Julien Gracq taught history and geography in various lycees. Although close to Andre Breton, he never belonged to the Surrealist movement as is sometimes thought. His work, inspired by German Romanticism, combines startling imagery with a rich, precise metre. Staunchly avoiding the French literary scene – he refused the Prix Goncourt in 1951 – he is one of the few authors to be published in the Pleiade during his lifetime. He died in 2007 aged 97.