Émile Goudeau  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Émile Goudeau (29 August 1849 – 1906) was a French journalist, novelist and poet. He was the founder of the Hydropathes literary club.


He was born in Périgueux, Dordogne, the son of Germain Goudeau, an architect, and cousin of Léon Bloy. Goudeau studied at the seminary, and then was supervisor in different high schools before becoming an employee at the Ministry of Finance, which gave him the opportunity to devote most of his time to poetry.

According to Maurice Donnay:

Émile Goudeau was from Périgord. He had a very brown complexion, very black hair and beard, a pronounced squint made him look fierce, but he was a very brave man, and he had much talent, which was original and tasty like wine ... Émile Goudeau had genius, just like that of the Duc Soulografiesky, his thirst was that of the Danaïdes. Anyway, Émile Goudeau chaired the meetings of the Hydropathes with bonhomie and authority.

Goudeau founded the (Hydropaths were supposedly afraid of water, thinking other drinks such as wine or absinthe are safer) society on 11 October 1878.

According to Goudeau, the name came from the Hydropathen-valsh (Waltz of the Hydropaths) by the Hungarian-German musician Joseph Gungl.

The purpose of the society was to promote the works of the members.

The Hydropathes Café in the rue Cujas was a large hall that could accommodate several hundred people.

The society staged evening entertainments in the form of poetry or prose readings and songs.

The society published a journal for about year, starting in January 1879, containing writings and pictures by members of the society.

The Hydropathes drank heavily in the bohemian way of that time, particularly green absinthe, which was rampant. Goudeau paid his collaborators in drink, and this salary was fatal to the most gifted of them, Jules Jouy.

At first the Hydropathes met on the Left Bank, but when Rodolphe Salis opened his cabaret, Le Chat Noir, in December 1881, he persuaded Goudeau to move the society there.

Goudeau helped Salis to launch his journal Le Chat Noir, which first appeared on 14 January 1882, drawing on his experience with the Hydropathes journal. Goudeau was chief editor of Le Chat Noir from 1882 to 1884.


  • 1878: Fleurs du bitume (Flowers of bitumen)
  • 1884: Poèmes ironiques (Ironic Poems)
  • 1884: La Revanche des bêtes (Revenge of the beasts)
  • 1885: La Vache enragée
  • 1886: Voyages et découvertes du célèbre A'Kempis à travers les États-Unis de Paris (Travels and discoveries of famous A'Kempis across the United States from Paris): Fantasy, with drawings by Henri Rivière
  • 1887: Les Billets bleus (The Blue Tickets): novel
  • 1887: Le Froc: novel
  • 1888: Dix ans de bohème (Ten bohemian years): memoirs, The Illustrated Library, Paris, 1888; reissued by Champ Vallon, Paris, 2000
  • 1889: Corruptrice (Corrupter): novel
  • 1893: Paris qui consomme (The Paris who consumes) : fantasy
  • 1896: Chansons de Paris et d'ailleurs (Songs of Paris and elsewhere)
  • 1897: Poèmes parisiens (Parisian Poems)
  • 1900: La Graine humaine (The Human Grain): novel


The Place Émile-Goudeau in the 18th arrondissement of Paris is named in his honor. It is on Montmartre hill just below the Place du Tertre.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Émile Goudeau" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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