Anatole France

Anatole France (änätôl´ fräNs), pseud. of Jacques Anatole Thibault (zhäk, tēbō´), 1844–1924, French writer. He was probably the most prominent French man of letters of his time. Among his best-remembered works is L'Île des pingouins (1908, tr. Penguin Island, 1909), an allegorical novel satirizing French history. His early fiction was characterized by a somewhat sentimental charm—e.g., Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard (1881, tr. 1906), his first successful novel, and Le Livre de mon ami (1885, tr. My Friend's Book, 1913), the first of a series of autobiographical novels. Half his work appeared in periodicals and newspapers. After the Dreyfus Affair (in which he supported Zola) his work was slanted more to political satire. The elegance and subtle irony of his style are displayed in Thaïs (1890, tr. 1909), Le Lys rouge (1894, tr. The Red Lily, 1908), Les Dieux ont soif (1912, tr. The Gods Are Athirst, 1913), and La Révolte des anges (1914, tr. The Revolt of the Angels, 1914). His liaison with Mme de Caillavet, lasting 27 years, had a profound influence on his work; she spurred his ambition and saved him from material concern. In 1896 he was elected to the French Academy, and he was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature.

See biographies by J. J. Brousson (tr. 1925) and D. Tylden-Wright (1967); B. Cerf, Anatole France: The Degeneration of a Great Artist (1926); N. Ségur, Conversations with Anatole France (tr. 1926); J. M. Pouquet, The Last Salon (tr. 1927).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Anatole France: Selected full-text books and articles

FREE! The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard By Anatole France Dodd-Mead & Co., 1918
FREE! Penguin island By Anatole France; A. W. Evans Modern Library, 1909
The Nobel Prize Winners in Literature By Annie Russell Marble D. Appleton, 1925
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XIV "Anatole France - Versatile Stylist in Fiction and Essays"
Studies from Ten Literatures By Ernest Augustus Boyd C. Scribner's Sons, 1925
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Anatole France begins on p. 21
French Political Thought in the 19th Century By Roger Henry Soltau Russell & Russell, 1959
Librarian’s tip: "The Reply of Radicalism: 'Alain' and Anatole France" begins on p. 407
Titans of Literature: From Homer to the Present By Burton Rascoe G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1932
Librarian’s tip: "Anatole France the Skeptic" begins on p. 430
The Main Stream By Stuart Pratt Sherman C. Scribner's Sons, 1927
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Anatole France begins on p. 213
FREE! Notes on Life and Letters By Joseph Conrad Doubleday Page & Company, 1921
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Anatole France begins on p. 32
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