Questions tagged [french-literature]

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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1answer
53 views

Have they ever published normal-sized Tintin volumes?

Have they ever published normal-sized Tintin volumes? The books with 3 in 1, but the size of the single issues.
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0answers
37 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 ...
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2answers
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Was there a reason Victor Hugo chose 24601 as the number for Jean Valjean?

24601 has developed into being an iconic part of both the Les Miserables book and musical. Was that number special to him, or was it simply a random number he chose (I doubt it)?
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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 ...
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0answers
61 views

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-...
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4answers
2k views

Why is the tense wrong in the beginning of The Stranger?

The first lines of Albert Camus' The Stranger go something like this: Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday It's told in the present tense, as in, when Meursault is recounting the event it had ...
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156 views

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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3answers
2k views

Why does Valentine refer to her father's second wife as her "mother-in-law"?

In the translation of The Count of Monte Cristo I am reading, I noticed in Chapter 51, in the exchange between Valentine and Maximillian, Valentine makes repeated reference to her father's second wife ...
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1answer
299 views

In Les Miserables, why can Javert be the judge of Fantine and why does Monsieur Madeleine have the power to stop him?

In Les Miserables, one of the Protagonists, Fantine, attacks a citizen on the open street after he insulted her and put snow in the back of her dress. She is then arrested by Javert, the local police ...
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1answer
76 views

French comic about a Native American prisoner

I am looking for a French comic that was published at least 30 years ago. The story took place in the Wild West, during the American Indian Wars. There were three main characters: a young man with a ...
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1answer
105 views

Political backdrop to "The Lancer's Wife" (Franco-Prussian War)?

"La Uhlane" is a short story by Jean Richepin, whose English translation "The Lancer's Wife" was erroneously attributed to Guy de Maupassant in the Walter Dunne edition of Maupassant's works. It ...
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1answer
112 views

Which Maupassant short stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870?

I read somewhere that Maupassant wrote ten short stories on the 1870 war between France and Prussia. I know "Boule de suif", "Deux amis", "Un duel", "Madame Sauvage&...
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1answer
229 views

Standard text for "Tristan and Isolde"

What is the standard narrative text to read "Tristan and Isolde"? That is, is there something that is a classical text, not in poem form, something like Le Morte d'Arthur for King Arthur?
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1answer
907 views

What is "the Saar" in The Last Lesson?

In The Last Lesson, written by Alphonse Daudet, there is this paragraph: My last French lesson! Why, I hardly knew how to write! I should never learn any more! I must stop there, then! Oh, how sorry ...
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1answer
852 views

Identification of a short story about a short irrefutable self-evident proof that God exists that is kept secret

I am trying to find a short story (about 20 - 30 pages long) I read a couple of years ago. Here is what I recall: The central idea is that a [catholic] priest creates (and writes) a very short (about ...
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1answer
83 views

What is the correct translation of the title "Les Fourmis" by Boris Vian?

The literal translation of "les fourmis" is "the ants". It is one of the titles under which the story was published in English (for example, the translation by Rawdon Corbett). The ...
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301 views

Which short stories are falsely attributed to Guy de Maupassant, and why?

Thanks to @GarethRees's sleuthing and editing, I just learned that several French short stories found in the Project Gutenberg version of the "Entire Original Maupassant Short Stories" are in fact not ...
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1answer
75 views

In what story of Régnier does a man commit suicide without understanding the reason?

In the suicide note of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, he talks about a story by Régnier: No one has yet written candidly of the mental state of one who is to commit suicide. This may be due to the self-...
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84 views

Meaning of the genealogical list in the first chapter of Pantagruel?

Chapter 1 of François Rabelais's novel Pantagruel contains a long list of ancestors of Pantagruel (quoted from the edition on Wikisource, emphasis added): Et le premier fut Chalbroth, Qui engendra ...
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1answer
75 views

Which ancient philosopher claimed that the sea's salinity was connected with the fall of Phaeton?

In Chapter 2 of his novel Pantagruel François Rabelais writes (quoted from the edition on Wikisource) Le philosophe racompte en mouvant la question, pourquoy cest que leau de la mer est sallee ? quau ...
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1answer
74 views

Why is the Marquis de Sade "suddenly a block of abyss"?

The question pertains to Annie Le Brun's Soudain un bloc d'abîme, Sade ("suddenly a block of abyss, Sade", published in English translation as Sade: A Sudden Abyss). What justifies its title?...
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"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. ...
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364 views

Is this François de La Rochefoucauld's quote authentic?

I am looking for the source of the quote We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves allegedly by François de La Rochefoucauld. The only French ...
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Is Babar an African or Asian elephant?

As a child I remember enjoying the Babar picture books about the eponymous elephant and his escapades. Now, many years later, it occurs to me to wonder what kind of elephants Babar and his people were:...
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1answer
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Why would birds fall from the sky due to a lack of moisture?

Chapter 2 of François Rabelais's novel Pantagruel contains the following passage (quoted from the edition on Wikisource, emphasis added): Car il ny avoit arbre sus terre quil eust ny feuille ny fleur,...
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How many people did the Phantom of the Opera kill?

How many people did the Phantom of the Opera kill? How many people were confirmed as killed by Erik explicitly, either through narration or explicit witness testimomy? How many people were there ...
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1answer
387 views

Meaning of "trente-six à soixante-huit chandelles" in Jean Ferrat's Ma France

The French singer-songwriter Jean Ferrat (1930 – 2010) wrote a number of controversial songs. One of his most beautiful songs, Ma France (1969), was banned from the radio for two years. It's last ...
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1answer
216 views

Accuracy of the translation of Baudelaire's "Au Lecteur": how to forge an opinion?

This question is directly inspired from this one on French Language Stack Exchange. To summarize it, the OP is wondering about the good translation for "chimiste" in Baudelaire's opening ...
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1answer
62 views

What inspired Babar's name?

Babar is a fictional elephant, featuring in stories by Jean de Brunhoff and later his son. The name "Babar" is similar to baba, a word originally meaning "father" but used as an ...
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0answers
63 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 ...
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2answers
921 views

What is the significance of the names Mersault and Meursault?

The novel A Happy Death, written in the late 1930s and published posthumously in 1971, has a main character named Patrice Mersault. Camus's novel The Stranger, written a few years later and published ...
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1answer
143 views

Is Jules Verne making fun of the English in Around the World?

I just began reading Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days and Phileas Fogg had just fired his servant for giving him warm water that was by 2 Fahrenheit degrees off (roughly 1 Celsius degree). Fogg ...
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2answers
75 views

Who are the pronouns referring to in the Mauritanian poem "You Will Tell Them"?

Mariem Mint Derwich's poem "You Will Tell Them", available in English translation from Words Without Borders, appears to be about a Mauritanian woman, perhaps "the" woman of ...
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2answers
1k views

Three Musketeers - the diamond studs

The plot of the first part of The Three Musketeers revolves around 12 diamond studs that Queen Anne d'Autriche gives to the Duke of Buckingham. What exactly were those studs? I mean, what was this ...
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69 views

Was character of Eugene De Rastignac in Balzac’s Father Goriot inspired by Maximillian Robespierre?

Maximillian Robespierre was one of the revolutionary of French Revolution of 1789, he was a lawyer (by profession) from Arras. Eugene De Rastignac was also moved to Madame Vaquer’s house in order to ...
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1answer
78 views

Did "Gargantua and Pantagruel" originally have illustrations?

The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel is a series of novels by François Rabelais, originally published in the 16th century. The Wikipedia article notes this about illustrations: The most famous and ...
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1answer
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Guy-Charles Cros quoted by Osamu Dazai: "comme un crapaud contourne une pierre"

In No Longer Human Osamu Dazai attributes the quote below to Guy-Charles Cros: …et puis on recommence encore le lendemain avec seulement la même règle que la veille et qui est d'éviter les grandes ...
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3answers
956 views

Why don't these lines rhyme in Les Miserables?

In Castle on a Cloud from Les Miserables, There is a room that's full of toys, There are a hundred boys and girls I know it's translated from French, but why isn't it girls and boys? There ...
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1answer
109 views

Identification of a Maupassant short story where a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress

In a short story by Maupassant, a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress, a rather paradoxical situation since he came much later after the infidelities (and somehow benefited ...
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What book of Eugène Sue's 'The Mysteries of the People' inspired M. Joly's 'Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli & Montesquieu', as claimed by U. Eco?

Question summed up: Can anyone help me find the part of Eugène Sue's The Mysteries of the People wherein a sinister Jesuit plot is unveiled, which may have, through a game of 'telephone' by plagiarism,...
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1answer
558 views

Why was "Notre Dame de Paris" changed from "Notre Dame of Paris" to "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" when it was re-published in English?

In the foreword to my copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Elizabeth Massie writes this: Victor Hugo's early novel, Notre Dame de Paris, published in 1831 and set in medieval Paris of 1482, was the ...
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2answers
133 views

Is Marie's comment based on the existence of a two-tier justice system in French Algeria?

In Camus' novel L'étranger / The Stranger, Meursault gets arrested for shooting "an Arab". During his pre-trial detention, his girlfriend Marie pays him a visit in prison and tries to give him some ...
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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 ...
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2k views

What literary device is used in from "one thing to another"?

The extract is Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world — the clearest, the most logical; that we ...
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Could you actually go around the world in 80 days?

Around the World in 80 Days is a novel be Jules Verne about an Englishman who makes a bet with some fellow club members that he can travel around the world in 80 days. Nowadays with modern flight, ...
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1answer
129 views

Allusion by Albert Camus to another author

In Camus's essay The Sea Close By there's a sentence: This life rebellious to forgetfulness, rebellious to memory, of which Stevenson speaks. (page 5 of Penguin Classics 2013). Can anyone tell ...
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1answer
136 views

In the short story "The Last Lesson" by Alphonse Daudet, what do the following signify?

"The Last Lesson" is a short story by Alphonse Daudet (link to the English translation). What is the significance/symbolism/meaning of the following aspects of the story? The watcher's ...
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1answer
61 views

Is Raymond having an affair with Masson's wife?

When Raymond, Meursault, and Marie went to visit Raymond's friend, Masson, they decide to go to swim after a brief time but Masson's wife and Raymond refuse the idea and rather stay at the bungalow. ...
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1answer
889 views

Which Tintin books were redrawn by Hergé?

The first nine albums were originally published in black and white, with colored editions to appear later: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (never redrawn in colour ) Tintin in the Congo Tintin in ...
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1answer
115 views

How long is the Nijni-Novgorod trade fair?

In Jules Verne, Michel Strogoff, part 1 chapter 5, when Michel arrives to Nijni-Novgorod, there's a huge trade fair going on in the city. The text seems to give two contradictory numbers about how ...