Léon Daudet  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Léon Daudet (November 16, 1867June 30, 1942) was a French journalist, writer, often called the French Dickens.


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Daudet was born in Paris, the son of the novelist Alphonse Daudet. He married Jeanne Hugo, the granddaughter of Victor Hugo, in 1891, and thus entered into the higher social and intellectual circles of the French Third Republic. He divorced his wife in 1895, and became a vocal critic of the Republic, the Dreyfusard camp, and of democracy in general.

Together with Charles Maurras, he co-founded (1907) and was an editor of the conservative, integralist periodical Action Française. A deputy from 1919 to 1924, he failed to win election as a senator in 1927—despite having gained prominence as the voice of the far right.

Scandals and later life

When his son Philippe died in mysterious circumstances in 1923, Daudet accused the republican authorities of complicity with anarchist activists in what he believed to be a murder, and lost a lawsuit for defamation brought against him by the driver of the taxi in which Philippe’s body was found. Condemned to five months in prison, Daudet fled and was exiled in Belgium, receiving a pardon in 1930. In 1934, during the Stavisky Affair, he was to attack Prime Minister Camille Chautemps, calling him the “leader of a gang of robbers and assassins.”

Léon Daudet died in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, during the Nazi German occupation of France.


  • A biography of his father
  • Several novels
  • Souvenirs des milieux littéraires, politiques, artistiques et médicaux (6 vol., 1914–21, tr. of selections, Memoirs of Léon Daudet, 1925).

Further reading

  • Kershaw, Alister, An Introduction to Léon Daudet, with Selections from His Writings, Typographeum Press (Francestown, New Hampshire), 1988. ISBN 0930126238.
  • Weber, Eugen, Action Française: Royalism and Reaction in Twentieth-Century France, Stanford University Press (Palo Alto, California), 1962. ISBN 0804701342.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Léon Daudet" 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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