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Anne and Serge Golon: How Real Feelings Helped the Authors of the Angelica novels to overcome their trials and become famous
Anne and Serge Golon: How Real Feelings Helped the Authors of the Angelica novels to overcome their trials and become famous

Books about the golden-haired beauty Angelica and her adventures have been read all over the world. Later, based on the novels, several films were shot, which enjoyed incredible success. Anne and Serge Golon were able to achieve incredible success, and it all started back in 1947 in the French Congo, where a young journalist and an experienced scientist met. We met to go through the difficult path from obscurity to glory together.

Vsevolod Golubinov

Vsevolod Golubinov

He was born in 1903 in Bukhara in the family of the Russian consul Sergei Golubinov, in childhood he traveled a lot with his parents, easily studied foreign languages. The 1917 revolution found him in Sevastopol, where the young man studied at the gymnasium. He was very determined and was going to join the White Army, but he was not taken there because of his age.

In 1920, he was evacuated to Sevastopol along with members of the military families who served at Wrangel. From Constantinople he reached Marseilles, tracked down his father and brother in Nancy, and entered the Higher Chemical School. Vsevolod Golubinov showed a special talent for science: he received eight master's degrees and became the youngest doctor of science in France at that time. At that time he was only 20 years old.

Vsevolod Golubinov

After graduating from the High School, the young doctor of sciences became an employee of a company engaged in geological exploration in French Indochina, Tibet, and China. At the beginning of World War II, Vsevolod Golubinov ended up in the Congo, his connection with the employer was lost, but he was able to become an employee of one of the local private companies. He was very upset by the occupation of France by fascist troops and sought to help the anti-fascist organization "Free France".

Having learned about the death of his brother and the death of his father, Golubinov decided to stay in the Congo, where he had a stable job and his own home. By the age of 45, he had not yet started a family, remaining a romantic at heart, and seemed to be waiting for the one that he could fall in love with once and for life. It was there, in the Congo, that he met his future wife.

Simone Changieux

Simone Changje

Simone was born in Toulon in 1921 and was a very sickly child from childhood. Parents tried not to leave their daughter unattended and very soon noticed that the girl was showing the ability to draw. They had already seen her as an artist, but they did not even know that little Simone constantly comes up with a variety of stories, invariably imagining herself in the role of the main character. True, mentally she was always strong, courageous, able to cope with any difficulties.

Already at the age of 10, her first handwritten book was ready, with bright drawings that the girl invented herself. At 18, Simone already wanted to show publishers her first "adult" story "The Country Behind My Eyes", but the Second World War disrupted her plans, and the book was published only in 1944.

Simone Changje

During the occupation of France, Simone Changeux on a bicycle and with an easel behind her went on a journey to the Spanish border and almost fell victim to her own carelessness, falling under suspicion of espionage. She was detained, but the officer was literally stunned by the spontaneity of the girl, who admitted that she was an artist and was traveling in search of new experiences.After being thoroughly searched and interrogated, Simone was released. She believed all her life that during interrogation, the guardian angel protected her.

After the first book, published in 1944 under the pseudonym Joelle Dantern, Simone Changeux continued to engage in literary work and found herself in great demand: she was ordered scripts for films, and articles were regularly published in magazines. After the publication of the book "Patrol of the Innocent Saint", for which she received a rather prestigious award, the girl went on a trip to Congo, planning to release a series of reports. Then she did not yet know how amazing a meeting fate had in store for her.

Meet in Congo

Simone Changje

At first glance, Vsevolod Golubinov, whom Simona decided to interview, she did not like at all: he seemed to her simply an old man. But as soon as he spoke, the girl immediately fell under the insinuating charm of his voice. This Russian turned out to be an amazing person. He knew 11 languages, managed to go around, it seems, half of the globe and could tell a variety of stories for hours. He managed to work as a geological explorer and head of a tannery and cement factories, after which he managed a gold mine.

Vsevolod Golubinov and Simona Shanzhyo with their son

However, he knew how to listen, invariably showing respect for his young interlocutor and not disregarding any of her remarks or questions. The interview grew into a conversation, and after that they began to meet no longer on business, but just like that. Then, neither he nor she thought about feelings. They were just very interesting together. And then … then Simona and Vsevolod realized that they could not live without these meetings, unhurried conversations, without each other.

A year after their first meeting, Vsevolod Golubinov and Simone Changeux in the city of Pointe-Noire swore an oath of loyalty to each other, which they adhered to for the rest of their lives.

Happiness that led to success

Ann and Serge Golon

They sincerely admired each other and learned the art of love together. Vsevolod saw in his young wife the ideal of a woman and was ready for anything to make her feel protected next to him. In 1951, their first-born Kirill was born. But soon they had to leave the Congo because of the unrest that began there.

In 1952, the couple ended up in France and their position was unenviable: the employer deceived Golubinov by not paying him his salary for a year. Bank accounts, where part of his salary was to be transferred to him for several years, while he was still working, did not exist in nature. He tried to sue, but began to receive threats that concerned not so much himself as his family.

Vsevolod Golubinov and Simone Shangyo

In fact, they lived on Simone's fees from the articles, but money was desperately lacking. In collaboration with his wife and on her initiative, Vsevolod wrote several books, which were published under the pseudonym Serge Golon, but this did not save the financial situation. Vsevolod tried in vain to find a job, and during his frequent visits to the library, he became interested in the archives of the 17th century. It was then that the idea came to him to write a historical adventure novel.

Vsevolod Golubinov and Simona Changyo with their youngest son

They discussed with their wife for a long time what the work should be, as a result, the first two books about Angelica were born. More precisely, there was only one book, but at the request of the publishers it had to be divided into two parts. Simona wrote, for the most part, while Vyacheslav collected materials and negotiated with publishers. Anne and Serge Golon were named as the author of the first book, Angelica, the Marquis of Angels. Initially, the publisher wanted to release the novel, indicating only Serge, but Golubinov insisted on the exclusive authorship of his wife. Then a compromise was reached in the form of instructions from two writers.

The book was a crazy success. The next novel was published, and Vsevolod and Simona were already working on the third book. They were finally able to solve all the financial problems, got their own home and were incredibly happy raising four children.

Simone Changeux with children: Nadine, Pierre and Marina

While Simona was working on novels, Vsevolod was engaged not only in business negotiations, but also in raising children and housekeeping.He saw nothing wrong with helping his wife. The only thing that upset Simone was the fact that publishers often threw out of her works whole pieces of text that she herself thought was very important.

Everyone who knew this amazing couple could recognize Simone herself in Angelica, and Vsevolod in Geoffrey de Peyrac. And, of course, to see in this love story a reflection of the feelings that the spouses felt for each other. Since 1961, Vsevolod Golubinov became seriously interested in painting and was still looking for materials that could be useful to his wife in working on the next novel.

Vsevolod Golubinov and Simone Changjo

When Vsevolod Golubinov died of a stroke in 1972, Simone had to prove his authorship for 32 long years. Only in 2004 was her copyright returned, and until that time she had not received any royalties from the reprints of books and film adaptations, because according to French law, the rights to books after the death of the author are transferred to the publishing house, and not to the heirs.

Simone survived her husband by 45 years, and after the return of the copyright to her books, she was engaged in preparing her novels for reprint, returning pieces of texts that were once excluded by the publishers. Until her death in 2017, Simone Changeux said that her husband was her muse and the whole world, in whose love she drew ideas …

For Soviet viewers, a series of films about Angelica, based on the novels of Vsevolod Golubinov and Simona Shanzho, enjoyed incredible success - each of them was watched by 40 million people, and newborn girls were massively called Angelica, Angela and Angelina. At the same time, critics were indignant and demanded a ban on the showing of these "low-standard" films.

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