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Marcel Ayme (1902-67) was one of the great French writers of the twentieth century.

Born in the Franche-Comte of Eastern France, he never lost touch with his rural origins, which influenced much of his work.

Initially perceived as a man of the left, throughout his life Ayme espoused causes from across the political spectrum, for example apparently supporting Mussolini's colonialism in Africa whilst also campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty.

He attracted much controversy for his writings for collaborationist magazines during the Second World War, and his defence of Nazi-sympathising friends including Louis-Ferdinand Celine and Robert Brasillach in the post-war years.

Nevertheless Ayme retains an important place in French culture.

He championed Serge Gainsbourg in his early career, writing the liner notes for his debut album Du chant a la une!.

This collection of stories is particularly famous, and a dozen of his novels have been turned into films, among them the classics of French cinema La Traversee de Paris, La Vouivre and Uranus.




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