The love of words

Marcel Pagnol: his multiple talents

Poet, historian, translator, playwright, essayist: Marcel Pagnol, a man of many talents.

Marcel Pagnol : curiosité naturelle et passion pour l'écriture.
Marcel Pagnol : curiosité naturelle et passion pour l'écriture.


During his youth, Marcel Pagnol wrote 2 poems: “the cicada” and “easter eggs“.

What I admired about poetry was the difficulty overcome, and I simply thought that prose writers had resigned themselves to writing in prose because they were unable to find rhyme.

Marcel Pagnol

In January 1914, Marcel Pagnol launched a literary magazine called “Fortunio” with a few friends. He published, among others, some poems in it.

“… They were not poets. I inferred that I was one myself, that I had been stupid not to realize it earlier, and that I had to start my work the very next day if I wanted to know fame and fortune at twenty. I then saw myself photographed in a rich study, surrounded by precious books, under my own laurelled bust.”


In the 1960s, Marcel, who has always been passionate about history, immerses himself in the enigma of the Iron Mask. He is convinced that his work as a historian will make him a household name, more than his novels or films.

So the Princess received this stranger and sent him to her brother with a letter of recommendation? This is perfectly implausible!

Marcel Pagnol


Written according to circumstances, or in the form of various articles compiled later on, here are some of Marcel Pagnol’s texts, listed under the heading “essays”.

This chapter presents a number of prefaces written by Marcel for other authors, his own prefaces gathered under the title “CONFIDENCES”, the famous “CINEMATURGIE DE PARIS” published in several times and then reworked by Pagnol for his Complete Works, “INEDITS” presented by his son Frédéric and finally some articles.


List of dramatic works written by Marcel Pagnol:

  • Ulysse chez les Phéaciens” in collaboration with Arno Charles Brun. A play in verse, never performed on stage before.
  • “Catule” drama in verse, unpublished on stage.
  • Tonton, ou Joseph veut rester pur” in collaboration with Paul Nivoix. Vaudeville under the pseudonym of Castro. Marseille, theater des variétés, August 30, 1923.
  • “Un direct au coeur” in collaboration with Paul Nivoix. Comedy. Lille, Alhambra theater, March 1926.
  • Les Marchands de gloire” in collaboration with Paul Nivoix. Satirical comedy in five acts. Paris, Théâtre de la Madeleine, April 15, 1925.
  • “Jazz” (first title: Phaéton). La Petite Illustration, April 1927 Satirical comedy in four acts. Monte Carlo, Grand Théâtre, December 9, 1926. Paris, Théâtre des Arts, December 21, 1926.
  • Topaze” Satirical comedy in four acts. Paris, Théâtre des Variétés, October 9, 1926.
  • Marius” Comedy in three acts and six tableaux. Paris, Théâtre de Paris, March 9, 1929.
  • Fanny ” Comedy in three acts and four tableaux. Paris, Théâtre de Paris, December 5, 1931.
  • ” César “ (stage version). Comedy in three acts adapted from the film. Théâtre des Variétés, 1946.
  • Judas” Tragedy in five acts. Paris, Théâtre de Paris, October 6, 1955.
  • Fabien” Comedy in four acts. Paris, Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, September 28, 1956.
  • “The Baker’s Wife” (stage version). Comedy in four acts adapted from the film. Théâtre Mogador, September 12, 1985.
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“I did everything: producer, director of the studios and laboratories, director, director of the agencies… I lived in the studios. We ate at the canteen every day. When we shot, it was a huge table: there were actors, technicians, stagehands … “.

“I kept telling them: “My children, don’t worry! If it’s not good, we’ll redo it. It cost practically nothing to redo; it only cost the film. We didn’t risk anything; we shot, we projected, we said: “no, it’s not good” and we started again. The grips attended the screenings, they lived around the studios; our cinema was a family thing.”

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All Marcel Pagnol’s prose texts have been grouped under this heading, except for those classified in the “essayist” chapter. Thus, one will find there, first and foremost, novels, but also some short stories and “Marcel Pagnol’s Sermons” amicably drawn from his work and collected by his friend, Reverend Father Norbert Calmels.

Here for the first time I write in prose… By my way of writing alone I want to reveal myself completely, and if I am not sincere… I will have wasted my time wasting paper.

Marcel Pagnol


A distinguished Latinist and Anglicist, Marcel Pagnol greatly admired Shakespeare and found in Virgil all the Mediterranean inspiration that permeated his own work.

Pascite, ut ante, boves, pueri. Submittite tauros.

  • “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, with a preface. Nagel (1947).
  • Virgil’s “Les Bucoliques”, translation in verse, with a preface and notes. Grasset (1958).
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare with a preface. Club de l’Honnête Homme (1971).

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