Author: Claude Farrère
Claude Farrère, pseudonym of Frédéric-Charles Bargone (27 April 1876, in Lyon – 21 June 1957, in Paris), was a French author of novels set in such exotic locations as Istanbul, Saigon, and Nagasaki. One of his novels, Les civilisés (The Civilized) won the Prix Goncourt for 1905. He was elected to a chair at the Académie française on 26 March 1935. Initially, however, he imitated his father, an infantry colonel who served in the French colonies: enlisting with the naval academy in 1894, he was made lieutenant in 1906 and was promoted to captain during 1918. He resigned the next year to concentrate on his writing career.
His works have largely fallen from favour, even among French readers. To date, fewer than five websites on the World Wide Web offer his works, and fewer than 100 websites give him even a cursory mention.
Perhaps the best known reference to Farrère today is the perfume "Mitsouko" by the long-lived perfumer Guerlain. Mitsouko was a beautiful Japanese woman whose name meant "mystery" and had an ill-fated love affair with an English officer during the beginning of the 20th Century. The story of Mitsouko and the officer is found in Farrère's novel La Bataille (1909). It was immediately translated into Serbian by Veljko M. Milićević under the title Boj (The Battle) and published in Sarajevo in 1912.
Farrère's name has also been given to a street in Sultanahmet, Istanbul for his favorable description of Turkish culture and Turks. Orhan Pamuk's publisher, İletişim Publishing, is situated on this street ("Klod Farer Caddesi" as spelled in Turkish).
A number of Farrère's novels were published internationally under his real name, Frédéric-Charles Bargone.
On 6 May 1932, at the opening of a Paris book fair at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, Farrère was in conversation with President Paul Doumer when several shots were fired by Paul Gorguloff, a mentally unstable Russian émigré. Doumer was fatally wounded. Farrère wrestled with the assassin until the police arrived.