Death of François Bott, literary critic, journalist and novelist

Lover of good words, greedy of the verb and elegant of the pen, the author of some thirty works died on September 22, at the age of 87.

Born in 1935 in Laon (Aisne), the son of an SFIO militant doctor, François Bott entered in 1958 in France-Night, then the main French newspaper by circulation; then it goes to The express then monthly The literary magazinewhich he founded in the late 1960s, before joining and running the world of booksbetween 1983 and 1991. From this journalistic experience and his long relationship with books and writers, in 2010 he extracted a moving confessional story, The Crossing of Days. Memories of the Republic of Letters (1958-2008).

Excellent portraitist (see extreme women Y Are we coming back from Montevideo?), boxing lover and crazy about the “little queen”, François Bott left us a good repertoire of mischief books where erudition was tinged with poetry, fantasy and humor. And this since the publication of his first book, dedicated to one of his teachers, the communist dandy Roger Vailland, author of The law Y 325,000 francs (The Seasons by Roger Vailland, in 1969). Curious about everything, Bott had even “compromised”, in 2016, the imaginary and intimate memories of the painter Van Dongen, on the verge of death (The last tango of Kees Van Dongen).

A few years earlier, this unconditional fan of the Stade de Reims, in love with Deauville, had published his most intimate story: the summers of lifewhere he sang, the time of a season, the “precarious pleasures, the things here below”.

fancy pen

Within writers in dressing gown, Bott, always with his elegant pen, had sketched some forty authors on the spot, constituting as many literary fugues, including Boris Vian, Joseph Kessel, Marcel Aymé and Raymond Chandler. He had thus portrayed Jacques Prévert: “He traversed the century with his eternal cigarette butt, and his ghost still haunts Paris, praising the passions of youth or proof (smile) of life’s impediments. With particular antipathy for admirals, and much affection for plumbers-cincists…»

A lover of good words, greedy of words, he had published in the twilight of his life a collection of thoughts, observations, maxims, under the title Aphorisms for the bus and the subway (Roundtable). could read: “Since life is a journey, as Madame de Staël affirms, here are about sixty aphorisms about Parisian transport: buses and the metro. A kind of viaticum to travel to Paris. And, coming to illustrate these aphorisms and these maxims, memories, bits of stories, scenes, sequences of everyday life, on public transport, that draw a sentimental geography, a cartography of souls. »


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