Biography Boris Vian

Boris Vian

photo of Boris Vian
  • Time Period1920 - 1959
  • Place
  • CountryFrance

Poet Biography

Boris Vian was born at Ville d'Avray in 1920. He was trained as a civil engineer, receiving his diploma in 1942. He was also a jazz trumpeter, film actor, cabaret singer, translator, inventor, record company executive & Transcendent Satrap of the College de Pataphysique. Vian's extraordinary work mirrored his fascinating life. He wrote novels, plays, songs, scenarios & one short opera.

He was one of the first to protest against the Algerian war with his song Le Deserteur, which was banned by the government. But the greatest controversy came in 1947 with the publication of J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (I spit on your grave). Vian submitted this work under the pseudonym Vernon Sullivan, and only claimed to be the translator. The novel about a mulatto who murders two wealthy white women in revenge for the lynching of his brother appeared to rave reviews. In 1948 sales hit the roof when the book was found in a hotel room beside a murder victim. Vian was dragged into court and admitted authorship. The French government banned the book in 1949 as "contrary to public morals" and sentenced Vian with a fine of Fr100,000. Ironically, Vian was to die suddenly after while watching a preview of the screen version in 1959 of which he didn't approve.

In his 39 years Boris Vian wrote 10 novels, 42 short stories, 7 theatre pieces, 400 songs, 4 poetry collections, 6 opera librettos, 20 translations of short stories and novels, and about 50 articles.