|JULIEN GRACQ (AFP/Getty Images file/1951)|
PARIS - Julien Gracq, a celebrated French writer known for surrealism and solitude and for having turned down France's top literary prize, has died, hospital officials said yesterday. He was 97.
Mr. Gracq died Saturday in the western city of Angers from apparent complications of a digestive hemorrhage, university hospital officials there said.
Mr. Gracq was born Louis Poirier on July 27, 1910, in the western town of Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, where he lived until just before his death.
His literary debut came in 1938 with "Au Chateau d'Argol" ("The Castle of Argol"), known for a Surrealist tinge, which garnered praise from André Breton.
Infuriated by criticism of some of his early works, and tightly defensive of his privacy, Mr. Gracq turned against French literary circles and rejected the Goncourt Prize, for which he had been chosen in 1951 for "Le Rivage des Syrtes" ("The Opposing Shore"), his best-known novel.
"Far from fashions and society circles, he constructed original thought and a powerful body of work," President Nicolas Sarkozy said, calling Mr. Gracq "one of the greatest French writers of the 20th century."
All told, Mr. Gracq published 20 works.