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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dare to write 'just anything'

“Our life is a book that writes itself and whose principal themes sometimes escape us. We are like characters in a novel who do not always understand what the author wants of them.” – Julien Green
Born on this date in 1900, Green authored several important mid-20th century novels including The Dark Journey, The Closed Garden and Each Man in His Darkness, writing primarily in French, his adopted language after first moving to France from the U.S. to fight in World War I.

He only lived in America for two 3-year periods after the First World War, one as a student in Virginia in the early 1920s and another as a translator and Voice of America activist for the Free French during World War II.

He translated some of his own works from French to English, sometimes with the help of his sister, Anne Green, an author herself. A collection of some of his translations is published in Le langage et son double, a side-by-side English–French format, facilitating direct comparison in many French-English courses. 
                            He also is lauded as a pseudo-historian having maintained meticulous diaries for nearly 80 years, each providing a fascinating look at day-to-day life in France, particularly in relation to world and U.S. events, which he often referenced.     “The secret is to write just anything,” he said shortly before his death in 1998.  “To dare to write just anything, because when you write just anything, you begin to say what is important.”

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