Benoîte Groult is a major French writer and one of the founders of modern feminism. She was born in Paris in 1920 and grew up in an intellectual and artistic environment. Between the two world wars, her parents associated with famous painters and writers such as Picasso, Picabia, Jouhandeau, and Paul Morand. She taught Latin and litterature before starting on her dual career in journalism and writing. In 1958, she co-authored Journal à quatre mains with her sister Flora. Her activities as a writer and a journalist did not stop her from presiding the Commission de Terminologie pour la féminisation des noms de métiers ( A committee to find feminine equivalents to traditionally male job titles) founded by Yvette Roudy, nor of sitting as a member of the jury of the prix Femina since 1982. Both her private and her public life revolve around journalism and writing. Benoîte Groult was promoted to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.
- Mon évasion (Grasset, 2008)
- La touche étoile (Grasset, 2006, roman)
- Histoire d’une évasion (Grasset, 1997)
- Cette mâle assurance (Albin Michel, 1993)
- Pauline Roland, ou comment la liberté vint aux femmes (Robert Laffont, 1991)
- Les vaisseaux du cœur (LGF, Livre de Poche, 1990)
- Œuvres (Mercure de France, 1986 - avec Olympe de Gouges)
- Les trois quarts du temps (Grasset, 1983)
- Le féminisme au masculin (Gonthier, 1977)
- Ainsi soit-elle (Grasset, 1975)
- La part des choses (Grand Livre du Mois, 1972)
- Il était deux fois (Denoël, 1968)
- Le féminin pluriel (Denoël, 1965)
- Journal à quatre mains (Denoël, 1962 – with her sister Flora Groult)
Synopsis of Mon évasion
Each life is an escape. We always have to, at some point, saw off the bars ; throw down ropes made of the bedsheets in which we spent far too much time sleeping ; break the silence of the alcoves, of the fitting rooms or the confessional. Every day, we must scream, break habits and escape ! But do you need to escape if your mother is Nicole Poiret, a talented and loved seamstress and your father a famous designer - of Galuchat and Chines lacquer furniture – and your godmother is Marie Laurencin, the famous painter ? And when your parents’ friends have names like Picasso, Moran, Jouhandeau and a few more like that ? Yes, you still need to escape. Though Benoîte Groult has always considered youth as a long preparation to marriage, she has successfully conquered her freedom and appreciates its value and its sweetness. In Mon Evasion, the writer talks about the men in her life and her marriages : Pierre Heuyer, Georges de Caunes, Paul Guimard. She describes her struggles in the context of post-war journalism or to find feminine equivalents to traditionally male job titles with Yvette Roudy. In her inimitably free style, she talks about her choices and her friends. This is a book by a happy woman who has been fortunate enough to experience the great joy of conquering her freedoms one by one, of paying for them and then savour and love them.
Synopsis of La touche étoile
Neither god nor devil, Moïra, in Greek mythology represents fate. And it is fate that in this story observes, comments and sometimes judges and even interferes in the lives of the protagonists. In love with life on earth that she will never experience, she ensures the most improbable things will happen to her wards by changing their destinies when she feels they are not right. Thus Marion, who got married in the hope of developing with her husband a modern relationship where they will respect each other’s freedom, realizes that nothing has changed since Racine though one has signed on for a Sartre-Beauvoir type of agreement. But Moïra is watching over her and will let her experience a passionate and unexpected affair with a mad Irishman who is also a bit of poet like many of his compatriots.
Her mother, Alice, is a journalist and a feminist, an eccentric and loving grandmother who has sworn that will not let old age take over.
It is a daring challenge that Moïra, invisible but ever present, will help her take up with panache. Alice will confront her age with a ruthless lucidity and caustic humour in a society where youthism is considered a real value where ageing is a crime, until the day where she will choose to die with dignity.
The book follows the beat of a metronome the pace of which increases as we near the end. Yet Moïra, always trying to understand what makes human life so desirable, so rich and so tragic, will manage to modify the destiny of the creatures she has chosen to watch over.