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Henri Bosco

Henri Bosco (1888–1976) was the fifth and only surviving child born to parents of mixed Provençal and Italian descent; his father, whose family was related to Saint John Bosco, made a career as an opera tenor. In 1907, Bosco left his native Avignon to enroll at the University of Grenoble; in 1913 he moved to Algeria to teach French, Latin, and Greek. He fought in World War I, then decamped for Naples in 1920, where he would teach French and write for the next ten years. His first novel, Pierre Lampédouze, was published in 1924, and in 1930 he returned to France and married Madeleine Rhodes. They moved to Rabat in 1931, where Bosco again taught classics, served as president of the Moroccan Alliance Française, and edited the literary journal Aguedal. Over the course of his career he published dozens of books of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and essays, including Le Mas Théotime (The Farm Théotime, 1945), L’Enfant et la rivière (The Boy and the River, 1945), Malicroix (1948, winner of the Prix des Ambassadeurs), and the biography Saint Jean Bosco (1959). Bosco was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times, and was awarded the Grand prix national des Lettres, the Grand prix de la Mediterranée, and the Grand prix de l’Académie française, as well as named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. In 1955, he and Madeleine returned to France, where they divided their time between a farmhouse (La Bastide) in Lourmarin and La Maison Rose in Nice. Bosco is buried in the cemetery in Lourmarin; Madeleine was buried next to him in 1985.