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Definition: Simenon, Georges from Philip's Encyclopedia

Belgian novelist. He published more than 500 novels and many more short stories. His character Maigret, a Parisian police inspector, is one of the best-known creations in 20th-century detective fiction.

Summary Article: Simenon, Georges Joseph Christian
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary


French novelist

He was born in Liège, Belgium, and at the age of 16 began work as a journalist on the Gazette de Liège. He moved to Paris in 1922 and became a prolific writer of popular fiction, writing under many pseudonyms. He also wrote more serious psychological novels, much-admired but neglected in favour of almost a hundred short, economical novels featuring Jules Maigret, the dogged pipe-smoking detective, now known the world over, partly through film and television adaptations. The first two in the series were published in 1931: M. Gallet décède (Eng trans The Death of Monsieur Gallet, 1932) and Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien (Eng trans The Crime of Inspector Maigret, 1933). In Les Mémoires de Maigret (1960, Eng trans Maigret's Memoirs, 1963), Maigret is ostensibly the author, describing his childhood and career, and with laboured humour displaying slight resentment at the liberties taken by his creator. Simenon published more than 500 novels and innumerable short stories; he told The New Yorker, "I have no imagination; I take everything from life." Autobiographical writings include Quand j'étais vieux (1970, Eng trans When I Was Old, 1971) and Mémoires intimes (1981, Eng trans Intimate Memoirs, 1984).

  • Fallois, B de, Georges Simenon (1961, in French).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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Full text Article Simenon, Georges (1903 - 1989)
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