The French novelist and illustrator Pierre Loti (1850-1923) is noted for his picturesque romances, abounding in descriptions of the exotic spots he visited in a lifetime of travel. He was born Julien Viaud at Rochefort on Jan. 14, 1850, to Protestant parents. Deeply religious as a child, he lost his faith during adolescence, and in his later writings he frequently expressed a longing to regain it. In 1867, after graduating from navy school, he went to sea as a midshipman, was promoted to lieutenant in 1881, and received his first command in 1898. Loti’s career entailed long absences from France. He spent much time in Levantine ports and in the Far East. In the course of his travels Loti had various love affairs that, often with slight alterations, provided the plots of his exotic novels. For example his first book, published anonymously in 1879 under the title Aziyadé, told of his amours with a Circassian slave girl he had met during a stay in Salonika and Constantinople 3 years previously or Madame Chrysanthème (1887), in which Loti evoked the temporary marriage he had contracted with a Japanese girl at Nagasaki. The novels for which Loti is chiefly remembered, however, were set in France. Mon Frère Yves (1883) told the story of Loti’s Breton friend Pierre Le Cor and the single vice–drinking–of which Loti succeeded in curing him. Its sequel proved to be Loti’s masterpiece: Pêcheur d’Islande (1886) dealt with the heroic lives of the Bretons who sailed every year to dangerous fishing grounds in Icelandic waters, and with the lives of their wives and sweethearts, who often never saw them again. In addition to his novels, Loti wrote a great number of travel books. The best includes Au
Maroc (1890)–he visited Fez before Morocco became a French protectorate–and Vers Ispahan (1904), which narrated a journey he undertook through Persia in 1900. The French Academy elected Loti a member in 1891. He died at Hendaye on the Basque coast on June 10, 1923
Pierre Loti visited the Macedonian region in 1876, mainly visiting Thessaloniki and the surrounding in 1876 as Naval Officer. He produced several drawings and illustrations later published in his book “Fantome d’Orient”.