The French journalist, poet, and
novelist, Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, was born on this day in 1874.
Lucie Delarue-Mardus photographed by Paul Nadar in 1914 (x).
Lucie was born on November 3, 1874
in Honfleur, Normandy. She was the youngest of six children born to
the middle-class Delarue-Mardus family. Her father was a successful lawyer,
which allowed for her and her siblings to be well educated in literature and
music. In 1880, the family moved to Paris; the city’s rich artistic community
allowed a young Lucie to decide that writing and art was to be her life’s
Throughout her life, Lucie wrote
over 70 books. She is most well-known for her poem “My Native Land,” which is a
love letter to her homeland of Normandy, and her 1930 novel The Angel and the Perverts. Despite
being married to the wealthy translator J.C. Mardrus, Lucie made no secret of
the fact that she was a lesbian. The most prominent lover of her life was Natalie
Clifford Barney, who is featured prominently in The Angel and the Perverts as
well as a series of love poem written by Lucie in 1902 and 1903. She was
eventually able to divorce her husband, leading to one admirer of hers to say, “She
is adorable. She sculpts, mounts to horse, loves a woman, then another, and yet
another. She was able to free herself from her husband and has never embarked
on a second marriage or the conquest of another man.”
In 1936, she became the very first
recipient of the Renée Vivien prize for women poets. By the time of her death
on April 26, 1945, Lucie Delarue-Mardrus had secured a legacy as one of the
pioneers of lesbian French literature.