1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Erckmann-Chatrian

21651921911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 9 — Erckmann-Chatrian

ERCKMANN-CHATRIAN, the joint names of two French writers whose collaboration made their work that of, so to speak, one personality. Émile Erckmann (1822–1899) was born on the 20th of May 1822 at Phalsbourg, and Louis Gratien Charles Alexandre Chatrian (1826–1890) on the 18th of December 1826 at Soldatenthal, Lorraine. In 1847 they began to write together, and continued doing so till 1889. Chatrian died in 1890 at Villemomble near Paris, and Erckmann at Lunéville in 1899. The list of their publications is a long one, ranging from the Histoires et contes fantastiques (1849; reprinted from the Démocrate du Rhin), L’Illustre Docteur Mathéus (1859), Madame Thérèse (1863), L’Ami Fritz (1864), Histoire d’un conscrit de 1813 (1864), Waterloo (1865), Le Blocus (1867), Histoire d’un paysan (4 vols., 1868–1870), L’Histoire du plébiscite (1872), to Le Grand-père Lebigue (1880); besides dramas like Le Juif polonais (1869) and Les Rantzau (1882). Without any special literary claim, their stories are distinguished by simplicity and genuine descriptive power, particularly in the battle scenes and in connexion with Alsatian peasant life. They are marked by a genuine democratic spirit, and by real patriotism, which developed after 1870 into hatred of the Germans. The authors attacked militarism by depicting the horrors of war in the plainest terms.

See also J. Claretie, Erckmann-Chatrian (1883), in the series of “Célébrités contemporaines.”