Over the years, various writers have left a huge impact on the history of French literature. They have given life a distinct meaning with their words with their published books and writing skill. Their great written works are a source of inspiration, even in the fresh modern world. When you learn a different tongue, you may pick a French author and follow the work to improve your vocabulary and understanding of the Francais.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most crucial French writers in history. You may find a fresh favourite author that will develop a unique interest in French literature for you. This will help you learn advanced French and understand the depth of the novellas. Although for the beginners in the first few years of learning, concentrate on learning grammar and vocabulary.
A lot of people visit France and Paris for their monuments and historical places. France is also famous for its rich literature books and has won so many Nobel Prizes in literature. These books from novelists and famous writers are a delight for every reader. They cover various subjects like philosophy, politics, human interaction and war stories. You may read reviews before settling down on a book before reading. But first, get to know the famous French writers.
Well-Known French Writers
Romantic Writer: Chrétien de Troyes
Born around 1130 in Troyes, Chrétien de Troyes had revolutionary writing skills that changed the course of French literature. He penned romantic stories and novel with popular medieval themes. One of his popular books is the Matter of Britain or Arthurian stories that are full of Roman tales.
He was the author who truly made romance novels popular among the people. For readers, the originals may not be as fun to read. They can pick French translations like Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion and Érec et Énide. His novel Perceval ou le Conte du Graal is a great literature book, although he could not finish it. However, other writers and medieval novelists have written various continuations of this. More about French culture!
French Author from the Enlightenment: Voltaire
You must remember a lot of Voltaire quotes as he was a famous eighteenth-century French philosopher. But his real identity was François-Marie Arouet. He authored more than two thousand pamphlets and books in his years of writing peak. With extreme witty skills, he was prolific and gifted in his art.
The best works of Voltaire include Zadig and Candide that expresses the human race’s stupidity, morality, and optimism. His communicating tone is fairly easy to follow and is very interesting even for new French readers.
Literature Grand Master: Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo transports reading into middle ages with his Notre-Dame de Paris, which is set in the 15th century. The novel is about a poignant love story and how appearances impact relationships. Hugo is also famous for his poetry books and the infamous Les Misérables that is set in the time of French Revolution. All about French etiquette!
This novel has longer passages that depict the social commentary scattered throughout and are interesting to read. If you cannot read long novels, pick an abridged version for a quick and easy read.
The Founder of Realism: Honoré de Balzac
Balzac is known to use a lot of details in his work, hence called the founder of realism. Although in his early career days, he was forced to study law only to quit practice after a few years. He started his writing career by co-authoring and gained popularity pretty quick. His famous works include Eugénie Grandet, Le Père Goriot, and Le Lys Dans la Vallée (The Lily in the Valley).
Along with several full novels, he published almost 91 books. Balzac was a known coffee addict that may have caused an early heart failure.
George Sand: The Feminist Author
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin was born in 1804 and spent her early days in the region of Berry. The area published her novels and stories encouraging her to write more. She wrote a lot of novels like Rose et Blanche with her lover Jules Sandeau. She chooses pseudo name Jules sand to establish herself more.
Then wrote papers such as Prosper Mérimé and Alfred de Musset and composer Frédéric Chopin. She wore male clothing to get into places that didn’t allow women at that time. This proves her ways of bringing feminism into writing.
Swashbuckler in Verse: French Playwright
If you like the swashbuckling genre, you may want to get familiar with Edmond Rostand. His write-ups were quite popular, including the masterpiece, Cyrano de Bergerac. Although the style is hard is to understand, and you may need to be at an advanced level. Moreover, his books have a lot of explicit content and curses. This may teach you how to insult someone in the same tongue when they are getting over your nerves.
For beginners, it is recommended to start with easy abridged translations in English to understand the Francais. You may not be able to follow up most phrases if you pick a hard to follow the book. So, to understand playwright pieces, first, get familiar with the vocabulary. Learn about the famous French people!
Lyrical French Writer: Marcel Proust
He was very notorious for never being at his job at Mazarine library. Proust attended many literary salons and had an involvement in magazines. He is popular for his writing in À la recherche du temps perdu which translates to In search of lost time in English. The series of seven volumes could not be finished as he died in 1922. However, the last work was published posthumously.
Some of his other popular works include Du côté de chez Swann, À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, and Le Côté de Guermantes. All these were published in the early nineties celebrating his writing skills. The most shocking thing at that time was his sexual orientation, and a lot of his characters were based on this. You may choose his later released and translated works to understand his progressive thoughts.
Political Writer: Émile Zola
Émile Zola has a childhood friend, Paul Cézanne, who was an artist and influenced him to write. He was a naturalist writer; his early novels were the stories of family branches spread across various generations. These novels were split into twenty and named les Rougon-Macquarts. Another one of his best sellers was Germinal and City novels Lourdes, Rome and Paris that were published in the late 1800s.
Moreover, he became the leader of the literati world and earned more than Victor Hugo. He was also a critic of Napolean III and French politics uncovering various truth of the society. His most popular article was about Dreyfus affair that had spy affair, convicted of treason and exile for the culprits. He later denounced the government for the obstruction injustice.
French Poet Charles Baudelaire
He had a great influence on the writers of that time. Pierre published his first book Salon in 1845. Sadly, he did not publish his best book called Les Fleurs du Mal until a few years after completion. In his novels, he wrote about passion, lesbianism, sacred love, and death. The writer had a sad death because of syphilis.
Traveling French Writer: Gustave Flaubert
Gustave was a failed law student who had an exciting life full of travel and loathsome Paris visits. His first novel was named November and second named Tentation de Saint Antoine. You may want to dive into his most appreciated novels Madame Bovary.
Learn Online On Superprof
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