Elected as member of the French Academy on December 13, 2001, in the 15th seat of Jacques Laurent, Frédéric Vitoux is Knight of the Legion of Honor, Officer of Arts and Letters and Commandor of the Order of Honor of the Italian Republic.
Frédéric Vitoux was born on August 19, 1944, in Vitry-aux-Loges (Loiret). He attended the secondary education studies at the Masillon school and, later on, at the Charlemagne high-school of Paris. Student in the Superior Mathematics class within the Charlemagne high-school, after the high-school graduation exam, he prefers to prepare himself for admission at IDHEC (Institute of High Cinematographic Studies), then he re-orients himself towards literary studies: Bachelor of Arts at the Sorbonne, then a 3rd degree PhD, in 1968, with a thesis dedicated to Louis Ferdinand Céline – the same thesis that, under a re-worked form, shall be published by Gallimard in the spring of 1973, in the collection ”Les Essais” (”Essays”) under the title Louis Ferdinand Céline, Misère et parole (Louis Ferdinand Cèline, Misery and Word).
In parallel with his studies, he regularly collaborates with the cinema magazine ”Positif”(”Positive”), starting from 1966.
In September 1973, his first novel, Cartes Postales (Postcards), is published by Gallimard.
In 1974, he writes for the recently appeared newspaper, ”Quotidien de Paris” (”Paris Daily”), as literary critic, then, four years later, he becomes part of the editorial team of the magazine ”Nouvel Observateur” (”The New Observer”) as literary critic and, later on, as cinematographic critic and, very soon, as literary reviewer specialized in the external field. He worked as editor, as literary council with the Stock Publishing House, in the 1970s, then in the reading committee with the Calmann-Lévy Publishing House, until the beginning of the 1990s.
He also published essays: a biographical study on Rossini, a work on Venice and several books dedicated to Céline, especially Bébert le Chat de Louis Ferdinand Céline (Bebert, Louis Ferdinand Céline’s Cat) (1976) and La Vie de Céline (Céline’s Life) (1988), the last one receiving the Goncourt Scholarship for Biography, the Femina-Vacaresco Prize and the Prize for Criticism awarded by the French Academy.
Frédéric Vitoux also wrote screenplays and the dialogues of a very free adaptation of the novel Sans Famille (Without Family), written by Hector Malot, broadcasted on the France 2 TV channel in December 2000, as well as the screenplay of a less free adaptation of Robinson Crusoe, also for France 2, two years later.
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