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...some excellent articles

about the Works of Juliette Benzoni 

 

1995 - 2008
 

The Proust Questions by Juliette Benzoni  2008

translated from French by Frédérique - Claudia - Linda  Les filles des grands chemins

Your favourite virtue
The cult of friendship

Your favourite qualities in a man?
The courage, the one of every day...

Your favourite qualities in a woman?
Comprehension

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
That they are my friends

Your main fault?
Laziness

Your favourite hobby?
Reading

Your idea of happiness?
It has been a while since I've given up on that

Your idea of a great misfortune?
I
t happened; I lost my son

What would you like to be?
Resilient

Where would you like to live?
Nowhere else than in France

Your favourite flower?
Rose

Your favourite colour?
Blue

Your favourite bird?
I am afraid, I like them all

Your favourite prose authors?
From Alexandre Dumas to Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt to Agatha Christie!

Your favourite poets?
Verlaine, Racine, Charles Dickens...ect

Your favourite heroes in fiction?
Cyranno de Bergerac and Hercule Poirot

Your favourite heroines in fiction?
The ones of my novels and Bécassine!

Your favourite composers?
Mozart, Chopin, Berlioz,Verdi...

Your favourite painters?
Monet, Goya, Turner, Boldini

Your heros in real life?
None left

Your heroines in world history?
Jeanne d'Arc

Your favourite names?
France, Aurore,Victoire and many more...

What do you hate the most
Hypocrisy

What do you dislike about yourself?
I'd rather not know

Your favourite food?
Toasted bread, butter, sausage and roasted chicken!

Which historic characters do you despise the most?
The treacherous ones

Which military event do you admire the most?
Desperate battles like the Tiberiade (in the XII th century)

What reform do you like best?
Women's suffrage

Which talent would you like to have?
Maria Callas voice

How do you want to die?
Fast

What's your present state of mind?
I'm tired

Which faults can you forgive?
gormandizing and pious lies

Your motto?
Do right and have well

A great wine?
Romanée-Conti!

If you were a politician who would you be?
But that is the whole point, I am not!

Have you noticed the apocryphal question?
No, should I?

 

France's History 2005

Text by Mohammed Aïssaoui in Le Figaro.fr

Juliette Benzoni : The death of Charles the Bold in 1477
« I believe that the death of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, on January 5, 1477 achieved to build France »


I worship the Image 2004

Text by Mohammed Aïssaoui in Le Figaro.fr magazine littéraire.

The Romancière Juliette Benzoni
We see on the article below Juliette Benzoni entering her favourite Library "librairie Monaco" at Saint-Mandé. It is here that she chose many of the books she needed for her researches. In the article we learn that Juliette had appreciated very much the owner of the library Jean-Claude Monaco - who as Juliette explains in the article, did not sell books just like a a kilo of cherries.
The author chose on that day three books 1. Toute beauté est singulaire, 2. Fresques des villas romaines and 1. Pharaon.

 

 

Juliette Benzoni, quelle passion ! 2003

L'article Pierre Vavasseur dans Le Parisien Culture et Loisirs

Elle est la reine du roman historique, un genre dont les Français raffolent. A 83 ans, Juliette Benzoni publie « Olivier ou les Trésors templiers », dernier tome de sa trilogie sur les templiers. Nous l'avons rencontrée chez elle, volubile et heureuse.

«SECOUEZ la porte ! » Cet après-midi-là, à Saint-Mandé (Val-de-Marne), on a beau secouer la petite porte en fer du jardin de la maison de Juliette Benzoni, elle ne s'ouvre pas. « Secouez, secouez ! » Elle s'ouvre enfin d'un coup d'épaule. La petite dame hilare, au bout de l'allée, c'est Juliette. Oliver, son golden retriever, a l'air de s'amuser autant qu'elle. « Entrez, installez-vous, poussez les coussins, vous voulez du café ? Des petits gâteaux ? Un schnaps ? »

A 83 ans, la romancière de l'histoire la plus lue dans le monde - une soixantaine d'ouvrages, trois cents millions d'exemplaires vendus ! -, qui publie « Olivier ou les Trésors templiers », dernier tome de sa trilogie « les Chevaliers », tient une forme à tout casser. Sa maison est claire et cossue. Dans le salon, il y a un portrait dessiné de De Gaulle, des livres bien rangés, une méridienne (ce canapé où s'alanguit Mme Récamier dans le portrait de David) mais aussi un large poste de télévision à écran plat. « Les dates, ça relève de l'arithmétique et l'arithmétique, c'est mon point faible » Juliette a de la reconnaissance pour la télévision. Elle n'a pas oublié « La caméra explore le temps » ou « les Rendez-vous de l'histoire ». Et tandis qu'elle vous tend un monceau de macarons, elle s'enflamme pour Alain Decaux. « Ça a été une révélation ! Avec rien, ce bonhomme assis derrière une table, une caméra braquée sur lui, vous tenait en haleine une heure et demie ! » Elle, elle ne saurait pas faire.

« La première fois que j'ai donné une conférence, c'était à Montluçon, à l'issue d'un dîner du Rotary. Pile en face de moi, il y avait une dame qui dormait. » A l'école, elle était nulle en dates. « J'en connaissais trois : 1415, Azincourt ; 1515, Marignan ; 1815, Waterloo. Les dates, ça relève de l'arithmétique et l'arithmétique, c'est mon point faible. » En revanche, elle n'a jamais oublié ses 9 ans. « J'étais en neuvième à Fénelon. Je suis tombée sur une gravure de Jeanne d'Arc sur le bûcher. Le choc ! J'ai voulu en savoir plus et c'est parti comme ça. Quand mon père a vu que ça m'intéressait tellement, il m'a dit : Lis donc ça. C'était les Trois Mousquetaires . J'ai dévoré.

Après, tout y est passé. » « Olivier ou les Trésors templiers » clôt un sujet qui la passionne entre tous. « On dit toujours le trésor. C'est une hérésie ! Il y a autant de trésors que de commanderies. Et des commanderies, il y en avait deux mille et des poussières en France ! » La voilà dans sa bulle à remonter le temps. Elle évoque Philippe le Bel, la maréchaussée lancée sur les traces des templiers, entre dans les détails, ouvre à haute voix de nouvelles pistes. Et repasse les macarons.
Quand écrit-elle ? « Tous les jours que Dieu fait, dimanches et jours de fête compris. Je me lève à 6 h 30, je me promène avenue Daumesnil avec mon chien. A 7 h 45, je monte et je travaille. » Ses prochains livres sont déjà en route. « Les Joyaux de la sorcière » évoqueront la belle-mère de Marie de Médicis. « Ensuite, je retournerai chez Louis XIII pour un bouquin qui s'appellera Marie des intrigues : c'est la duchesse de Chevreuse. »

De quoi faire un jour un grand film ? Elle éclate de rire. « J'ai eu une expérience au cinéma ! Mon histoire se passait en 1413 à Paris, pendant une révolution de l'université. Le metteur en scène l'avait transposée en 1968. La première scène se passait dans des étuves avec un tas de jolies filles toutes nues ! Mon éditeur suédois ne voulait plus quitter le plateau et moi je pleurais comme une fontaine. Non, non, le cinéma, c'est comme les conférences, ça n'est pas pour moi ! » Elle vous accompagne au portail, l'ouvre sans difficulté. « De ce côté-là, c'est plus simple. » Elle rit encore.

Juliette Benzoni est un auteur heureux. « Olivier ou les Trésors templiers », tome 3 des « Chevaliers », de Juliette Benzoni, Ed. Plon, 468 pages, 21.
 

 

Arsenic and old Lace 2003

Original French text by Jacques de Saint-Victor in Le Figaro.fr Literature Figaro
translated by Frédérique and Linda

Fifty years later, her novels, at the rate of two per year, are still among the bestsellers. The recipe of this success? A preference of others, a strong sense of images – «I always thought for the camera” – a passion for the mysteries »

«
 It’s a little early for an obituary, right? » At the age of 82, Juliette Benzoni is still healthy and keeps her sense of humour. In her small, house at Saint-Mandé, built in a quiet street and leads to the Zoo of Vincennes, the Queen of Historical Romance lives alone with her daughter. She resembles these novelists from across the Channel, which, between two cups of tea, shed blood in their books and then have one more slice of pudding. Stroke of luck, Juliette Benzoni loves English police officers. With her, you do not enter in an English Manor, or walk in the docks of London - but through the gates of the Tuileries Palace in 1792 or in a Commandery of Knights Templar in the Provence. After 60 historical books – “or a little more, I have lost count ” – 300 million copies sold worldwide, Juliette Benzoni, open and energetic, has kept all the enthusiasm and freshness of her debut when she was a writer of love stories for the magazine Confidences. “The more I study History and its mysteries, the more I am passionate.”

She has just finished the second volume of a great saga about knights which will be in bookstores in the beginning of March and she is already writing the next one. “This morning, I was immersed in the terrible trials of the Templars,” she says with a gourmand expression on her face. Despite her success, Juliette Benzoni remains an unknown star. The litterature TV shows are sulky with her. She faces this relative indifference with humour. “Once I was interviewed by Elkabbach (French journalist) because I was the one who-has-never-been-invited-by-Pivot“ (the most popular literature TV show host). She had all the same some satisfactions of self-esteem, especially when Ronald Reagan (President of USA from 1981-1989) wrote in person to congratulate her for her book series about the American Independence war, Le Gerfaut (The Lure of the Falcon). She confessed simply “that pleased me very much.”

It’s not to make money that motivates her. Her life is simple and not luxurious. She travels once a year to a small hotel at Trinité-sur-mer (Brittany). In addition, for some foul legal reasons, she does not even own her house! Juliette writes first for herself – to escape the presence. She has written about almost every period of French History without going ever beyond the 30′s. She admits that she has never enjoyed her time period. “Actually, I do not want to relive what I have lived. “Indeed the Queen of edition has not been spared by life. A father ruined in 1941, two dead husbands, her only son died in tragic circumstances, Juliette Benzoni said very modest, that she had her share of suffering. It is precisely because of these blow of fate that led her to start writing. “When I was married, I used to live in the Province and I read a lot. But I did not believe I was able to publish.

After the death of her first husband in the ’50s, fate decided for her. To raise her two children, she had to seek a job. After an ad in the newspaper Le Figaro, she started writing. Afterwards everything changed. She was asked to write another Saga in the style of  “Angelique” (by Anne and Serge Golon) The Catherine Series became her first of many successful bestsellers - plus four very successful television series. Her books are translated in over twenty languages.
Fifty years later, her novels, at the rate of two per year, are still among the bestsellers. The recipe of this success? A preference of others, a strong sense of images – “I always thought for the camera” – a passion for the mysteries, “I am a Scorpio, so I like riddles“, and great discipline. “I try to write three pages a day, Sundays and holidays included. It became a habit. Her life revolves around writing. Each book seems to be a new challenge for her. “You know, everything is so short-lived ”. Despite her success, she continues to work hard. Her works require two years of documentation. Numerous history books encumbering her whole house from the cellar to the bedrooms of the first floor, where she writes in the morning - from the corridors to the summerhouse in the garden. She is haunted by the danger of anachronism, details which are false. Without giving names, she was surprised to see young historical novelists who makes so startling anachronisms. “How can an editor accept this? “

But Queen Juliette is generally a good friend because she loves people, stories, life. Mainly, she enjoys the pleasures of most French people. She plays sometimes the Lottery, watches TV – especially “Rive droite Rive gauche” broadcasted by Thierry Ardisson – and, while pretending not to be interested in politics, she shows Gaullist beliefs (the portrait of General De Gaulle thrones in her library) and Christian beliefs. “But be sure that I am entirely against G. Bush. How dare to ask for prayers to God - then go to bombard a nation – that is outrageous ”

Her readings are traditional: Dumas, Stendhal, Barbey d’Aurevilly or La Varende. All authors who have attempted first to entertain their audience, whatever the cost, despite the ups and downs of their own life. The true pain, she wants to keep for herself, to not spread them in her books. “This withholding is perhaps the result of an education.“ Distant descendant of General Mangin, Juliette Benzoni belongs to the France attached to its roots, a bit nostalgic for Royalty -” it’s true that I do not like the Revolution “- but who is not sectarian, and who, as Napoléon said, ” assumes everything from Clovis to Robespierre.” There still remains a bit of the “old France” perfume” who surprises us by being well-off in the shrewdness of the Elite, she said, as it should be, Madame to talk to the Countess of Paris, she uses some outdated terms, evokes “the year of grace 1950
...

But this is not snobbery; she is only living in the past. After all, her tastes are unceremoniously. Also she regrets that Alexandre Dumas, her master, is now resting at the Panthéon. “He must be bored there. It is imposing and sinister.  Everything of the opposite of what she loves.

BIO EXPRESS :
30 October 1920 : born in Paris
1953 :
First collaboration at CONFIDENCES 
1962
: Debut of the Catherine Series
1973
: Prix Alexandre Dumas
1983 :
Prix de l'Académie française Louis-Berthoux 
1988 :
Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite


Original French article...

 

Juliette Benzoni - Why I love Alexandre Dumas 2002

Text by Juliette Benzoni in Magazine littéraire

It was my father who, one fine day, put the Three Musketeers into my hand, saying that it should please me. Being himself a bit of Alexander Dumas and regretting a little that I was not a boy, there was a kind of formal notice ... J.B

For the 200th Anniversary of Alexandre Dumas, the "Magazine littéraire" had chosen some authors, to write about the famous Alexandre Dumas, writer of such classical books like The three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Christo, La Dame de Monsereau, The Black Tulip.  Juliette Benzoni (decorated with the Prix Alexander Dumas in 1973) was amongst them. Her contribution to the readers was Why I love Alexandre Dumas.

 


Benzoni, the fiery feature writer 2001

Text by O.D in Le Figaro.fr
translated from French to English by Frédérique and
Linda


You cannot blame an author to write too much. This is silly because this is his job. That would be like blaming a butcher to have cut too many sirloins during his day. If the meat is good quality, no matter the flow. On the other hand, has anyone ever criticized Mozart to have too much composed or Picasso did too many paintings? No. It seems far away the time, when our writers were publishing four, five, six books a year. Victor Hugo, Balzac, Alexandre Dumas and close to us, Georges Simenon, who published under their name or under various pseudonyms something like 512 novels.

Today, we get worried about an author when more than one book a year is published. The period likes smallness. Rarity is a sign of quality.

That was true for Lautreamont or Baudelaire. When you look, for example, at the page "from the same author" for the academician Henri Troyat, you are amazed by such a production. Not less than ninety books – an average two each year. You tell yourselves that it's not much, twice a year. That it is possible. You must love to tell stories, not limit your imagination, leave your inspiration's tap open while avoiding overflow. "These are the subjects who request me," says Troyat when he was asked why he wrote so much. And subjects may come from a conversation with a friend, from reading the news in brief. It's simple. You only need a cup of coffee, to get up early (7:00 A.M for Henri Troyat, 6:00 A.M for Juliette Benzoni, 6:30 A.M for Madeleine Chapsal). Generally, these prolific authors do plan nothing; write a book at a stretch as blood or nerve flow. The getting up record man is Max Gallo. From 4:00 A.M, at his home, this man is already at work. Since 1964, around 70 books of his have been published. This year, between November 2000 and May 2001, four volumes of his saga "Les Patriotes" (Fayard editor) have been published.(...) According to the famous adage "the future belongs to those who get up early," these graph maniacs somehow insomniacs like to get up with the rooster.

Every morning in her home at Saint-Mandé, near Paris, Juliette Benzoni, chouanne of historical novel, sits also at her desk. Two or three cups of coffee - for two or three hours of writing. No more. Ninety to one hundred pages a month. Like Max Gallo, she writes a book from the beginning till the end and then goes over it again. A book asks her about seven months for around six hundred pages: "I give myself a month to do nothing and then two weeks to review my pages, she says. I write a lot because I am getting older. I have lots of stories to tell, I have six or seven in my drawers. I need some cigarettes, and cigarillos which are convenient because you do not swallow the smoke. In general, I take notes and then I tape directly on my LCD typewriting machine. Then I give the manuscript to my daughter who types it again on her computer and gives a floppy disk to my editor. The computer is an enemy for me. The first time I have opened one, I saw appearing on the screen "going to sleep", and then you understand ... "(...)

Therefore, how does the literary criticism react as it is already crumbling under the weight of increasing novel production? It grinds. In editorial offices, it is not unusual to hear that kind of remark, "Oh, again a book of so-and-so" Or "Again this one! “ So, they prefer to forget. They do a great article for the first volume of the new saga of so-and-so, and then they stand aside. If the author has certain notoriety, the public will wait for the continuation. This is the case for most of these pen-addicts. The books of Gallo, Chapsal and Benzoni expect nothing from literary critics. They have their cruising speed. Such is the strange paradox of these best-sellers: the less there are readers, the more they are published, the more they sell.

 

Queen Juliette 1995

Text by Anne-Marie Koenig  in Point de Vue
Translated by Linda and Frédérique in 2013

Juliette is 18 years old, has golden hair and eyes where even the sea itself would drown in. On her throat throbs a diamond, the legendary Chrystal of Charles Quint, responsible for much bloodshed and offered to her by one of the last princes of Europe before he died.

And even though Juliette Benzoni
would be 75 years old, white haired and no admirer who would have offered her a secular stone? Do we have no more the right to spin a tale?

For over thirty years, Juliette Benzoni writes to make us dream. Married at the beginning of the war to a doctor from Dijon, soon widowed, she starts writing short stories for Confidences. Bit by bit, she will combine her two passions, history and writing. Originally her first book was published in France-Soir as a Cliffhanger. « Les Reines tragiques » (The tragic Queens) released in 1962. Since then, two or three novels appear every year, like beads on a necklace without an end. More than fifty titles.

Built with the stones of history, from the medieval times to the Twentieth  Century, her novels require long researches. Autodidact historian and passionate, Juliette Benzoni follows the trail of her documents with the flair of a detective, she goes to a city or another, in France or elsewhere, snooping around in bookshops, libraries, museums, archives, studying the maps of the epoch and the old editions of Baedeker, confronting places, sniffing trails. Her latest novel, « Le Boiteux de Varsovie » (The cripple of Warsaw) captures the intertwining streets and the ambiance of the London docks in 1920-1930 with the accuracy of a tailored hat.

“With the great broadcasts on television, people have been sensitized to History. One cannot permit oneself to tell the audience nonsense.“

What would those castles be if no knight penetrates them with the din of their arms? These jewels, if they don’t shine on beauties skin? These secret staircases if no trap is plotted? Love at first sight and passionate love, betrayal and bloody tragedies. In a historic décor firmly set, the novelist leads with a devilishly tempo the fiery destriers of sentimental and warlike epics. The dreams of Juliette are as real as she is herself.

Love, the great affair ! Life without Love is nothing more than a carcass. Love, the affair of the women. The heroines of Juliette are beautiful to leave the devil dumbfounded, and the men are virile to condemn the holiest. Far from a soppy image, passion is worth all risks. And it is not so simple. At least in the novels of Juliette Benzoni, where feelings get tangled in political intrigues or detective stories. Avid reader of detective fictions, the novelist holds the suspense with the same jubilation as the great ladies of the Anglo-Saxon thrillers.

At Saint-Mandé, the atmosphere of her pavilion seems to be imbued with all these legends she invented, more authentic than the real. Ancient and modern paintings, bound books, icons, decanters and glass bottles, each object can be the starting point for a romantic flight. The hanging chandelier reflects improbable waltzes. A Portrait of General de Gaulle, a photo of her second husband who also died, a painting of an enigmatic woman’s face: pieces of history. Behind the windows framed by green plants, a Wisteria is tied to the railing. On the table, a bouquet is withering away. Juliette Benzoni lives here since 1973, but the places do not take centuries to forge a soul. Some soothing sailboats on the walls, no doubt a longing for the sea, of that Cotentin where she likes to spend her holiday and where episodes of « Treize Vents » were planted.

The head in the dreams, the heart to ferret out all the Romeos and her feet firmly on the ground, Juliette Benzoni runs her boat in the tumultuous current of her sagas with professional rigor. Of a formidable punctuality, she keeps to the day the editorials deadlines. A few months for a novel of 400 pages, a fortnight to rewrite everything. At the very least, twenty thousand pages…
She loves to embark with her characters for a long cruise. With the exception of Un aussi long chemin, her novels run for over several volumes: 4 for La Florentine, 7 for Catherine, 5 (6) for Marianne, 3 for Les Dames du Méditerranée Express. The second volume of « Le Boiteux de Varsovie », her latest book, will soon be followed by a third.

Writing novels does not prevent from enjoying life, with full-blown sorrows, with meetings and little pleasures. Gourmand of gardens and of good wines, a good cordon Bleu, the novelist enjoys despite the drama a great delight in conversations.
La Rose d’York in tight black and white, little jewellery, maybe she is mourning for these times of courtesy and elegance. The charm of Juliette has no age.
Up there the dog sleeps. The forest of Bois de Vincennes is not far. Cops emerge out of the fog…






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