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This review is taken from PN Review 91, Volume 19 Number 5, May - June 1993.

THE REHABILITATION OF SIMONE Alain-Fournier/Mme Simone, Correspondance 1912-1914 (Fayard) 145FF

For amateurs of Alain-Fournier and Le Grand Meaulnes this is the second astonishing event to occur in eighteen months: first the writer's remains were unearthed on the very spot where he had fallen in 1914 (later to be reburied with fully military honours) and now we have the rehabilitation of his legendary love affair with the actress Simone. With the entire accord of both families this at last brings to a close the semi-feud which went on for far too long between pro- and anti-Simonians. Sometimes it seemed reconciliation would never happen but, with the death of Simone herself, at the age of 108 in 1985, everything became possible. It then only needed the generosity of a new generation and a catalyst to spark the miracle. The nephew of Alain-Fournier (Alain Rivi&ebar;re) made a pact with the niece of Mme Simone (Mme Colette Pennin). Both groups of letters were handed Sicard) and the result is an historic and literary event. Everyone concerned deserves our thanks - not least perhaps the catalyst Jean Bastaire.

The situation was that Mme Simone had both sides of the Correspondence, her own letters having been handed back to her after the first world war by Fournier's sister Isabelle. Before her death Mme Simone told M Rivi&ebar;re that she would eventually bequeath the letters to the Biblioth&ebar;que Nationale but M Rivi&ebar;re knew that this had not occurred. Indeed till recently he had no idea where the letters were or to whom they belonged. ...


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