Full Name : René François Armand (Sully) Prudhomme

Nationality : French

Born : 16th March 1839 in Paris, France

Died : 7th September 1907 in Châtenay, France at the age of 68

7 important facts about Sully Prudhomme :

Sully Prudhomme was a prominent French poet and essayist. In 1901, he was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Literature.

Eye Problem Interrupted his Studies

Growing up, Prudhomme enrolled at the Lycee Bonaparte. However, he developed an eye problem which hindered his education. He had to quit and work for a while for the Schneider steel foundry. He later decided to study law at a notary’s office.

An Engineer Turned Poet

Prudhomme studied engineering in school but his passion changed with time. He then became a philosopher but just for a while. He later discovered his real passion, which was poetry. He, therefore, decided to  write poetry related to science “scientific poetry.”

Writing Career

In 1865, he released his maiden collection titled Stances et Poemes “Stanzas of Poems”. The collection included Le vase brise, which became very popular. His other works include Impressions de la guerre, La France, La Justice, Le Bonheur and Chevalier de le Legion d’honneur among others.

As an Essayist

As his writing career advanced, Prudhomme moved from writing poems to essays. His primary focus was on philosophy and aesthetics. His famous essays include L’Expression dans les beaux-arts and Réflexions sur l’art des vers.

Nobel Prize

Prudhomme received the first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901 for his artistic writing which combined intellect and heart. He donated much of his prize money to the establishment of a poetry prize, which was awarded by the Societe des gens de lettres.

Franco-Prussian War

He took part in the Franco- Prussian war. Before the outbreak of the war, he wrote several works, which included Impressions de la guerre. The war was the main cause of his ill health.


Prudhomme health began to fail him since 1870. This made him redraw from public life taking solitary in his Chetenay-Malabry home. His condition kept worsening until his death.

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