Mendès, Catulle

BORN 22 May 1841, Bordeaux, Gironde - DIED 7 Feb 1909, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Montparnasse Cimetière (division 22)

Catulle Mendès came from a family of Potuguese Jews. He grew up in Toulouse and after his arrival in Paris 1859 he became a protege of Théophile Gautier. His novel "Roman d'une nuit" was published in La Revue fantaisiste in 1861 and resulted in one month of imprisonment and a fine of 500 fracs because of indecency.

In 1863 his first volume of poems "Philoméla" was published. He married Gautier's daughter Judith in 1866. They separated soon afterwards and from 1869 onwards he lived with the composer Augusta Holmès. They had five children, but they split up in 1885. In 1886 he married the poet Jeanne Nette.

Mendès wrote novels like "Le Roi Vierge" (1880) and "Mephistophela" (1890). He also wrote plays, among them "Médée" (1898) and "Scarron" (1904). As supporter of Richard Wagner he wrote the book "Richard Wagner" in 1886. In 1892 he wrote the libretto for Debussy's first opera "Roderique et Chimnen". From 1893 onwards he was drama critic for Le Journal.

In February 1908 his body was found in the railway tunnel of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He had taken the train from Paris the night before and possibly he had opened the door too early. Suicide was suggested as well.

Related persons
• was the lover of Holmès, Augusta
• was loved by Rachilde
• admired Wagner, Richard


The grave of Catulle Mendès at the Cimetière Montparnasse, Paris.
Picture by Androom (18 Feb 2016)


Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Istria on the Internet - Prominent Istrians - Carlotta Grisi - Judith Gautier
Catulle Mendès - Wikipedia

Menter, Sophie

Published: 27 Nov 2016
Last update: 27 Nov 2016