André Bonnard - André Bonnard

André Bonnard , born in Lausanne on August 16, 1888 and died in the same city on October 18, 1959, was a teacher, Hellenist, translator and writer in the Canton of Vaud , Switzerland .


After studying literature at the University of Lausanne , which he completed at the Sorbonne in Paris , he taught at Mulhouse from 1910 to 1915 , then at Rolle and Lausanne. Appointed a professor at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Lausanne in 1928 without a doctorate, he held the chair of Greek Language and Literature until 1957 . He was dean from 1932 to 1934 and from 1942 to 1944 . Alice Wüthrich married in 1912 ; They had no children.

Left intellectual

Born into a family of the Protestant intellectual bourgeoisie of Lausanne, André Bonnard, struck by the horrors of the First World War , became a pacifist and, at the end of the Second World War , admired the successes of the Red Army . From then on, he saw in Stalinist Russia the realization of his humanist and pacifist ideals. His praise of Soviet literature ( 1948 ) made him suspect to federal authorities; he was watched by the police for many years. In 1949 he was elected president of the Swiss Movement of Supporters of Peace(pro-Soviet) and member of the World Peace Council .

Arrested when he went to the Berlin Congress in 1952 , he was charged with treason. His trial took place in 1954 and ended with a light sentence: fifteen days suspended. He was the most publicized victim of the Cold War in French-speaking Switzerland . In 1955 he received the Stalin Prize for Peace in Vienna .

Faced with hostility from most of his friends and family, he devoted himself to his publications, resigned before the end of his term without honors, and his death occurred without ceremony. His memory was later rehabilitated: the municipality of Lausanne named a small place near the Académie Ancienne ( 1992 ) and an auditorium at the University of Lausanne-Dorigny bears his name since 2004 .



Known mainly for his French translations of Greek tragedies, André Bonnard wrote them not for Hellenists, but for readers and theater men. Here is the list of these translations, with the date of their first publication:

  • Aeschylus , Prometheus in Chains , 1928, and Agamemnon , 1952
  • Sophocles , Antigone , 1938, and Oedipus Rex , 1946
  • Euripides , Iphigenia in Aulis , 1942, and Alceste , 1948.

André Bonnard also translated Safo's poems , with a study (1948), and those of Arquíloco (Les Belles Lettres, Bé Collé, 1958), among other works.

Studies on Ancient Greece

The three main works of André Bonnard [1] are Les dieux de la Grèce ( The Gods of Greece , 1944), La tragédie et l'homme ( Tragedy and Man , 1950) and Civilization grecque ( Greek Civilization in 3 volumes , 1954-1959, there is a Spanish edition by Editorial Sudamericana). Les dieux de la Grèce , often reissued, present the main gods as based solely on ancient texts; the stories are written elegantly and clearly; they reflect the goodness and cruelty of divine powers in relation to the destiny of man. In La tragédie et l'homme he analyzesSophocles' Antigone , Aeschylus' Prometheus and Euripides' Hippolytus from a humanistic perspective: Bonnard investigates and searches for the current meaning of tragedy , "discover what his word has been for us." Hence a subtle analysis of the "tragic pleasure", courage and hope that the Greek tragedies offer to our reflection.

Civilization grecque represents the intellectual testament of André Bonnard. This monumental work (900 pages), written with passion, highlights the aspects and texts of ancient Greece that have inhabited the master throughout his life. A work of great popularity, it is also the synthesis of all his reflections on man, culture and art: Bonnard saw, in Greece from Homer to Epicurus , a privileged moment in which humanity, for our profound happiness, reaches a rare perfection. Other topics are also covered: slavery , the condition of women, technical discoveries, Alexandrian science, although literary topics (epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, history ,philosophy , poetry and archaic Alexandria) occupy most of the chapters. This book, often republished, has been translated into a dozen languages. In 1970 Editorial Sudamericana published it in Buenos Aires for its Indice Collection .

Sources and Bibliography

  • Hadrien Buclin, Left-wing intellectuals in post-war Switzerland , Doctoral thesis, University of Lausanne, 2015.
  • Les cahiers de l'Histoire, supplement to L'Hebdo , 5 de diciembre de 1985, "1948-1954: The Cold War in Switzerland"
  • F. Fornerod, Lausanne, le temps des dares , Editions Payot, Lausanne, 1993, pp. 65-80
  • Homenajes a André Bonnard en Études de Lettres , 1970, series III, volume 3, no 1, pp. 1-44, & 1960, series II, volume 3, pp. 1-35
  • Yves Gerhard, André Bonnard and Hellenism in Lausanne in the 20th century , Editions de l'Aire, Vevey, 2011 ( [2] )

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