Academy of Gallo

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Linguistic Files of the Academy of Gallo

    Gallo in old publications

      Paul VIMEREU

Many thanks to Rémi BOULONGNE, Paul VIMEREU's grandson, for supporting this project and authorising the publication of private photos for the Academy of Gallo website and the reference to the website dedicated to Paul VIMEREU.

Introducing Paul VIMEREU

Paul VIMEREU, whose official name is Paul BOULONGNE, was born in 1881 in Picardy, in Misery in the Somme, where his father was a teacher. Through contact with his schoolmates, he learned the Picardy language.

Then he went to college in St-Pol-sur-Ternoise and in 1900 he arrived in Paris.

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    His medical studies led him to practice from 1909 to 1914.
    It was therefore quite natural that he practised his art at the front as a medical officer.
    However, after the battle of Verdun, he was sent to
for a rest.
    There he met his future wife, who was originally from

    After the war, they settled in
, a city they would never leave.

For 20 years, Dr Boulongne practised his profession with passion.
    But his other passion, writing, also consumed him, and it was not uncommon for him to cover his notebook with notes during visits to the patients, thus establishing the framework for his novels. With his first novel, Le Rire du Vilain, he missed out on the Goncourt Prize by one vote, thus showing the extent of his talent. It also shows his attachment to his native soil, as the action takes place in Picardy.

In 1926, the novel about his adopted city, Saint-Malo, was published under the title Les Amants du Rempart. The denunciation of corruption can be found alongside this constant respect for the dignity of the little people. This novel is full of Malouin terms and idioms, which we have noted in our "Gallo terms and expressions" section.
    The following year, he continued his praise of the land with Chutt le Hutteux, a Picardy novel in which the action can only be evoked through the Picardy language, making it his most popular novel.

He produced 11 novels. In addition to these, he wrote poems, essays and even a theatre play.

    However, the Second World War interrupted his literary activity and he spent it as a senior physician at the hospital in
. The trials of the war affected him.

    In 1944, back in
, his house was bombed. He continued to work as a forensic doctor until 1955. In the meantime, in 1950, he published the last of his novels, La Grotte à l'Homme, in which many Cancale terms appear once again.

    He finally died in Saint-Malo on 6 November 1962 and was buried at
, near his family-in-law.
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He leaves behind the memory of a man of great intelligence and great foresight.

A tireless worker and a very gifted writer, he was one of those rare men who could juxtapose in their writings a scholarly vocabulary with one that was much more rooted in the land.

It is not often that one encounters a man of his rank writing in Picardy language to his relatives, although he did so regularly.