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Frédéric MISTRAL

French Frédéric MISTRAL

French writer and lexicographer of the Occitan language

Born: on September 08, 1830 in Maillane, France
Died: on March 25, 1914 in Maillane, France


Biography

Mistral was the son of wealthy landed farmers (François Mistral and Poulinet Adelaide, both of whom were related to the oldest families of Provence: Cruvelier, Expilly, Roux (originally Ruffo, from Calabria), themselves very closely related to each other; Marquis d'Aurel). Mistral was given the name "Frederi" in memory “of a poor small fellow who, at the time when my parents were courting, sweetly ran their errands of love, and who died shortly afterward of sunstroke.” Mistral did not begin school until he was about nine years, and quickly began to play hooky, leading his parents to send him to a boarding school in Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet, run by a Monsieur Donnat.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in Nîmes, Mistral studied law in Aix-en-Provence from 1848 to 1851. He became a champion for the independence of Provence, and in particular for restoring the “first literary language of civilized Europe” -- Provençal. He had studied the history of Provence during his time in Aix-en-Provence. Emancipated by his father, Mistral resolved: “to raise, revive in Provence the feeling of race ...; to move this rebirth by the restoration of the natural and historical language of the country ...; to restore the fashion to Provence by the breath and flame of divine poetry”. For Mistral, the word race designates “people linked by language, rooted in a country and in a story”.

For his lifelong efforts in restoring the language of Provence, Frédéric Mistral was one of the recipients of the 1904 Nobel Prize for Literature. The other winner that year, José Echegaray, was honored for his Spanish dramas. They each received one-half of the total prize money. Mistral devoted his winnings to the creation of the Museum at Arles, known locally as "Museon Arlaten". The museum is considered to be the most important collection of Provençal folk art, displaying furniture, costumes, ceramics, tools and farming implements.

In 1876, Mistral was married to a Burgundian woman, Marie-Louise Rivière (1857–1943) in Dijon Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne de Dijon). They had no children. The poet died on March 25, 1914 in Maillane, the same village where he was born.

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