Boris Vian was born at Ville d'Avray in 1920. He was trained as a civil engineer, receiving his diploma in 1942. He was also a jazz trumpeter, film actor, cabaret singer, translator, inventor, record company executive & Transcendent Satrap of the College de Pataphysique. Vian's extraordinary work mirrored his fascinating life. He wrote novels, plays, songs, scenarios & one short opera.
In his 39 years Boris Vian wrote 10 novels, 42 short stories, 7 theatre pieces, 400 songs, 4 poetry collections, 6 opera librettos, 20 translations of short stories and novels, and about 50 articles.
Boris Vian was born in 1920 into an upper middle-class family in the wealthy Parisian suburb of Ville d'Avray (Hauts-de-Seine). His parents were Paul Vian, a young rentier and Yvonne Ramenez, amateur pianist and harpist. From his father Vian inherited the distrust of the Church and the Army, as well as a love of the bohemian life. Vian was the second of four children: the others were Lélio (1918), Alain (1921–1995) and Ninon (1924). The family occupied the Les Fauvettes villa. The name "Boris" does not indicate Russian ancestry; it was chosen by Yvonne, who was an avid classical music lover, after seeing a performance of Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov.
Vian suffered from ill health throughout his childhood and had to be educated at home until the age of five. From 1926 to 1932 he studied first at a small lycée, then at Lycée de Sèvres. After the Wall Street Crash of 1929 the family's financial situation worsened considerably and they moved to a small lodge near Les Fauvettes (from 1929 to 1932 the Vians rented the villa to Yehudi Menuhin's family). Shortly after Vian's 12th birthday he developed rheumatic fever and after a while he also contracted typhoid. This combination led to severe health problems and left Vian with a heart condition that would ultimately lead to an early death.
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