Max O'Rell - Encyclopedia

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MAX O'RELL, the nom-de-plume of Paul Blouet (1848-1903), French author and journalist, who was born in Brittany in 1848. He served as a cavalry officer in the Franco-German War, was captured at Sedan, but was released in time to join the Versaillist army which overcame the Commune, and was severely wounded during the second siege of Paris. In 1872 he went to England as correspondent of several French newspapers, and in 1876 became the very efficient French master at St Paul's school, London, retaining that post until 1884. What induced him to leave was the brilliant success of his first book, John Bull et son Ile, which in its French and English forms was so widely read as to make his pseudonym a household word in England and America.

Several other volumes of a similar type dealing in a like spirit with Scotland, America and France followed. He married an Englishwoman, who translated his books. But the main work of the years between 1890 and 1900 was lecturing. Max O'Rell was a ready and amusing speaker, and his easy manner and his humorous gift made him very successful on the platform. He lectured often in the United Kingdom and still more often in America. He died in Paris, where he was acting as correspondent of the New York Journal, on the 25th of May 1903.

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