André Malraux Biography

André Malraux
1901 André Malraux is born on November 3rd
1923 André and Clara Malraux are in Cambodia. They take several statues from an abandoned Khmer temple and are arrested. They eventually escape prison with the support of many intellectuals from Paris. The Malraux family returns to Indochina (Saigon) in 1925, where André becomes the passionate manager of a newspaper opposing the corrupt colonial government (Indochina, then Chained Indochina). His Cambodian adventure is recalled in The Royal Way (1930), while his thoughts on the Chinese mentality find a place in The Temptation of the West (1926)
1933 Following his fight against the colonial regime and the Fascists and the Nazi coming to power in Europe, Malraux joins the French and the international revolutionary left. He publishes several novels including episodes of the Chinese revolution, such as The Conquerors in 1928, then Man’s Fate in 1933, which will bring him fame as a writer
1936 Malraux gets involved, on the Spanish Republicans’ side, in fighting Franco’s Fascist coup d’Etat. He leads the Republic’s air troops and participates in the battle. His commitment will be the inspiration for the novel Man’s Hope (1937) and for Malraux’s famous film Man’s Hope (Espoir, Sierra de Teruel) (1945)
1945 Malraux joins the Résistance movement in 1944, when his two brothers are arrested. He leads the Alsace-Lorraine Brigade and fights in the battle of Alsace during the winter of ’44 and 45, and then he becomes an ally of General de Gaulle. — During the previous years, he created a gigantic literary work resulting in four books: The Walnut Trees of Altenburg, published in 1943 and in 1948; The Voices of Silence in 1951 and two works unpublished until 1996: The Absolute Demon and The Reign of the Evil
1957 Malraux publishes The Metamorphosis of the Gods, the first volume of an extensive essay on the aesthetic creation. A keen art lover since he was young, Malraux publishes three volumes of the Psychology of Art (1947-1950), texts written at several times and significantly extended in The Voices of Silence in 1951. He publishes The Ireal in 1974 and The Intemporal in 1976. The 1957 Metamorphosis of the Gods is republished as The Intemporal in 1977. The 1957 title becomes the comprehensive title of the three works. — Malraux’s writings on art have nothing to do with a history of art, an aesthetics treaty, or with academic essays: on the contrary, they are pieces of reflection aiming to seize the secret spirit urging the human will to create
1958 De Gaulle establishes the Vth Republic and becomes its President. Malraux is appointed state minister in charge of Cultural Affairs in January 1959. In the autumn of 1958, Malraux pays an official visit to Iran, to India, where he meets Nehru again, now a Prime Minister, and to Japan. Malraux visits India and Japan, the countries he had already seen in 1931 and which he knew very well from a spiritual point of view. His reflections and his conversations blossom into the Anti-Memoirs (1967) and the trilogy The Metamorphosis of the Gods (1974-1977). The minister of cultural affairs is involved in several projects, the most important of which being the creation of Culture Centres (ideally, one for each department) which were intended to make the great accomplishments of the spirit accessible to all
1965 Victim to a deep depression, the minister is in need of rest. He boards on a cruise to Asia. At the Cairo museum, which he had not seen since 1952, he feels a strong aesthetic emotion and starts writing what he will call Anti-Memoirs. While he was in Singapore, de Gaulle sends him on a formal visit to Beijing, to Mao Zedong. The 1965 journey, along with other journeys (especially the one in 1958) will be the main thread of these Anti-Memoirs, published in 1967. From 1966 onwards, Malraux starts writing the books that will be put together as The Rope and the Mice, a sequel to Anti-Memoirs. This collection will be entitled The Mirror of Limbo and will be published in full in 1976
1969 Upon de Gaulle’s resignation on 28 April 1969, Malraux also gives up his position as minister. He lives at Verrières-le-Buisson, joined by Louise de Vilmorin. The latter dies at the end of the year. The poetess will be evoked, strangely enough, in one episode of Hôtes de passage (1975). De Gaulle dies on 10 November 1970; The Fallen Oaks, a novel on the dialogue between de Gaulle and Malraux is published in 1971. In 1972, Malraux has a near death experience: he is inspired by this adventure and writes Lazarus. In 1973, Picasso’s death inspires him to write The Obsidian Head. All these books are included in The Rope and the Mice
1976 André Malraux dies on November 23rd at the Créteil hospital. His remains will be transferred to the Pantheon in 1996