Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Boris Vian: a French Renaissance Man

Boris Vian was one of those interesting people that had the wonderful capacity to be brilliant in more than one field. He was an engineer, musician, poet, journalist, writer, translator, actor, singer and critic. As a musician, he was a trumpet jazz player and he put together his first jazz band when he was 14 years old. He also played a harp guitar for his compositions (click here for a short video). He is the author of the song “The Déserteur ” or “The Deserter” that has been translated in more than 40 languages and was interpreted by Joan Baez during the Vietnam War. But his musical work wasn’t limited only to jazz, he also wrote and interpreted rock and roll, opera and was the author of many music scores for films.

As a writer, Boris Vian signed his works using Vernon Sullivan as a pen name. His works have been also translated into many languages and made into movies and graphic novels. In the engineering field, he designed wonderful bridges that minimized the use of gas.

Sadly, Boris Vian’s life was very short. He died when he was only 39 years old but his work is considered by many as some of the most influential in French arts and culture.

Austin Public Library has some of his works for your enjoyment:


La hierba roja (in Spanish)

1 comment:

Valérie M. Horne said...

Vian is definitively one of those that died too young...he always said that his heart was too big, he would endangered his life by playing trumpet...The viewing of the adaptation on the screen of one his books: "J'irai cracher sur vos tombes" (I spit on your graves) killed him...the heart...He was a genius who wasn't recognized as such during his life, lived terribly poor as the consequence of being true to his ideas....He sincerely deserves that people rediscover his revolutionary work...I hope I will inspire some to do so...