Christian Bourgois: French publisher of English writers


Christian Bourgois, publisher: born Antibes, France 21 September 1933; married first 1958 Agnes Troubl (two children, marriage dissolved), secondly Dominique Kaszemacher (two children); died Paris 20 December 2007.

The French publisher Christian Bourgois was responsible for bringing a huge and eclectic collection of works from authors of many nationalities, including Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Martin Amis, Hanif Kureishi and Salman Rushdie, to French and Canadian audiences.

Bourgois was born in 1933 in Antibes, southern France. He graduated from Sciences Po (the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris) in 1954, part of the same intake as Jacques Chirac. When it came to further studies, his father, a marine officer, feared that his son's preferred Ecole normale supérieure (ENS) seemed to be a "nest of leftists". Bourgois was therefore directed towards the Ecole nationale d'administration (ENA), a usual route into the French civil service. He did not relish the prospect of this conventional path and, in 1959, left the education system to join Ren Julliard and his eponymous publishing house.

In the same year, he married Agnès Troublé, an art student, who later became the fashion designer Agnès B. Although their marriage only lasted three years, she retains the B for Bourgois in her name and designer label .

On Julliard's death in 1962, Bourgois took over the management of a publisher which was soon to attract internationally known authors such as Gabriel García Márquez, whose earliest collection of short stories Pas de Lettre pour le Colonel (No One Writes to the Colonel) was published in French in 1963 but would not appear in English for another five years.

When Julliard was bought by Presses de la Cité in 1966, Bourgois decided to set up Christian Bourgois Editeur independently, together with the writer Dominique de Roux, whose own La mort de L.-F. Cline ("The Death of Cline") was one of their first productions. The Bourgois publishing house was spurred by the May 1968 Paris uprising, which saw a surge of interest in social sciences and related subjects, causing a significant growth of his list in those areas.

Around the same time, when the literature of the American beat generation was crossing the Atlantic, it was Bourgois who courageously brought the voices of Ginsberg (Kaddish, 1967) and Burroughs (La Machine Molle/Soft Machine, 1968) to French readers. His most controversial decision was to publish The Satanic Verses (1989) by Rushdie, despite fatwa threats to the life of the author and those who translated and published the book in other countries.

Between 1968 and 1992, Bourgois published around 1,500 titles under the 10/18 paperback imprint, including some 500 completely new works. Following a disagreement with company management in 1992, he set up independently once again, this time with his second wife, Dominique. He continued to attract new and established names, including British authors such as Amis and Kureishi. In recent years a group of 21 books by and about J.R.R. Tolkien, including The Lord of the Rings, have been stars of the Bourgois catalogue. Dominique Bourgois will continue to run the publishing house and look after the catalogue of books which represents Christian Bourgois's legacy to the literary world.

In December 2005, a two-month exhibition opened at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, titled "40 ans d'édition", which celebrated Bourgois's 40 years of publishing and highlighted the French and foreign authors he had discovered. Asked about his successes, he replied with characteristic modesty: "I simply knew how to use the opportunities and chances which were offered to me and to listen to advice."

Marcus Williamson

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Warehouse Developer / Analyst (SQL, SSIS, stored procedures)

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

Maths Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Long term Math Post - potentiall...

Science Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are currently recruiting for ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week