Andre Malraux

Andre Malraux

André Malraux was born in Paris, France, on 3rd November, 1901. He studied Oriental languages and spent some time in Asia. He became highly critical of the French colonial authorities in Indochina and helped to organize the Young Annam League and founded the newspaper, Indochina in Chains.

On his return to France he published his first novel, The Temptation of the West (1926). This was followed by The Conquerors (1928), The Royal Way (1930) Man's Fate (1934).

Malraux was a strong supporter of the Popular Front government in Spain. On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War he acted as a go-between in negotiations between Leon Blum and President Manuel Azaña to buy aircraft. Later he organized a squadron of French flyers to fight for the Republic. The unit had twenty aircraft and a dozen French volunteer pilots.

Malraux flew several missions himself over central and northern Spain. He also toured the United States in an attempt to raise fund for the Republicans. A novel about his experiences, L'Espoir (Man's Hope) appeared in 1937. A movie of the same name appeared two years later.

On the outbreak of the Second World War Malraux joined the French Army and served in a tank unit. He was captured in 1940 during the Western Offensive but he escaped and joined the French Resistance.

Malraux was captured by the Gestapo in 1944 and even though he underwent a mock execution he was still alive when he was rescued by members of the resistance. He now joined the Free French forces and fought at Strasbourg.

After the war General Charles De Gaulle appointed Malraux as his minister of information (1945-46). He also served as minister of cultural affairs (1960-69).

Other books by Malraux include The Psychology of Art (1949), The Voices of Silence (1953) and his autobiography was published in 1967. André Malraux died in Paris on 23rd November, 1976.

Primary Sources

(1) André Malraux, speech in the United States (November, 1938)

The ivory tower is no place for writers who have in democracy a cause to fight for. If you live, your writing will be better for the experience gained in battle. If you die, you will make more living documents than anything you could write in ivory towers.