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MAURICE LEBLANC

1864-1941
French

"La pendule égrenait le chapelet infini des secondes.
The pendulum echoed the infinite rosary of seconds."

Maurice Marie Émile Leblanc was born 11 November 1864 in Rouen, Normandy, the second child of Emile Leblanc, who was of Italian ancestry, and Blance Brohy.He was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen and studied in Germany and Italy before dropping out of law school.

After leaving education, Leblanc settled in Paris and started his literary career. He began writing fiction, his novels receiving critical acclaim but little commercial success. He had numerous short stories published in various French periodicals, but it is for the Arsène Lupin stories that Leblanc is best known.

Created as a reaction to the hugely successful Sherlock Holmes stories, Arsène Lupin was a fictional gentleman thief turned detective. The character was originally called Arsène Lupin, after a Parisian councilor, until the politician complained and the name had to be changed. The first Arsène Lupin story, L'arrestation d'Arsène Lupin, appeared in a series of short stories serialised in the French magazine Je Sais Tout in 1905.

The character proved to be a great success and by 1907 Leblanc had graduated to writing full length Lupin novels. The novels gave Leblanc the fame and fortune that had previously eluded him and he effectively dedicated the rest of his career to the Lupin character. Athough he created other characters over the years, such as private eye Jim Barnett, he always returned to Lupin, often merging the new characters with Lupin. Leblanc once said "Lupin follows me everywhere. He is not my shadow. I am his shadow." There are twenty volumes in the Arsène Lupin series written by Leblanc himself, plus five authorized sequels written by the notorious mystery writing team of Boileau-Narcejac. Lupin's adventures have also been the basis for several movies and television series and he has featured in theatre productions.

When he wasn’t writing Lupin novels, Leblanc also wrote two science fiction novels: Les Trois Yeux (1919) and Le Formidable Evènement (1920). He was a prolific writer, publishing over 60 novels and short stories in his career.

Leblanc was awarded the Légion d'Honneur for his services to literature in 1912. He died in Perpignanon on 6th November 1941, having fled there with his family to escape the German occupation. Leblanc is buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Wordsworth Editions publish An Arsène Lupin Omnibus.

TITLES BY MAURICE LEBLANC

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