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Maurice Leblanc biography




Maurice Leblanc

(1864 - 1941)

French author and journalist, known as the creator of Arsène Lupin, master of disguises, the French gentleman-thief turned detective. Leblanc was a very prolific writer - he published over 60 novels and short stories. Arsène Lupin appeared first time in the crime story 'L'arrestation d'Arséne Lupin,' which was written for periodical Je sais tout in 1905.

Maurice Leblanc was born in Rouen as the son of a wealthy shipping owner. At the age of four the young Maurice was saved from a burning house. When the war of 1870 broke out, Maurice was six. He was sent to Scotland where he spent one year. After education in France, Germany (Berlin) and Italy, he worked for the family firm. Leblanc then studied law but abandoned his studies to become a pulp crime writer and police reporter for French periodicals. His first works appeared in newspapers, such as Echo de Paris. In 1887 Leblanc published his first novel, UNE FEMME, a psychological study that enjoyed only a moderate success. His early works showed the influence of Gustave Flaubert and Guy de Maupassant.

Although Leblanc had long career as a writer for periodicals, it was not until the creation of Arsène Lupin, when he gained in his forties international fame, equaled only by that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Lupin, the ultimate gentleman criminal, kept Leblanc busy for the next twenty-five years. His hero also met the great rival, Sherlock Holmes in Arsène Lupin Versus Holmlock Shears (1908) and outwitted the English master detective. Lupin's character was born by an accidental assignment from Pierre Laffitte, the publisher of a new journal, Je Sais Tout, which was modelled on the Strand, at that time an avant-garde magazine. Laffitte commissioned Leblanc to write a story with a Holmes or Raffles type hero. Instead, Leblanc created a character which was the opposite of both of them - a carefree rogue adventurer after the model of Ponson de Terrail's Rocambole (1866). First he called his hero Arsène Lopin, after a Parisian councilor, but when the real Lopin protested, he changed the name. 'L'arrestation d'Arséne Lupin' appeared in English in The Exploits of Arséne Lupin (1909). Other collections of short stories followed. Leblanc eventually became a member of the French Legion of Honour. He died in Perpignan on November 6, 1941.

The first Lupin novel, ARSENE LUPIN, GENTLEMAN CAMBRIOLEUR, appeared in 1907. It included a parody of Holmes, 'Holmlock Shears Arrives Too Late'. Lupin is a master of disguise, whose criminal activities have more or less "unselfish" grounds. If he steals a painting, it is so that it may be genuinely appreciated. Lupin amuses himself making fools of the police. His opponent is the inspector Ganimard from the Sûrete. Later in his career Lupin worked more in consort with the police, and in LES DENTS DU TIGRE (1921) he helped the Police Prefect Desmalions to capture a murderer. Leblanc himself became a consultant on the staff of the Paris Prefect of Police, and this shift reflected in his stories about Lupin. Among the best novels are 813 (1910), in which Lupin, accused of murder, heads the police investigation to clear himself by finding the true killer of a diamond king, and THE HOLLOW NEEDLE (1910), in which a bright lycée student manages to solve the riddle of Lupin and sees his treasure chamber. Lupin falls in love with a beautiful girl, promising to give up his life of crime, but she is shot by Holmes. THE SEVEN OF HEARTS (1908) is considered below the normal level of the series. LA COMTESSE DE CAGLIOSTRO (1924) told about Lupin at the age of twenty, when his name was Raoul d'Andrèsy. He loves wine, beautiful women, and diamonds, but after meeting the intriguing Countess Cagliostro his life is changed. Arsène Lupin's adventures have been basis for several movies and television series. In Japan the gentleman burglar has inspired a series about Lupin's grandson, Lupin III.


Information source: wikipedia