Interview w/Françoise Sagan

Françoise Sagan

In a 1956 interview with The Paris Review, 20-year old writer Françoise Sagan was just coming off the notorious success of her novel Bonjour tristesse (english translation; Hello Sadness). Sagan’s writing was known for romances involving wealthy, disillusioned, bourgeois characters. She quickly became the literary spokesperson of youth rebellion and played with the ideas of morality and pleasure. During that time, you could call her the “rebel without a cause” in French Lit. The interview speaks with the writer on her reason to write, driving her characters, and how she then felt about Bonjour tristesse, two years after it’s debut overnight success.


How did you come to start Bonjour tristesse when you were eighteen? Did you expect it would be published?


I simply started it. I had a strong desire to write and some free time. I said to myself, This is the sort of enterprise very, very few girls of my age devote themselves to; I’ll never be able to finish it. I wasn’t thinking about “literature” and literary problems, but about myself and whether I had the necessary willpower.