Author Henri Troyat was born on November 1, 1911. He was actually born in Russia as Lev Aslanovich Tarasov, but his family left just ahead of the Revolution. His family wandered Europe for a few years before coming to rest in Paris in 1920. Lev became Henri and completed a law degree. He won his first literary award when he was only 24 and the Prix Goncourt when he was 27. Feel inadequate yet? Get this – he wrote over 100 books. In addition to prize-winning novels, he wrote biographies of all the Russian luminaries. His most famous work is La neige en deuil (Snow in mourning), published in 1952. Troyat was elected to the Académie Française in 1959 and was the longest serving Immortel at the time of his death just a few years ago on March 2, 2007.
Today’s expression is faire son deuil de quelque chose (fair sohn doy duh kelkuh shows) means “to do mourning for something.” It’s used to mean that one is resigned to being deprived of something. I’m resigned that I won’t have a stellar literary career like Henri Troyat, but I love teaching and writing my blog, so immortality will have to wait.