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Leon Bloy

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Léon Bloy was a French novelist, essayist, pamphleteer and poet. His works reflect a deepening devotion to the Roman Catholic Church and most generally a tremendous craving for the Absolute. His devotion to religion resulted in a complete dependence on charity; he acquired his nickname as a result of the many letters requesting financial aid from friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers, all the while carrying on with his literary work, in which his eight-volume Diary takes an important place. He was a friend of the author Joris-Karl Huysmans, the painter Georges Rouault, and the philosopher Jacques Maritain, and was instrumental in reconciling these intellectuals with Roman Catholicism. However, he acquired a reputation for bigotry because of his frequent outbursts of temper; and his first novel, "Le Désespéré", a fierce attack on Rationalism and those he believed to be in league with it, made him fall out with the literary community of his time and even many of his old friends. Soon, Bloy could count such prestigious authors as Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Ernest Renan, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Alphonse Daudet, Paul Bourget and Anatole France as his enemies. In addition to his published works, he left a large body of correspondence with public and literary figures.

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