Francis Steegmuller

Francis Steegmuller (July 3, 1906 – October 20, 1994) was an American biographer, translator and fiction writer, who was known chiefly as a Flaubert scholar.

Life and careerEdit

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Steegmuller graduated from Columbia University in 1927.[1] He contributed numerous short stories and articles to The New Yorker and also wrote under the pseudonyms of Byron Steel and David Keith. He won two National Book Awards—one in 1971 for Arts and Letters for his biography of Jean Cocteau (Cocteau: A Biography),[2] another in 1981 for Translation for the first volume of Flaubert's selected letters (The Letters of Gustave Flaubert 1830-1857)[3]—and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal. His first wife was Beatrice Stein, a painter who was a pupil and friend of Jacques Villon; she died in 1961. He married the writer Shirley Hazzard in 1963. His collected papers are held at two universities: at Yale University, the James Jackson Jarves (1818–1888) Papers and the Francis Steegmuller Collection for Jacques Villon; at Columbia University, the Francis Steegmuller Papers 1877–1979.[1] He died in New York.





  • O Rare Ben Jonson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1928 under the name Byron Steel)
  • A Matter of Iodine (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1940 under the name David Keith)
  • A Matter of Accent (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1943 under the name David Keith)
  • States of Grace (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1946)
  • The Blue Harpsichord (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1949 under the name David Keith)
  • The Christening Party (New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960)
  • Silence at Salerno: A comedy of intrigue (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978)

Short storiesEdit

  • French Follies and Other Follies: 20 stories from The New Yorker (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1946)

Travel booksEdit

Magazine and newspaper articlesEdit


  • "I’m told that when Auden died, they found his Oxford [English Dictionary] all but clawed to pieces. That is the way a poet and his dictionary should come out."[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Francis Steegmuller Papers 1877-1979". Columbia University Libraries.
  2. ^ "National Book Awards – 1971". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  3. ^ "National Book Awards – 1981". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  4. ^ Lucy Latane Gordon (2007). Francis Steegmuller: A Life of Letters. Wilson Library Bulletin (January, 1992): 62-64, 136. ISBN 9780595454853. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  5. ^ Francis Steegmuller. "Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, No.7532". New York Times, 26 March 1980. Retrieved 2007-01-29.

Further readingEdit


Biographical referencesEdit

Many of the pages cited below can be read on Google Books if you click on the title of the book.

External linksEdit