Portrait of Blaise Cendrars, por Amedeo Modigliani (1918).
Blaise Cendrars, originally Frédéric Louis Sauser (1887-1961) Swiss novelist, poet and traveler, born in Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. His mother was a Scot and he regarded himself as a cosmopolitan. When he was 15, he ran away from home to work for a jewel merchant with whom he traveled through Russia, Persia, and China. He later described this journey in a long poem, Transsibérien (1913). In 1910, he met Apollinaire, by whom he was much influenced. His poems Les Paques à New York (1912), Transsibérien and La Panama ou Les Aventures de Mes Sept Oncles (written in 1918, published in 1931 in a translation by John Dos Passos), were important in shaping the spirit of modern poetry. He was careless with the truth and was fond of apocryphal stories. During the World War I he fought for France in the French Foreign Legion. His best novels include, La Confession de Dan Yack (1927-29; 1946; trans Antarctic Fugue, 1948), Maravagine (1926 trans 1969) and L’Or (1925; trans Sutter’s Gold, 1926).