Paul Léautaud (1872 - 1956)
Paul Léautaud was born on 18
January 1872 as son of Firmin Léautaud (prompter) and Jeanne Forestier
When Paul went to school he went to live with his father, but they didn't built
a strong relationship. Paul's most loyal compagnion was the dog Tabac (so named
for the colour of his fur). The dog was sent to accompagny him on all his walks
through the neighbourhood, to prevent something would happen to him.
1882 saw the family moving to the Parisian suburb Courbevoie. When Paul finished
elementary school in 1887, his father decided it was the best for him to find a
job, so the family would have some extra money. In 1896 he left the elderly home
permanently. He already had spent some nights elsewhere after rows with his
father and his mistress. He got his steady job at the publishing house Le
Mercure de France in 1908 after umpteenth jobs and working there on a
non-permanent base. Officially he was a secretary, but it was obvious they gave
him the job to provide him with a steady income, so he could write.
Paul's greatest love were animals. He always had at least one in his house.
During his lifetime he had about 300 cats, 150 dogs, a goose, a goat and a
monkey as pets. Sometimes there were more than 50 animals in the house. All of
his income was spent to feed his pets and most of the day he was busy to gather
From 1912 onwards Léautaud lived in the Parisian suburb Fontenay-aux-Roses,
where he lived until he died. Almost daily he took the train to his work in the
center of Paris.
Léautaud wrote a diary from November 3, 1893 until February 17, 1956 five days
before he died. These diaries are divided into two separate ones, Journal
littéraire and Journal particulier, of which the first contains notes on his
literary life at Mercure de France while in the latter he describes his
relationship with women.
Léautaud never was married but he had a turbulant lovelife, as one may find in