Born in Cairo, Egypt, Andrée Chedid grew up in a family of mixed Lebanese and Egyptian ancestry. She attended French schools, matriculating at the American University of Cairo. In 1942 she married a physician, Louis Chedid, and moved with him to Paris in 1946.
Chedid had already begun writing poetry, and would continue to publish works from 1949 onward. Her first major book, Textes pour une figure (1949) was followed with almost a book a year until the 1990s. Her major collected poems appear in Textes pour un poème, 1949-1970, published in 1987.
Chedid also published fiction beginning in 1952 with Le Sommeil de livre (From Sleep Unbound), and through the years has become a major novelist. Her work has been widely translated and established a notable international audience. Among her other works of fiction are Le Sixieme Jour (The Sixth Day), La Maison sans racines (The Return to Beirut), and L'Enfant multiple (The Multiple Child).
Unlike her fiction, grounded as it is in the images and emotions of the Middle East, her poetry is, as she describes it, "free of time and place," having "no geographical boundaries," and belonging "to all lands." Her poetry is often autobiographical, but in its mix of history, fiction, myth and on occasion, magic, it is distilled from larger issues.
Chedid is also a well-known dramatist. She continues to live in Paris, where, despite her concerns with her heritage and her knowledge of Arabic, she feels most at home.
BOOKS OF POETRY:
On the Trails of My Fancy (Cairo: Horus, 1943); Textes pour une figure (Paris: Pré-aux-Clercs, 1949); Textes pour un poème (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1950); Textes pour le vivant (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1953); Textes pour la terre aimée (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1955); Terre et Poésie (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1956); Terre regardée (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1957); Seul le visage (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1960); Double-Pays (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1965); Contre-Chant (Paris: Flammarion, 1968); Visage premier (Paris: Flammarion, 1972); Prendre corps (Paris: Guy Levis-Mano, 1973); Voix multiples (Paris: Commune Measure, 1974); Fraternité de la parole (Paris: Flammarion, 1976); Ceremonial de la violence (Paris: Flammarion, 19760; Le Coeur et le temps (Paris: L'Ecole, 1977); Le Mort devant (Paris: Marc Pessin, 1977); Cadences de l'univers (Paris: Vodaine, 1978); Sommeil contradictoire (Dijon: Brandes, 1978); Greffes (Paris: Le Verbe et L'Empreinte, n.d.); Cavernes et Soleils (Paris: Flammarion, 1979); Epreuves du vivant (Paris: Flammarion, 1983); Sept Plantes pour un herbier (Romillé: Folle Avoine, 1983); Sept Textes pour un chant (Romillé: Folle Avoine, 1986); Textes pour un poème, 1949-1970 (Paris: Flammarion, 1987); Ancienne Egypt (Paris: Nouvelles Nouvelles, 1990); Poèmes pour un texte (Paris: Flammarion, 1991); Par delà les mots (Paris: Flammarion, 1995)
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS:
Selected Poems of Andrée Chedid , trans. by Judy Cochran (Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1995); Fugitive Suns: Selected Poetry, trans. by Lynne Goodhart and Jon Wagner (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 1999)
See Green Integer title(s) by this author