Henri Thomas was born in 1912 and grew up in the Alsace/Lorraine region of France. He moved to Paris to attend the prestigious Henri IV high school, working with the noted essayist Alain. However, his teaching and academic career faltered and he dedicated himself to writing full-time from 1935. He mixed with many influential intellectuals and writers in Paris in the 1930s and 1940s, most notably Gide and Paulhan. His first novel "The Coal Bucket" was published by Gallimard in 1940, as were the majority of his literary production (novels, short stories, journals, poems, essays, etc.) for the next forty odd years. In the ‘forties he did his military service, got married, worked on a number of literary reviews and separated from his wife.
In 1945, Thomas took a job with the BBC in London and lived and worked there for about ten years. Also during this period he met the woman who would later become his second wife and their daughter was born while the couple was in London.
In 1958, he was hired as a professor at Brandeis University in the United States, where he lived and worked for two years.
After his return to France in 1960 he worked as a literary editor and translator at Gallimard and spent his time primarily in Paris and in Brittany, although after his second wife died in 1965, Thomas began to live mostly in Brittany. He moved to a rest home in Paris in 1991 after his health failed and died there in 1993.
Novels (partial list): “The Coal Bucket” (1940), “The Tutor” (1942), “Living Together” (1945), “The Deserters” (1951), “London Night” (1956), “John Perkins” (1960), “The Last Year” (1960), “The Promontory” (1961), “Perjury” (1964), “The Relic” (1969).
Short Story Collections (partial list): “The Target” (1955), “The Story of Pierrot and Several Others” (1960).
Poetry : “Poetry” (1970).
He translated Ernst Jünger's On the Marble Cliffs (1939) to French.
Internet address :
Société des lecteurs de Henri Thomas, ( président Patrice Bougon)
Books about Henri Thomas
Patrice Bougon and Marc Dambre ed. : Henri Thomas. L'écriture du secret, Champ Vallon, France, 2007, 288 p.