Francis Ponge was born in Montpellier, France, in 1899. He studied law at Paris and literature at Strasbourg. He worked as an editor and journalist in France during the First World War, made contacts with the Surrealist movement, and joined the Communist Party in 1937, leaving the party after World War II in 1947. After living briefly in Algeria, he returned to France, where he held a professorship at the Alliance Française from 1952 until 1965. In 1974, he was awarded the Books Abroad/Neustadt International Prize for Literature, following a favorable article on his works by Sartre. He died in 1988 in Le Bar-sur-Loup.