Journalist Claude Sarraute, great pen of the “World”, is dead

Claude Sarraute, in Paris, in October 2001.

What to do when you have a novelist mother, Nathalie Sarraute (1900-1999), who will be one of the beacons of a literary school, the New Roman, and will have, during her lifetime, in 1996, her “Pléiade”? Surely not become its pale copy, thought, rightly, Claude Sarraute. actress? She tried it, but she too was inhabited by the desire to write. Then a journalist. Claude Sarraute assumed with panache his passion for the ephemeral of this profession, knowing that it would die without “Pléiade” and without making the headlines of all the newspapers.

Born on July 24, 1927, in Paris, she died on the night of Monday to Tuesday at her Parisian home at the age of 95, her son Martin Tzara announced to Agence France-Presse. She had already had her name engraved on her grave in the Montparnasse cemetery, alongside that of the essayist Jean-François Revel (1924-2006). She spent thirty-nine years with this third husband, after the American journalist Stanley Karnow, then Christophe Tzara – the son of Tristan Tzara, with whom she has two children. “I know nothing, he knows everything, she said about Jean-François Revel, with whom she had a son and a daughter. He is happy to teach me. My naivety has always made Revel and the boys howl with laughter. »

fake ingenue

This asserted naivety was rather a pose, or a way of protecting oneself. It is enough to read Claude Sarraute to be convinced of this. She pretended that she had nothing left of her years at the Ecole alsacienne and the Sorbonne, where she had earned a degree in English, or of her mother’s reading, whom she admired. But it wasn’t true. Of the forty years she spent in Worldfrom 1953, we generally remember her daily post “Sur le vive”, on the last page, from 1983 to 1992. She had previously written in the section then called “Spectacles”, then had held a chronicle on television for seven years.

Her famous note, that she wanted that of a “chatterbox”where she spoke willingly of her “Mimi” – François Mitterrand – or his “Jacquot” – Jacques Chirac – who did not always appreciate his remarks, clashed in a newspaper proud of his austere reputation. Moreover, when, in November 1983, André Laurens, then director of the Worldproposed “On the spot”, the reception of the department heads was icy.

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Who can swear to have never been annoyed by the cookie-cutter remarks of this false ingenue? But what journalist can ignore how difficult it is to come up with a good and funny idea every day for a text that must be delivered by 9:30 a.m. at the latest? Meet Claude Sarraute every morning on rue des Italiens – in the historic building of World – it was to encounter a blond tornado at a time when others are still a little asleep. She had taken the metro at dawn from the Pont-Marie station – near Île Saint-Louis where she lived with Revel –, had gotten off at Chaussée-d’Antin, had taken her daily tablet of corydrane, a stimulant based on aspirin and amphetamines – “as Sartre took it, it makes me smarter” , distributed some ” Dear “, ” My love “ Or “Sweetheart, do you have a story for me? »and got to work.

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