Claude Farrère

Claude Farrère, pseudonym of Frédéric-Charles Bargone (27 April 1876, in Lyon – 21 June 1957, in Paris), was a French Navy officer and writer. Many of his novels are based in exotic locations such as Istanbul, Saigon, or Nagasaki.

Claude Farrère
Claude Farrère 1923.jpg
Born27 April 1876 Edit this on Wikidata
Lyon Edit this on Wikidata
Died21 June 1957 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 81)
Paris Edit this on Wikidata
Claude Farrère supported the Turkish National Movement so he visited Atatürk (İzmit/18 June 1922)

One of his novels, Les Civilisés, about life in French colonial Indochina, won the third Prix Goncourt for 1905. He was elected to a chair at the Académie française on 26 March 1935, in competition with Paul Claudel, partly thanks to lobbying efforts by Pierre Benoit.


Initially, Claude Farrère had followed his father, an infantry colonel who served in the French colonies: he was admitted to the French Naval Academy in 1894, was made lieutenant in 1906 and was promoted to captain during 1918. He resigned the next year to concentrate on his writing career.

Claude Farrère was a friend and was partly mentored by two other famous French writers of this period, i.e. Pierre Louÿs and Pierre Loti, the latter having been as well a former Navy officer and a writer of books based in overseas countries and cultures. He was a prolific writer, and many of his books are based on his overseas travels and on exotic cultures, especially in Asia, the Orient and North Africa, partly based on his travels when he was an officer with the French Navy. His works have now largely fallen from favour, even among French readers, although some of his most famous books, such as 'Fumée d'opium', 'Les Civilisés', La 'Bataille' or 'Les hommes nouveaux' have been reedited in France at the end of the 20th century and the early 21st century.

One anecdotal and indirect reference to Claude Farrère is the perfume "Mitsouko" created by the long-lived perfumer Jacques Guerlain, with whom Claude Farrère was friend. The story of Mitsouko is found in Farrère's novel La Bataille ('The Battle', 1909), which is a romance based upon Japan modernization and westernization during the Meiji period and upon the 1905 naval Battle of Tsushima when the Imperial Japanese Navy defeated the Russian Imperial Navy . In Claude Farrère's book 'La Bataille', Mitsouko was a beautiful Japanese woman whose name meant both 'honey comb' and 'mystery', who was married to a noble Japanese Navy officer and who had an ill-fated love affair with an English officer. 'La Bataille' was translated in several foreign languages, including into Serbian by Veljko M. Milićević under the title 'Boj' (The Battle), published in Sarajevo in 1912.

Farrère's name has also been given to a street in Sultanahmet, Istanbul for his favorable description of Turkish culture and Turks.[1] Orhan Pamuk's publisher, İletişim Publishing, is situated on this street ("Klod Farer Caddesi" as spelled in Turkish).

A number of Farrère's novels were translated and published internationally under his real name, Frédéric-Charles Bargone.

On 6 May 1932, at the opening of a Paris book fair at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, Farrère was in conversation with French President Paul Doumer when several shots were fired by Paul Gorguloff, a mentally unstable Russian émigré. Doumer was fatally wounded. Farrère wrestled with the assassin until the police arrived.




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