(1835 - 1893)
Firmin Boissin was born in Vernon near Joyeuse, in the department of Ardèche (France), on December 17, 1835.
After the communal school, he studied at the minor seminary of Aubenas and the seminary of Viviers. He obtained a BA at the University of Montpellier. He taught grammar in Cavaillon and Avignon, then spent some time in Spain where he worked as a public writer.
Writer and Journalist
He moved to Paris and worked at the Arsenal library (which at that time had as curator-administrator Paul-Mathieu Laurent “Laurent de l'Ardèche”) where he wrote articles for magazines and newspapers. He published his first works under the pseudonym Simon Brugal (surname of his maternal grandmother).
In 1869, then 34 years old, he wrote in the Courrier de Rouen and in 1871 he became editor of the magazine Messager de Toulouse. Although most of his career was spent in Toulouse, he remained attached to his home region, the Vivarais, about which he wrote several historical novels. The best known of these is Jan de la Lune, evoking the counter-revolution in Vivarais, published in 1877. The story takes place partly in the wood of Païolive and other actual, well-known locations: La Gleyzasse, Cornillon, Saint-Eugene, etc. But the fictional writing gives them a dramatic scope that unfolds in descriptions appealing to the imagination. The book tells of the counter-revolutionaries of Jalès who were faithful to the count of Saillans, and their temporary hiding places.
Caves and troglodyte shelters frequently offered protection to the persecuted populations, the armed gangs and the clandestine ones: “The Gleyzasse is a cave two hundred feet long, thirty wide and sixty high, the upper parts of which are joined in a pointed arch, which gives it the appearance of a church nave and has earned its name. This nave has two openings: one to Chassezac and the other opening onto a path dug into the limestone.”
Boissin also lived a career as a literary critic.
In 1887, he was elected Keeper of the Academy of Floral Games of Toulouse (literary society founded in Toulouse in the Middle Ages, probably the oldest in the Western world).
He was also a member of the Order of the Rose-Cross. Prior to being Commander of the Order, in 1858 he received in his ranks Adrien Péladan, homeopathic doctor and brother of Joséphin Péladan.
Frédéric Boissin maintained an abundant correspondence with his cousin, Camille Vielfaure, who was the deputy of Ardeche (1881-1889).
Having contracted an eye disease, Firmin Boissin retired to Ardèche where he died in 1893 at the age of 58.
1867: Opinion d'un catholique sur les idées de Madame Aubray, Paris
1868: Nos prédicateurs (Portraits et silhouettes), Paris,
1868: Études artistiques : Salon de 1868
1869: Des étrennes du point de vue symbolique, Orléans
1869: Visionnaires et illuminés
1875: Restif de la Bretonne Paris, Paul Daffin, Libraire-Éditeur, Rue Guénégaud.
1868: L'œuvre d'une libre croyante, Paris & Toulouse.
1878: Le Vivarais et le Dauphiné aux Jeux floraux de Toulouse.
1879: Frédéric Mistral et les Félibres
1883: La Jacquerie dans le Vivarais de 1789 à 1793 (Simon Brugal)
1883: Un épisode de la Révolution dans le Bas-Vivarais
1885: Les Camps de Jalès
1887: Jan de la Lune
1888: Le paysan dans la littérature contemporaine
1889: Le Schisme constitutionnel dans l'Ardèche. Lafont-Savine, évêque-jureur de Viviers (Simon Brugal)
1890: Excentriques Disparus