volumes, Buchet

Short stories:

  • Dansl'antichambre (Histoire d'une Minute) (1905).
  • La Mort de Balzac (1989).
  • Contescruels, 2 volumes (1990 and 2000).
  • Contesdrôles (1995).
  • Mémoire pour unavocat (2007).

Art chronicles:

  • Combats esthétiques, 2 volumes (1993).
  • Premières chroniquesesthétiques (1995).
  • Combats littéraires (2006).

Political and social chronicles:

  • La Grève des électeurs (1888) (Voters strike).
  • Combats politiques (1990).
  • L'Affaire Dreyfus (1991).
  • Lettres de l'Inde (1991).
  • L'Amour de la femme vénale (1994).
  • Chroniques du Diable (1995).
  • Interpellations (2011).


  • Les Mauvaisbergers (The Bad Shepherds) (1897).
  • Les affaires sont les affaires (1903) (Business is business, New York, 1904).
  • Farces etmoralités, six morality plays (1904)
  • Le Foyer (1908) (Charity).
  • Dialogues tristes, Eurédit, 2005.

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

Octave Mirbeau died on February 16, 1917 in Pari,he was buried in Passy Cemetery, in the XVIe arrondissement of Paris.

Quotes and Memoirs:

While all is new, all is beautiful. That is a well-known song. Yes, and the next day the air changes into another one equally well known.
Man is nothing but surprise, contradiction, incoherence, and folly.
I passionately scrutinize this past, in order to reconstruct from its scattered bits the illusion of a future.
If you really wish to become a man of society, you must learn first either to be an imbecile or to hold your tongue.
Habit, like a fog, tends to palliate things and beings. Little by little it obscures the features of a face and rubs down deformities; if you live with a humpback day in and day out, after a time he loses his hump.
People meet; that is well. They part; that is well, too. Life is life.
The poor are the human manure in which grow the harvests of life, the harvests of joy which the rich reap.
Solitude does not consist in living alone; it consists in living with others, with people who take no interest in you.
For my part I feel an immense and imperative need of that pure embrace, of that chaste kiss, which is no longer the savage bite of the flesh, but the ideal caress of the soul.