'Portrait of an ageless Author'
This remarkable image of Anne Golon © of the magazine L'illustré 2002 reminds me of the 'Arnolfini Marriage' by Jan van Eyck which is loaded with symbolism - here is my interpretation of 'A Portrait of an Author as an ageless woman' with apologies to James Joyce
In this composition of the artist as an ageless author I see (1) a painting in the style of the late Serge Golon very reminiscent of 'Old Larches at Crans-Montana, Switzerland'. (2) Reference Book (always close to hand for accuracy (3) Reading glasses - Anne is notoriously determined never to be photographed wearing spectacles - discreetly hidden (4) Anne favours pen and ink for her original work and signing autographs (5) Book of illustrated costume references (6) Hand written notes covering the years 1645 to 1648/9 (7) Reference book detailing costume minutiae (8) A reference book of pistols (9) photo albums, folders (tantalising holding wonderful secrets and insights into Angélique's story) (10) Favourite artworks to add to the ambience of the woman and her surroundings (11) possibly old proof copies of her works (12) possibly a pictorial map for reference (13) shelves full of reference folders (14) a favoured lamp often seen in alternative photographs and finally (15) 'Indomptable Anne Golon' echoing her 'Indomptable Angélique' (cannot really be translated as 'Anne Golon and the Sultan' following the English translation of the book title, but indeed 'Indomitable Anne Golon') - Lillustré writes 'One can imagine that she is sitting on a pile of gold in her house in Montana where she established (located) her family in 1959. Wrong, she scrapes along in a decrepit appartment situated in the middle of Lausanne. And every day, she writes.'
Anne Golon - The Biography
Biographical details as written by Nadine Goloubinoff for the Polish re-prints of the Angélique series :
The daughter of a naval officer was born in Toulon in 1921, spending her formative years in Cherbourg, and her teens and adolescence in Versailles. It was apparent from an early age that she was interested in literature and history and became a gifted and talented wordsmith completing her first written submission at the age of seven and rejoicing in her first published article at sixteen.
During the second world war (WWII) she moved about France on a bicycle revelling in its beauty and longing for her homeland to be free from occupation. She used her dual talents of recording images and words to assist with keeping a record of the true patriotism she observed around her. At this time she also visited Spain and whilst travelling discovered the beauty of Poitou where she would eventually locate her eponymous heroine Angélique.
Her first book under the pseudonym of Joëlle Danterne and entitled “Au Pays de derrière Mes Yeux” (The country behind my Eyes) was published in 1943. Following on from this book she successfully published several best-selling 'thrillers' not shying away from the use of 'taboo' subject matter. She also wrote dialogue for films and was credited as a screenwriter.
In 1945, Simone Changeux, clandestinely assisted with the allied invasion force, hiding details of the Normandy landings in her sister's house. At the same time she set up a periodical entitled 'France 47' (later to become 'France Magazine') in which she published stories and legends.
Thanks to being awarded the prestigious 'Prix de la Rigaudie' in 1947 for her work entitled 'La patrouille des Saints Innocents' (Patrol of the Holy Innocents) she embarked as a freelance, unknown, journalist to Africa. There she met geologist Vsevolod Sergueïvitch Goloubinoff a stateless Russian born in 1903 in Bukhara (Uzbekistan). It comes as no surprise that much of Joffrey de Peyrac was based on the adventures of this fascinating individual. They married in Pointe-Noir. As newlyweds they returned to France where Serge was unable to find work and the young couple started married life by living off the repeat fees of the books published by Simone under her pseudonym of Joëlle Danterne. In the meantime they co-wrote educational and historical biographies for educational journals. In 1954 they co-wrote 'Les Géants du Lac' which was published under the sole name of Serge Golon and 'Le Coeur des bêtes sauvages' published jointly as Anne et Serge Golon.
In Versailles Anne started to write her first volume of Angélique whilst Serge researched the period and provided invaluable advice for Joffrey's vast geological and scientific knowledge. In 1956 Angélique was published in Germany to great acclaim and solely under the name of Anne Golon. Finally in 1957 the book was published in France giving joint publication recognition to Anne and Serge Golon on the advice of the publisher who deemed the books 'of this sort' would carry greater gravitas if believed to have been written by a man. A year later Angélique would appear in the United States and Great Britain with the author disguised as the ambiguous 'Sergeanne Golon'. On the strength of the success of the books, in 1964 the first Angélique film was commissioned. This film trivialised the storyline and in particular the role of the female gender stereotyping Angélique as an empty-headed opportunist. Despite the negativity of the films, by 1985 Angélique had appeared in 13 full-length novels. When interviewed about the books, Serge is known to have stated to journalists - "Ask my wife, it is she who is the author of 'Angélique.'"
After several visits to Africa Serge started painting in 1961and continued experimenting with colour schemes until his death in 1972; whilst still committing to research the all-important factual evidence to be incorporated into 'Angélique et le Nouveau Monde' (Countess Angélique).
The opus that is Angélique has been designated the greatest best-selling success of 20th Century literature by a living French author and is the most read and sought after historical fiction globally. For over half a century the books appeared under various author pseudonyms and suffered cuts by unethical editors. Despite everything the first editions are still, today, being sought by readers and collectors.
The author herself experienced the suffering and loneliness of her heroine, but like Angélique she overcame her adversaries and won back her rights to the books. Thanks to the internet Anne Golon discovered that she had millions of fans and these grow by the day.
Simone Changeux, like Angélique, has entered a new phase of her life. She is determined to conclude the story of her heroes and heroines and correct any errors in earlier and edited versions - that way, the story of Anne and Angélique remains fresh and alive in the public consciousness.
"For Anna Ludlow a faithful friend to Angélique - thank you for your help and your affection - Anne Golon - 20th June 2011 - Versailles"
Book 2 - 'Corridors of Versailles - May 1660 - August 1660) the dedication reads 'For Anna Ludlow Our friend - Anne Golon, Versailles, 20th May 2011'
Anne Golon - The Interview 2013
It's nearly 60 years since author Anne Golon gave life (birth) to the Marquise of the Angels; an imaginary heroine who will forever be immortalised by Michèle Mercier's portrayal of her. As the new version of the film is about to hit the cinemas, Anne Golon wants to put right a few misconceptions about her eponymouse heroine.
By 1964, when the first film adaptation by Bernard Borderie was released, Angélique was already established and an 'establishment' in herself having reached the 7th volume in the saga which had first started appearing in 1956. The empire (modestly) consisted of translations in 27 languages in 47 countries and sales topping 150,000,000 (150m). Shouldn't such a phenomenon guarantee an accurate and sympathetic portrayal in films? Surely Angélique already represents herself as she is written in the book? Apparently not, Anne Golon states that the script editor of the films saw Angélique as 'a whore who wants to (unprintable) all men.' Imagine the horror of hearing that interpretation of a heroine you had nurtured through seven books, despite that title coincidentally being 'The Temptation of Angélique' which at that time was seven books away from the content of the first film! Borderie persisted and insisted that the film should be erotic and sensual and the perfect actress to bring this to the screen would be Michèle Mercier. Despite her protests, neither director or script editor would move from their 'vision' of the central character although they promised the verification of historical facts would be undertaken by historian Alain Decaux to acknowledge Serge's input and research. The action would take place in 17th century France at the court of Louis XIV! As Anne put it - that was the moment she got up and left the meeting. "Je me suis levée et j'ai quitté la pièce."
At this point Anne tells us that she was first drawn to the period and in particular the concept of The Court of Miracles and wanted to weave her story around this fascinating lesson in survival. Anne was horrified when the script editor, Daniel Boulanger, said he would glance at the book but that he had already envisioned his own version of the Court of Miracles (Cour des Miracles).
In the novels, Angélique de Sancé de Monteloup, Comtesse de Peyrac, Marquise de Plessis-Bellière is a string independently minded woman who glitters at the court of Louis XVI having tasted the degradation that comes with falling from favour. Anne sees her as the heiress (in literary terms) to Scarlett O'Hara, a heroine who has to overcome adversity, accept challenges and still retain her integrity at all times. So much so that Anne mentions the horrors that were discovered at the conclusion of World War II, the extermination of the Jews and atrocities committed in general to all peoples, when accused of making her novels 'mushy' Anne retorts - do they really think I would write something like that after what I have seen and experienced?
SAGA À QUATRE MAINS
A four-handed Saga (The term writing for four hands or coécriture means the approach of two or more people in the development of an artistic, cinematic, literary, musical, etc.)
At the time of the first publication, Anne signed with Opera Mundi who demanded 50% of the rights of ownership. In 1982 Hachette bought out Opera Mundi and no new contract was negotiated and the copyright became muddied, by 1985 with the emergence of the hitherto final volume 'La Victoire d'Angelique' was met with indifference by the publishers.
In 2006 after many years in the wilderness, with the help of her daughter Nadia, Anne eventually wrested back outright control and ownership of her rights. After this repeat fees finally started trickling in from the films made by Borderie and a modest compensation paid by her publishers for making changes to her books without her consent - each step forward consisted of a court appearance!
Never one to hide her opinions, in particular about the original films, Anne reminds us that she was never invited to the opening nights of the 1960s films, but that she has been invited to participate in the new version by Ariel Zeitoun and is pleased with his casting of Angelique and Joffrey. She states happily that they resemble the characters in her books nuch more closely than before. Anne Golon will be attending the premier of the new film.
Anne and Serge Golon
Husband and Wife or Brother and Sister?
Many years ago I read somewhere about Serge and Anne being brother and sister - I've now found the website again or at least one that has used the same information - as the image is a little difficult to read I have reproduced the narrative below :
"The brother and sister team of Serge and Anne Golon have produced a tremendous saga of 17th-century France, tracing Angelique's career from childhood through a series of strange marriages and amorous adventures, perils and excitements, unequalled in the field of historical romance fiction. Translated into most European languages, a sensational runaway success in France, Angelique is one of the world's most fabulous bestsellers. The most ravishing, and surely the most ravished, heroine of all time."
Anne Golon - The Gallery
At a book signing in December 2016 just prior to her 90th birthday - image courtesy and © of Claire Saïm
A lovely picture of Anne Golon on her 94th birthday surrounded by the latest and original versions of her eternal oevre.
Anne Golon at a Book Signing in Versailles on her 94th birthday in 2015 - the caption reads "Anne Golon heureuse d'avoir fêté son anniversaire avec ses lecteurs !" - Anne Golon happily celebrates her birthday with her readers - thank you to Claire Saïm for the images.
Anne Golon - April 2015 - photograph courtesy of her daughter Nadine Goloubinoff - with a collection of the hardback editions of her books starting l to r with 'Marquise of the Angels' 1957.
Anne Golon enjoying the first episode, published April 2015, of the Angélique 'Manga' based on her work - image provided by Nadine Golubinoff as it appeared on the artist Dara's Fb page
Anne Golon - January 2015 supporting the Charlie Hebdo Illustrators, many of whom were murdered on Wednesday, 7th January 2015, and the concept of free speech of which she has always been a great pioneer. Anne insisted on being part of the wave of national and international sympathy despite recovering in hospital at the time. Original photograph by Nadine Golubinoff.
Anne Golon - Book signing 25th October - 2014 - image © Claire Saïm
Nadine Goloubinoff's picture of her mother in October 2014
Nadine Goloubinoff's picture of her mother at a book signing in Crans-Montana, Switzerland in February 2014
In the year that the new film of Angélique is released 78actu asks 'Who hasn't heard of Angélique?'
A look of true affection bestowed on Anne by her new 'Angélique' Nora Arnezeder at the premier of the film in Paris
Anne Golon - Versailles - TF1 (French TV)
Beautifully captured image of Anne Golon by Eric Fougere for Getty Images ©
Recently provided image by Nadine Goloubinoff of her mother, Anne Golon being feted on stage in the Czech Republic in 2007 - accompanying this image was the news that the musical is to be revived in 2016.
Always happy to sign personal mementoes for her fans
13th February 1981 - Anne Golon promotes her new book 'Québec' on ina.fr tv 'Le Roman dans sa diversité' (The romantic novel in its diversity) tv programme
Anne Golon - elegant author, holding her own whilst facing a panel consisting only of men in the programme arguing the merits of the romantic novel in this diverse world!
29th April 1977 - Anne Golon promotes her new book 'Complot des Ombres' on ina.fr tv 'Parlez moi d'amour' (Talk to me of [sic about] Love) tv programme
A rare photograph of Anne with Serge at the film location / studio shoot of Merveilleuse Angélique based on the second part of the original book sub-titled 'Road to Versailles'.
A colour screen shot of the startling peacock blue, with purple trimmings dress designed for Angélique's triumphant and mysterious return to the Versailles circle.
Article promoting the authors and 'Angélique and the King'
Summer 1960 - from left to right: Anne Golon, Pierre (born April 1957), Serge Golon, Nadine (born July 1955) and Cyrille (born February 1950).
A charming family photograph from the private collection of Pierre Goloubinoff taken circa 1966 in Crans-Montana - l to r Nadine, Marina, Anne and Pierre
Anne and Serge at their Swiss Chalet in 1960 shortly after 'Angélique and the King' makes its public debut
Compilation of the original 'Angélique' book dustjackets in 1960 - image provided by Nadine Goloubinoff
A portrait of the author in 1966
Anne and Serge keeping track of their characters - a place for each one and attention to detail required to distinguish current, sidelined and never to return characters. Image provided by Nadine Goloubinoff
Anne Golon at work in 1957 - original image supplied by Nadine Golubinoff
Success on every level in 1957 - proud parents Anne and Serge Golon with their babies Nadine and the Marquise des Anges
Anne and Serge enjoying their success with a selection of hardbacks proving their global popularity.
Anne and Serge in 1948 - image courtesy & © of Getty Images
Page refreshed : 22nd March 2017