|Birthname||Victor Henri Rochefort-Luçay|
|born on||30 January 1831 at 02:00 (= 02:00 AM )|
|Place||Paris, France, 48n52, 2e20|
|Timezone||LMT m2e20 (is local mean time)|
|Astrology data||09°29' 04°00 Asc. 19°38'|
French politician, journalist and playwright from an aristocratic family, remembered today as "the prince of press controversy" ("le Prince des polémistes") as a result of his journalistic career.
After experience as a medical student, a clerk at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, a playwright and a journalist, he joined the staff of Le Figaro in 1863; but a series of his articles brought the paper into collision with the authorities and caused the termination of his engagement.
On leaving Le Figaro Rochefort determined to start a paper of his own, La Lanterne. The paper was seized on its eleventh appearance, and in August 1868 Rochefort was fined 10,000 francs, with a year's imprisonment. He then published his paper in Brussels, whence it was smuggled into France. Printed in French, English, Spanish, Italian and German, it went the round of Europe. After a second prosecution he fled to Belgium.
In 1869, after two unsuccessful candidatures, he was returned to the Corps Législatif, (the then lower house of the French Parliament) by the first circonscription of Paris. He was arrested on the frontier, only to be almost immediately released, and forthwith took his seat.
He renewed his onslaught on the Empire, starting a new paper, La Marseillaise, as the organ of political meetings arranged by himself at La Villette. The paper was seized, and Rochefort was sent to prison for six months.
The revolution of September was the signal for his release. He became a member of the Government of National Defence, but this short association with the forces of law and order was soon broken on account of his openly expressed sympathy with the Communards. On 11 May 1871, he fled in disguise from Paris. A week earlier he had resigned with a handful of other deputies from the National Assembly rather than countenance the dismemberment of France. Arrested at Meaux by the Versailles government, he was detained for some time in prison with a nervous illness before he was condemned under military law to imprisonment for life.
In spite of Victor Hugo's efforts on his behalf he was transported to New Caledonia. In 1874, he escaped on board an American vessel to San Francisco. He lived in London and Geneva until the general amnesty permitted his return to France in 1880. In Geneva, he resumed the publication of La Lanterne.
When at length in 1880 the general amnesty permitted his return to Paris, he founded L'Intransigeant in the radical and socialist interest. For a short time in 1885-86 he sat in the Chamber of Deputies.
He became prominent among the anti-Dreyfusards along with people such as Edouard Drumont and Hubert-Joseph Henry, and had a principal share in the organization of the press campaign. Subsequently he was editor of La Patrie.
Henri had a long-standing relationship with an editor/translator by the name of Anna-Catherine Strebinger, whom he planned to marry in May 1878 (but he married another woman the next October instead). Anna-Catherine is featured prominently as "Catherine" in Wanda von Sacher-Masoch's memoir Confessions de Ma Vie. Catherine did translations of many of the works of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. In her book, Wanda describes Catherine's relationship with Henri as being open, with Catherine openly taking many lovers.
Rochefort died on 1 July 1913, aged 82, in Aix-les-Bains, France.
Birth certificate in Didier Geslain archive, 'R' pdf file, p. 95.
- Vocation : Politics : Public office
- Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist