Gaston Gallimard

1881 (Paris) – 1975 (Neuilly-sur-Seine)

Gallimard led a publishing house with an unequalled importance in 20th C French culture, described as ‘l’usine à pensée’. Its authors range from Proust to Pennac, by way of the likes of Breton, Camus, de Beauvoir, Duras, Foucault, Gide, Merleau-Ponty, Queneau, Saint-Exupéry, Sartre and Yourcenar. Gide and Claudel were founding partners (Gallimard was approached for his financial backing), and eminent writers were involved as a matter of principle: Paulhan and Queneau were pillars of the business, while Camus and Caillois also sat on its publishing committee. Gallimard found Proust impossible, but Yourcenar said her relations with him were punctuated with roses.