His parents separated in and eventually divorced. The recent biographer Olivier Todd, who published a book on Malraux in , suggests that he had Tourette syndrome , although that has not been confirmed. The young Malraux left formal education early, but he followed his curiosity through the booksellers and museums in Paris, and explored its rich libraries as well. His daughter from this marriage, Florence b.
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Plot summary[ edit ] The novel occurs during a day period mostly in Shanghai , China , and concerns mainly the socialist insurrectionists and others involved in the conflict. Their individual plights are intertwined throughout the book. Chen Ta Erh is sent to assassinate an authority, succeeds, and is later killed in a failed suicide bombing attempt on Chiang Kai-shek.
After the assassination, he becomes governed by fatality and desires simply to kill, thereby fulfill his duty as a terrorist, a duty which controls his life. This is largely the result of being so close to death since assassinating a man. He is so haunted by death and his powerlessness over inevitability that he wishes to die, just to end his torment. Kyo Gisors is the commander of the revolt and believes that every person should choose his own meaning, not be governed by any external forces.
He spends most of the story trying to keep power in the hands of the workers rather than the Kuomintang army and resolving a conflict between himself and his wife, May. He is eventually captured and, in a final act of self-determination, chooses to take his own life with cyanide.
Katow had faced execution once before, during the Russian Civil War and was saved at the last moment, which gives him a feeling of psychological immunity.
But hearing two young Chinese activists talk with trembling fear of being burned alive, he gives them the cyanide there is only enough for two , himself being left to face the more fearsome death.
He thus dies in an act of self-sacrifice and solidarity with weaker comrades. Baron Clappique is a French merchant, smuggler, and obsessive gambler. He helps Kyo get a shipment of guns through and is later told that Kyo will be killed unless he leaves the city in 48 hours.
On the way to warn him, he gets involved with gambling and cannot stop. He considers gambling "suicide without dying". Clappique is very good-humored and always cheerful all the time but suffers inwardly. He later escapes the city dressed as a sailor. This claim is false.
The Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci proposed adapting the novel in the s to the Chinese government; they preferred his alternative proposal, The Last Emperor , a biopic based on the life of the Chinese Emperor Puyi. In , U.
André Malraux, La condition humaine
La condition humaine, incipit : analyse