Maurice Leblanc

Maurice Marie Émile Leblanc (/ləˈblɑːn/; French: [ləblɑ̃]; 11 December 1864[2] – 6 November 1941) was a French novelist and writer of short stories, known primarily as the creator of the fictional gentleman thief and detective Arsène Lupin, often described as a French counterpart to Arthur Conan Doyle's creation Sherlock Holmes.[3]

Maurice Leblanc
Born(1864-12-11)11 December 1864
Rouen, France
Died6 November 1941(1941-11-06) (aged 76)[1]
Perpignan, France

The first Arsène Lupin story appeared in a series of short stories that was serialized in the magazine Je sais tout, starting in No. 6, dated 15 July 1905. Clearly created at editorial request, it’s possible that Leblanc had also read Octave Mirbeau's Les 21 jours d'un neurasthénique (1901), which features a gentleman thief named Arthur Lebeau, and he had seen Mirbeau's comedy Scrupules (1902), whose main character is a gentleman thief.

Leblanc's house in Étretat, today the museum Le clos Arsène Lupin.

By 1907, Leblanc had graduated to writing full-length Lupin novels, and the reviews and sales were so good that Leblanc effectively dedicated the rest of his career to working on the Lupin stories. Like Conan Doyle, who often appeared embarrassed or hindered by the success of Sherlock Holmes and seemed to regard his success in the field of crime fiction as a detraction from his more "respectable" literary ambitions, Leblanc also appeared to have resented Lupin's success. Several times he tried to create other characters, such as private eye Jim Barnett, but he eventually merged them with Lupin. He continued to pen Lupin tales well into the 1930s.

Leblanc also wrote two notable science fiction novels: Les Trois Yeux (1919), in which a scientist makes televisual contact with three-eyed Venusians, and Le Formidable Evènement (1920), in which an earthquake creates a new landmass between England and France.

Leblanc was awarded the Légion d'Honneur for his services to literature, and died in Perpignan in 1941. He was buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery. Georgette Leblanc was his sister.

In popular cultureEdit

The character Arsène Lupin III, protagonist of the Japanese manga Lupin III beginning in 1967, was written as the grandson of Arsène Lupin but without permission from Leblanc's estate. This was later the source of a lawsuit though the copyright on Leblanc's work has since expired. When the anime version was broadcast in France, the character was renamed Edgar, le détective cambrioleur ("Edgar, the Burglar Detective"). The authors of the various Lupin III properties drew on Leblanc's novels as inspiration; notably, the film The Castle of Cagliostro was loosely based on La Comtesse de Cagliostro (The Countess of Cagliostro).

He is also referenced in Persona 5 where the main character's persona is the character Arsène. The main character is staying at Cafe Leblanc after being expelled from his former school for defending a woman.

Most recently, the main character of the Netflix series Lupin, released in January 2021, used Lupin as an inspiration for his own grand theft. Inspired by one of the Lupin books, he tries to avenge his father's wrongful accusation of stealing a necklace years earlier. He decides to steal the same necklace from the Louvre by mimicking the style of Arsène Lupin.[4] Parts of the final episode were filmed in the town of Étretat.[5] This location is significant because Maurice Leblanc lived in the commune.[6] Some of the works were written at his residence there. The building is now the Clos Lupin Museum.[7][8]

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Une femme (1893)
  • Armelle et Claude (1897)
  • Voici des ailes (1898)
  • Les Lèvres jointes (1899)
  • L’Enthousiasme (1901)
  • Un vilain couple (1901)
  • Gueule rouge (1904)
  • 80 chevaux (1904)
  • La Pitié, Play (1906)
  • L’Aiguille creuse ("The Hollow Needle") (1909)
  • 813 (1910)
  • La Frontière ("The Frontier")(1911)
  • Les Trois Yeux ("The Three Eyes") (1919)
  • La Robe d’écaille rose (1920)
  • Le Formidable Événement ("The Tremendous Event") (1920)
  • Le Cercle rouge (1922)
  • Dorothée, danseuse de corde (US: "The Secret Tomb", UK: "Dorothy the Rope Dancer") (1922)
  • La Vie extravagante de Balthazar (1925)
  • Le Prince de Jéricho ("Man of Mystery") (1930)
  • Les Clefs mystérieuses (1932)
  • La Forêt des aventures (1933)
  • Le Chapelet rouge (1934)
  • L’Image de la femme nue ("Wanton Venus") (1934)
  • Le Scandale du gazon bleu (1935)
  • De minuit à sept heures ("From Midnight to Morning") (1937)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Staff writer (7 November 1941). "Maurice LeBlanc Dies at 77; Creator of 'Arsene Lupin'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 94 (63). St. Louis, Missouri. p. 3 – via
  2. ^ Cote 3E 00999 - 1864/10/01 - 1864/12/31 - Rouen, image 106.
  3. ^ Mordaunt Hall (1932). "Arsene Lupin". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Netflix Releases Premiere Date and Trailer for 'Lupin' Starring Omar Sy (TV News Roundup)". 2 December 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  5. ^ "WHERE IS 'LUPIN' FILMED?". Condé Nast Traveler. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Netflix's 'Lupin' Is a Riff on Maurice Leblanc's Classic 'Gentleman Burglar'". Marie Claire. 20 January 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  7. ^ "One to Watch: Omar Sy will steal your heart in new Netflix's Lupin". Explore France. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Le Clos Arsène Lupin". Brittany Ferries. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2021.

External linksEdit