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Michèle Sarde

Author of Colette: Free and Fettered

Includes the names: Michele Sarde, Michèle Sarde, Michèle Sarde

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Short biography
Michèle Benrey was born in Brittany to Jewish parents from Salonika and Bulgaria who emigrated to France, and grew up in Paris. During World War II, her paternal grandparents were deported, and young Michèle and her parents moved to various cities using false identification papers. In Villard-de-Lans, her father joined the French Resistance. After the war, Michèle attended the Lycée Victor Duruy and the University of Paris-Sorbonne, earning advanced degrees in French literature. In 1968, she moved to the USA and took a faculty position at Georgetown University, where she spent her entire career. She adopted the pen name Michèle Sarde and has written biographies, novels, and essays, as well as numerous articles published in academic journals. Her 1983 essay, Regard sur les Françaises: Xe siècle-XXe siècle (A Look at French Women: 10th-20th Centuries), received awards from the Académie française and the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. Her 1978 biography of Colette also received an award from the Académie française. Vous, Marguerite Yourcenar (You, Marguerite Yourcenar, 1995), a non-traditional biography of the Belgian-born French author, engaged her in a "dialogue" during her formative years. Jacques le Français: Pour mémoire du Goulag (2002) told the true story of Jacques Rossi, a political prisoner sent to Soviet labor camps in 1937 for 19 years. Michèle Sarde had already explored the trauma of wartime persecution in her novel Histoire d’Eurydice pendant la remontée (The Story of Eurydice Ascending, 1991), which was short-listed for the Prix Goncourt. Michèle Sarde evoked the Holocaust again in Constance et la cinquantaine (Constance and the Fifties, 2003). She is currently professor emerita at Georgetown.
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