Queer Places:
La Source Bleue, 46700 Touzac, Lot, France

portrait de Marguerite Moreno, par Joseph Granié, 1899Lucie Marie Marguerite Monceau, known as Marguerite Moreno, is a French actress [ 1 ], born on September 15, 1871 in Paris 9 th and died on July 14, 1948 (at 76) in Touzac [ 2 ] ( Lot ). She was one of the lover of Colette; The Pure and the Impure is a 1932 novel by the French writer Colette. It consists of a series of conversations about sex, gender and attraction. Colette considered it her best book, and described it as "the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography". In the Pure and the Impure Colette dssexualizes her characters. When the narrator is observing her friend Moreno, she consciously avoids using gendered terms; Marguerite Moreno has "strong sexless features." Watching her sleeping, the narrator compares her to both "Chimene and Le Cid, closely united in the sleep of one single body," underlining the presence and union of both female and male attributes.

Daughter of Pierre Monceau, professor of mathematics, and Charlotte Lucie Moreno [ 2 ], Marguerite Moreno studied in boarding school in Paris and in Brittany [ 3 ], then she entered the Paris Conservatory in the class of Gustave Worms [ 3 ] . Engaged at the Comédie-Française in 1890, she rubbed shoulders with Charles Le Bargy, Mounet-Sully, Julia Bartet, Coquelin cadet, Paul Mounet. She was "the muse of symbolists". She created Le Voile by Georges Rodenbach in 1893 and said verses at the request of Robert de Montesquiou for the inauguration of the statue of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore in Douai in 1896. The painter Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer and the sculptor Jean Dampt set her spiritual features and her typical headband at the end of the century as well as her Bruges Beguine costume in Rodenbach's play. Confident of Stéphane Mallarmé, she nevertheless failed to convince him to mount Hérodiade . It is she who organizes in 1898 the funeral of the poet, in the church and in the cemetery of Samoreau near the Seine where he had a country house. After having been the mistress of Catulle Mendès [ 4 ], she married in England, on September 12, 1900, the writer and poet Marcel Schwob whom she met in 1895. They were united by a passion that is evidenced by an extraordinary correspondence kept at the Library of Nantes. Ill, Schwob died in 1905 at the age of 37 [ 5 ].

In 1903, Marguerite Moreno left the Comédie-Française and joined the Sarah Bernhardt Theater, then later the Antoine Theater. For seven years, she directed the French section of the Conservatory in Buenos Aires [ 6 ]. When the Great War broke out, she was activated at the military hospital in Nice. She remarried in 1908 with actor Jean Daragon [ 7 ] but she lost her second husband in the early 1920s. From 1915, she discovered cinema and, during the silent period, she starred in Vingt ans après by Henri Diamant-Berger where she is Queen Anne of Austria "under a plastery make-up, ringed eyes, cherry mouth [ 4 ]" (1922), is opposite to Maurice Chevalier in Gonzague and Le Mauvais Garçon by the same director (1923), and appears in Le Capitaine Fracasse by Alberto Cavalcanti (1929). On the advice of her friend, the writer Colette, she turned to comic roles [ 4 ] and, in 1929, she was very successful on stage in Le Sexe basse by Édouard Bourdet; she plays there "an old Slavic countess who, to occupy her boredom, lifts and pays the handsome boys" (role which she will take up in the cinema in the version filmed by Robert Siodmak in 1933).

At the start of the inter-war period, she moved to her Lot property, renovated for her thanks to her cousin Pierre Moreno [ 9 ], one of her relatives, also an actor and often her partner [ 10 ]) . Her career was therefore divided between theater and cinema and, according to O. Barrot and R. Chirat, “Moreno accepts everything that is offered to her. The laugh of the average spectator at each of her appearances is enough for her [ 11 ]”. She thus appears in A hole in the wall by René Barberis (1930), Tout va très bien madame la marquise by Henry Wulschleger (1936), La Fessée by Pierre Caron (1937); but it is also directed, among others, by Raymond Bernard ( Les Misérables, in the role of the Thénardier, with Harry Baur and Charles Dullin, 1934), Sacha Guitry ( Faisons un rêve , Le Roman d'un tricheur and Le Mot de Cambronne in 1936, The Pearls of the Crown in 1937, They were nine singles in 1939, Give me your eyes in 1943), Marcel Pagnol ( Regain with Fernandel in 1937, La Prière aux étoiles in 1941 - unfinished film), Christian- Jaque ( Carmen in 1942, Un revenant in 1946 with Louis Jouvet), or Claude Autant-Lara ( Douce in 1943). In 1945, alongside Jouvet, she triumphed in the theater in the role of Aurélie de La Folle de Chaillot, written for her by Jean Giraudoux. Her last film, The Assassin is Listening , was released a few weeks after her death in 1948.

Her house La Source bleue in Touzac ( Lot ) is a magnificent estate, today partially transformed into a guest house by her heirs.

Paul Valéry considered that she was the only one who could say verses and invited her to recite them during his courses at the College de France. On her, Paul Léautaud wrote: "Tonight, listening to Moreno in Aricie, I was crying low ..." and "We find her ugly, we are not ugly with a face so expressive, so thin at the same time - the eyes, nose, mouth are full of spirit. It also happens as rarely in a woman. It is feminine malice and satire in person ” [ 12 ] .


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