George Letton Biography & Facts
Georges Joseph Christian Simenon (French: [ʒɔʁʒ simnɔ̃]; 13 February 1903 – 4 September 1989) was a Belgian writer. A prolific author who published nearly 500 novels and numerous short works, Simenon is best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret.
Early life and education
Simenon was born at 26 rue Léopold (now number 24) in Liège to Désiré Simenon and his wife Henriette Brüll. Désiré Simenon worked in an accounting office at an insurance company and had married Henriette in April 1902. Although Simenon was born on Friday 13 February 1903, superstition resulted in his birth being registered as having been on the 12th. This story of his birth is recounted at the beginning of his novel Pedigree.
The Simenon family traces its origins back to Belgian Limburg. Simenon could trace his line back to peasants living in the area since as early as 1580. His mother had origins from Limburg, the Netherlands and Germany while his father was of Walloon origin. One of his mother's most notorious ancestors was Gabriel Brühl, a criminal who preyed on Limburg from the 1720s until he was hanged in 1743. Later, Simenon would use Brühl as one of his many pen names.In April 1905, two years after Simenon's birth, the family moved to 3 rue Pasteur (now 25 rue Georges Simenon) in Liège's Outremeuse neighbourhood. Simenon's brother Christian was born in September 1906 and eventually became their mother's favourite child, much to Simenon's chagrin. Later, in February 1911, the Simenons moved to 53 rue de la Loi, also in the Outremeuse. In this larger home, the Simenons were able to take in lodgers. Typical among them were apprentices and students of various nationalities, giving the young Simenon an important introduction to the wider world; this marked his novels, notably Pedigree and Le Locataire.
At the age of three, Simenon learned to read at the Saint-Julienne nursery school. Then, between 1908 and 1914, he attended the Institut Saint-André. In September 1914, shortly after the beginning of the First World War, he began his studies at the Collège Saint-Louis, a Jesuit high school.
In February 1917, the Simenon family moved to a former post office building in the Amercoeur neighbourhood. June 1919 saw another move, this time to the rue de l'Enseignement, again back in the Outremeuse neighbourhood.
Using his father's heart condition as a pretext, Simenon decided to put an end to his studies in June 1918, not even taking the Collège Saint-Louis' year-end exams. He subsequently worked a number of very short-term odd jobs.
In January 1919, the 15-year-old Simenon took a job at the Gazette de Liège, a newspaper edited by Joseph Demarteau. While Simenon's own beat only covered unimportant human interest stories, it afforded him an opportunity to explore the seamier side of the city, including politics, bars, and cheap hotels but also crime, police investigations and lectures on police technique by the criminologist Edmond Locard. Simenon's experience at the Gazette also taught him the art of quick editing. He wrote more than 150 articles under the pen name "G. Sim." He began submitting stories to Le Matin in the early 1920s.Simenon's first novel, Au Pont des Arches, was written in June 1919 and published in 1921 under his "G. Sim" pseudonym. Writing as "Monsieur Le Coq", he also published more than 800 humorous pieces between November 1919 and December 1922. He stopped writing for the Gazette in December 1922.During this period, Simenon's familiarity with nightlife, prostitutes, drunkenness and carousing increased. The people he rubbed elbows with included anarchists, bohemian artists and even two future murderers, the latter appearing in his novel Les Trois crimes de mes amis. He also frequented a group of artists known as "La Caque". While not really involved in the group, he did meet his future wife Régine Renchon through it.
From 1921 to 1934 he used a total of 17 pen names while writing 358 novels and short stories.
In France, 1922–1945
Simenon's father died in 1922 and this served as the occasion for the author to move to Paris with Régine Renchon (hereafter referred to by her nickname "Tigy"), at first living in the 17th Arrondissement, not far from the Boulevard des Batignolles. He became familiar with the city, its bistros, cheap hotels, bars and restaurants. More importantly, he also came to know ordinary working-class Parisians. Writing under numerous pseudonyms, he found his creativity beginning to pay financial dividends.
Simenon and Tigy returned briefly to Liège in March 1923 to marry. Despite his Catholic upbringing, Simenon was not a believer. Tigy came from a thoroughly non-religious family. However, Simenon's mother insisted on a church wedding, forcing Tigy to become a nominal convert, learning the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Despite their father's lack of religious convictions, all of Simenon's children would be baptised as Catholics. Marriage to Tigy, however, did not prevent Simenon from having liaisons with numerous other women, including, perhaps most famously, Josephine Baker.
A reporting assignment had Simenon on a lengthy sea voyage in 1928, giving him a taste for boating. In 1929, he decided to have a boat built, the Ostrogoth. Simenon, Tigy, their cook and housekeeper Henriette Liberge, and their dog Olaf lived on board the Ostrogoth, travelling the French canal system. Henriette Liberge, known as "Boule" (literally "Ball," a reference to her slight pudginess) was romantically involved with Simenon for the next several decades and would remain a close friend of the family, really part of it.
In 1930, the most famous character invented by Simenon, Commissaire Maigret, made his first appearance in a piece in Detective written at Joseph Kessel's request. This first ever Maigret detective story was written while boating in The Netherlands, particularly in and around the Dutch town of Delfzijl. A statue of Maigret in Delfzijl is a perpetual reminder of this.
1932 saw Simenon travel extensively, sending back reports from Africa, eastern Europe, Turkey, and the Soviet Union. In 1933 he interviewed Leon Trotsky in Istanbul. A trip around the world followed in 1934–35.
Between 1932 and 1936, Simenon, Tigy, and Boule lived at La Richardière, a 16th-century manor house in Marsilly at the Charente-Maritime département. The house is evoked in Simenon's novel Le Testament Donadieu. At the beginning of 1938, he rented the villa Agnès in La Rochelle, and published Le Suspect, and then, in August, purchased a farm house in Nieul-sur-Mer (also in the Charente-Maritime) where his and Tigy's only child, Marc, was born in 1939.
Simenon lived in the Vendée during the Second World War. Simenon's conduct during the war is a matter of considerable controversy, with some scholars inclined to view him as having been a collaborator with the Germans while others disagree, viewing Simenon as having been an a.... Discover the George Letton popular books. Find the top 100 most popular George Letton books.