Author. He was a Russian-born Armenian who became one of France's most popular and respected writers. Troyat won international fame for his biographies of Russian rulers and literary figures, written in a vivid, novelistic style. His fiction, including the epic novels "While the Earth Endures" (3 volumes, 1947 to 1950), "The Seed and the Fruit" (5 volumes, 1953 to 1958) and "The Light of Right" (5 volumes, 1959 to 1963), was influenced by Leo Tolstoy and conveys great historical sweep. In all he wrote over 100 books. One of them, the novella "The Mountain" (1952), was made into a Hollywood film starring Spencer Tracy in 1956. The son of a merchant, Troyat was born Levon Aslan Torossian in Moscow. His family fled the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and settled in Paris in 1920. He found considerable success from the outset of his career, winning the Prix Populiste for his first novel, "False Light" (1935), and the prestigious Prix Goncourt for "The Spider" (1938). Following World War II service in the French Army (1939 to 1940), Troyat entered a new phase with a critically-acclaimed biography of Dostoevsky (1940); he went on to write accounts of the lives of Pushkin (1946), Tolstoy (1965), Catherine the Great (1977), Ivan the Terrible (1982), Chekhov (1984), Turgenev (1985), Gorky (1986), Nicholas II (1991), and Rasputin (1996), among many others. He remained active to the end of his long life; his final books, the novel "The Hunt" and a biography of author Boris Pasternak, were published in 2006. In 1959 Troyat was elected to the French Academy and at the time of his death was its dean and longest-serving member. He was also awarded the highest rank of the Legion of Honor, the Grand Cross. Although Russia dominated the style and subject matter of his work, Troyat never returned there, even after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991; he preferred to remember his native country as he imagined it was during his childhood. "The snow is cleaner in my dreams", he said. He died in Paris.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Marguerite Saintagne Troyat