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Questions tagged [french-language]

Questions about works of literature which were originally written in the French language, regardless whether they were written or published in France or elsewhere.

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Authenticity of an anecdote about Flaubert unintentionally attracting a crowd by reading his draft aloud near an open window

One of my teachers of French once told an anecdote about Gustave Flaubert in class. I'm not certain I remember all the details correctly, so what follows is how I remember, or possibly misremember ...
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Reference to Novalis in Ghérasim Luca's poem "La Poésie Pratique"

Ghérasim Luca's poem "La Poésie Pratique" / "Practical Poetry" contains the following lines: En pratiquant le bouche à bouche de mot à mot de « feu » le mort à « feu » vif d' « ...
Le Petit Nicolas's user avatar
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288 views

Are the homoerotic hints in "La Reine Margot" intentional?

La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas can be read as the story of two guys, and their two girlfriends: the alpha couple is Marguerite de Valois (Margot), who's having a passionate affair with the ...
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6 votes
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163 views

Book about a kid that encounters a foreign girl during holidays and invents a new language

I am searching for a book I read around 10 years ago (in French). The story was about a family going on vacation (I remember a sort of camping, near the sea). The protagonist was a young boy (8-12 ...
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How much of “À la recherche du temps perdu” is autobiographical?

To what extent is it an account of Proust's own life? How much is made up? With so much detail (it's thousands of pages long), and knowing a little bit about the life of the author itself, it'd be ...
tripu's user avatar
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Why is "warm" removed in the translated English title of Eberhardt's "In the Shadow of Islam"?

Isabelle Eberhardt's book Dans l'Ombre Chaude de l'Islam has a title whose direct English translation would be "In the Warm Shadow of Islam". My guess is that the word "chaude", ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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5 votes
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Why does this Tintin album not have a printing number?

Why does this French Tintin book (Tintin et les Picaros) not have a printing number? Update: After talking with someone who lives in France they said to have a look at the bottom of either the first ...
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5 votes
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Why does the narrator quote a letter by a young footman near the end of Le Côté de Guermantes?

Near the end of Le Côté de Guermantes, the third volume of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, comes back from a visit to baron de Charlus and finds a letter by a young footman to a friend lying ...
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Was Hendrik Conscience's novel The Lion of Flanders (De Leeuw van Vlaanderen) the first work inspired by the Battle of the Golden Spurs?

In 1838, the Flemish author Hendrik Conscience published the novel De Leeuw van Vlaenderen, of de Slag der Gulden Sporen ("The Lion of Flanders, or the Battle of the Golden Spurs"), which is based on ...
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In which countries has Persepolis been banned?

Given its unflattering depiction of life in a certain type of society, I'm guessing that Persepolis may have been banned in more than one country in the past, but I'm not sure where to find this ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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French children's book with a cat turned into a deer

I'm trying to remember the title of a children's book that I read when I was a kid in the late 90s, in French. The year must have been about 97 or 98, not later than 99-2000. The only thing I can ...
corydalis's user avatar
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Was the main character in Gigi based on a real-life person?

Gigi, the female protagonist of Colette's novella Gigi (1944), is full of character. Independent and mischievous, and a little tomboyish, she leaves a lasting impression on the reader. I am wondering ...
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Is Maupassant referring to a ranking of duellists or shooters that existed in late nineteenth-century France?

In Chapter VII of the first part of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, the main character, Georges Duroy, is insulted by another journalist. The disagreement escalates and leads to a duel using pistols. ...
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4 votes
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In what way would windows appease or calm us?

Alain Bashung's song Sur un trapèze, with lyrics by Gaëtan Roussel (see the Wikipedia article about the album Bleu pétrole, released in 2008), begins with the following lines (emphasis and links ...
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Are all or some of the characters named Sganarelle the same person?

A recurring name in the cast of Molière's plays is named Sganarelle. If they were all the same person, the story of his life would look something like this: The Flying Doctor: Sganarelle is a servant ...
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Why did "the human race became a small committee surrounded by affectionate animals" for Sartre in the Words?

What is Sartre's metaphor meaning in the Words when saying : "The human race became a small committee surrounded by affectionate animals." The context is when he begins to become familiar ...
Revolucion for Monica's user avatar
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What is the meaning of Izquierdo's ending statement?

In the very end (Act III, Scene 11) of Emmanuel Roblès's play Montserrat, Izquierdo replies to Father Coronil's, after asking if he had regretted his decision: ENGLISH: No. He only talked to ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why did Jeanbernat cut off Frère Archangias' ear?

In La faute de l'abbé Mouret by Émile Zola, Jeanbernat threatens to cut off Frère Archangias' ear (book 3, chapter 5) and then does so (final chapter). Jeanbernat has clear reasons for hating ...
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Meaning of Proust's "Real life, life at last laid bare and illuminated ... is literature"

Marcel Proust writes in The Past Recaptured (English translation by Andreas Mayor, 1970): Real life, life at last laid bare and illuminated—the only life in consequence which can be said to be really ...
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Was Molière’s “Misanthrope” inspired by Menander’s “Dyskolos”?

The 4th century BCE comedy Dyskolos (“Old Cantankerous”) by Menander was rediscovered in Egypt in the mid-20th century. The Wikipedia article on the play tells us: The Dyskolos inspired Molière, who ...
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Did Alphonse Daudet exchange anti-Semitic correspondence with Richard Wagner?

The French novelist Alphonse Daudet (1840–1897) is best known for works such as Lettres de mon moulin ("Letters from My Windmill"), the Aventures prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon and his ...
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3 votes
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Where is the setting of "Time, as it evaporates..."?

I recently read an interesting story that was sought in an identification request on another site: the short story "Time, as it evaporates..." ("Le temps, en s'évaporant") by Jean-...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
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118 views

"Each of us has the plague within him" from The Plague by Albert Camus

I'm reading The Plague By Albert Camus. I'm not getting few things that Tarrou said when talking of his previous life to all to Dr. Bernard Rieux. First, he talks about his father, mother, and all. ...
Young Kindaichi's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
72 views

Concept of pleasure in pedagogy in the time of Rabelais

I am currently writing a paper with 'games' as a subject. One of the axes I am working on deals with games contributing to pleasure in pedagogy, and I intend to use Rabelais' concept mentioned in ...
user38728's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
56 views

A quotation by Jean Bernard

Jean Bernard [1907-2006] was a famous French medical doctor, also a University Professor and a researcher. He was a member of the Académie Française and wrote several books, both on scientific topics ...
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Reason of scare quotes in a text from Via Mala by John Knittel

Via Mala, John Knittel Il fonda une société. L'évêque de Coire, l'abbé d'Andruss, les barons de Thusis, et quelques paysans qui avaient de l'argent constituèrent un capital, et le capitaine Lauretz ...
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Have the lyrics of the Song of Father Dûchene (Chanson du Père Dûchene) been translated into English?

The Song of Father Dûchene (Chanson du Père Dûchene) is an anarchist song written anonymously in France, probably in 1892, and which was famously sung by Ravachol on his way to the guillotine in July ...
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2 votes
0 answers
316 views

What was Victor Hugo's attitude towards religion, especially referring to a chapter in "Les Miserables"?

I'm reading "Les Miserables", knowing almost nothing about his author, and I'm now approaching Volume II - Book VII - Chapter VI (The absolute goodness of prayer). Here, Hugo is criticizing ...
Fede's user avatar
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0 answers
132 views

Why does the Phantom repeatedly mention Carlotta's throat in "The Phantom of the Opera"?

When Erik is monologuing to Christine in his room underneath the Opera, and Raoul and the Persian are trapped in the torture chamber, Erik says this: Meantime, the other had already begun to play the ...
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2 votes
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50 views

What does Erik gain by lying to the Persian about the chandelier?

When the Persion meets Erik on the underground lake, and confronts him about the chandelier, Erik denies any involvement: "Well, the chandelier... the chandelier, Erik?..." "What about ...
Mithical's user avatar
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2 votes
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2 Related Poems by Rimbaud and Verlaine

I'm looking for two poems by Rimbaud and Verlaine. They escape to Belgium together, went to a town party, and both wrote a poem about the event. Verlaine was really straightforward, and classical. ...
Drag and Drop's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
76 views

Does Rousseau say that men are slaves of governments and laws?

Jean-Jaques Rousseau wrote Discours sur les sciences et les arts. In the very first part, the third paragraph says the following: Original (French) L'esprit a ses besoins, ainsi que le corps. Ceux-ci ...
Itération 122442's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
30 views

What is the significance of the tale narrated by Nadir to the muezzin Marwan in the short story 'Time, as It Evaporates…'?

In the French science fiction short story "Le temps, en s'évaporant…" by Jean-Claude Dunyach, translated into English by Jean-Louis Trudel as "Time, as It Evaporates…", there is a ...
Namaskaram's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
41 views

Does Muriel Barbery's title "The Elegance of The Hedgehog" reflect knowledge of Archilochus' aphorism?

Does Muriel Barbery's title The Elegance of The Hedgehog reflect knowledge of Archilochus' aphorism? Is there information or proof that Barbery had Archilocus' aphorism in mind?
Stanley Dorman's user avatar
2 votes
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257 views

Is Candide more noble than Cunégonde?

The Candide novel starts with: The old servants of the house suspected [Candide] to have been the son of the Baron's sister, by a very good sort of a gentleman of the neighborhood, whom that young ...
Pierre's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
74 views

Interpretation of a Camus Quote

In The Plague, Rieux, the main character of the novel, in Chapter 15, claims that I've seen too much of hospitals to relish any idea of collective punishment. What does he mean by that? How exactly ...
newbie's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
54 views

For Maupassant, were women more inclined to imitate others than men?

In Maupassant's short story "Le Signe" / "The Signal", part of the collection Le Horla (1887), the baroness de Grangerie tells her friend the marchioness de Rennedon how a woman of ...
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2 votes
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How did contemporary female readers respond to the sexual violence in the Contes de la Bécasse?

In Maupassant's short story That Pig of a Morin / Ce cochon de Morin, the narrator, Labarbe, says to a woman he finds very attractive (emphasis mine), Parce que vous êtes une des plus belles ...
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2 votes
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Did Maupassant adapt the style and content of his stories to the newspapers that published them?

Guy de Maupassant published his short stories and novellas in newspapers and periodicals such as Le Figaro, Gil Blas, Le Gaulois and L'Écho de Paris before they were published in book form. Le Figaro ...
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2 votes
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What is so Balzacian about Mr. Walter's words to Mr. Montelin in Maupassant's Bel-Ami?

In the first few chapters of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, the main character, Georges Duroy, is learning the ropes of journalism. In Chapter IV of Part I, he accompanies the journalist nicknamed Saint-...
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2 votes
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102 views

A quote supposedly from Gustave Flaubert

So, do some of you happen to know, did Gustave Flaubert really say Pulchritudo vitae in vico, ea videtur solummodo a poetis, ea non videtur a hominibus in vicis. or anything like that? If so, where? ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
40 views

What's the significance of the scene where Christine loses Erik's gold ring?

In Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, the ring that Erik had given Christine goes missing: Suddenly Christine changed color. A mortal pallor overspread her features. "Oh heavens!" ...
Mithical's user avatar
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1 vote
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Is there some kind of blossoming towards the existentialist vision in French pre-Romantic poetry?

I remember to have read somewhere, but, unfortunately, I don't remember where, that in certain pre-Romantic French poet one can find some kind of blossoming towards the existentialist vision. Does ...
Charo's user avatar
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1 vote
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45 views

Satire of old lady laying flowers at the tomb of the unknown soldier, Paris - what is this french short story?

In a german textbook in high school we had a short story the name and author of which I am looking for. I think the story was written between WWI and WWII or right after WWII. It is about an old lady ...
NeStack's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
34 views

What was bernanosian about Camus's call to sacrifice in the resistance newspaper Combat?

For several years, Albert Camus was editor-in-chief of Combat, a clandestine newspaper of the French Resistance. In his biography Albert Camus, fils d'Alger ("Albert Camus, son of Algiers", ...
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1 vote
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25 views

Where did Camus call Sartre's theory of commitment an illusion?

Albert Camus "is routinely categorized as an existentialist, a term he rejected on several occasions" (Wikipedia). His critique of existentialistm focused mostly on Sartre. Alain Vircondelet'...
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1 vote
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Was de Staël's On Literature Considered in Its Relations with Social Institutions influenced by late-18th-century German romantics?

In an answer to the question Can formal essays be considered as a literature in strict sense?, I wrote that our current definition of literature reflects a concept of literature that originated in ...
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1 vote
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61 views

Short story, 19th century: French country priest and devil exchange subjectivities

I am looking for a 19th century short story. I thought it was written by Guy de Maupassant, but didn't find it. A French country priest starts having vivid dreams that he is a diabolical courtier in ...
G Dugdale's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Notebook epigram referring to 'only death in the universe'

Camus says somewhere that there is only death in the universe. By 'death' he simply means physics (energy, matter). He is rejecting the metaphysics of a universal dualism: Life and Death. I believe ...
G Dugdale's user avatar
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1 vote
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64 views

Evidence for the claim that placing Gide's works in the Index of Forbidden Books scandalised the author's admirers?

The French author André Gide (1869 – 1951) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947. The author died in February 1951; in the following year, the Vatican placed his works on the Index of ...
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