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.

40 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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12
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164 views

When was young Cosette's bedtime?

While the song "Come to Me" was probably not intended as a treatise on astronomical timekeeping or 19th-century French child-rearing, some of Fantine's lines (taken at face value) fit together for a ...
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118 views

“The Dearest Charms in France” - French story about soldiers, a lottery, and a famous prostitute

Several years ago, I read a memorable short story included as an example (of what, I don't recall) in a book about writing. The story was set in a historical era of France. I believe it was ...
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305 views

Why is the last title in Proust's “Search For Lost Time” not consistently translated as “Time Found Again”?

Marcel Proust wrote a seven-volume French novel called A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. The original French title of the last volume was Le Temps Retrouvé. It seems to me that in these titles Proust ...
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77 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 ...
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497 views

In Baudelaire's “Chant d'automne”, why isn't the hidden rhythm better known?

I noticed something remarkable about one of Baudelaire's poems that I can't find any mention of on the web. My question is whether anybody has noticed this before, and whether there's some reason why ...
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42 views

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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155 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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140 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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54 views

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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251 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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23 views

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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28 views

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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58 views

When and where did Maximilian first meet Valentine?

I am currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo (Wordsworth Classics English translation, complete and unabridged) and have reached page 603/875 = 69%. Around p400 the author introduces us to an ...
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34 views

What is meant by “pensée indétérminée” in Geneva School?

When I was learning about Geneva School critics, my tutor said that Georges Poulet and other Geneva School critics wanted to remove the biographical author although he still survives as an ...
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85 views

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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91 views

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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29 views

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 ...
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40 views

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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323 views

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 ...
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49 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 ...
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23 views

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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25 views

Is Lambert-Sarrazin's moustache speech in Bel-Ami an allusion to a real speech?

The beginning of Chapter V in Part Two of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami tells us about political discussions regarding the French colonisation of North Africa. One of the members of Parliament (the Third ...
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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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19 views

Why did Madame Roland confess to Jean that he is the legitimate son of Maréchal instead of Pierre?

Reading Pierre et Jean, we know that Pierre is the legitimate son of Maréchal yet Madame Roland confessed to Jean instead that he is his true son. Why is this the case?
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45 views

Why is The Power of Fables, in Book VIII of Fables by La Fontaine, addressed to Paul Barillon, the French ambassador to England?

The Power of Fables (Le pouvoir des Fables), fable 4 of Book VIII of Fables written by La Fontaine, is addressed to Paul Barillon, the French ambassador to England under Louis XIV. I know that La ...
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18 views

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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12 views

How did Maupassant's contemporaries respond to his play Musotte?

As I mentioned in an earlier question, it is a little-known fact that Maupassant did not only write narrative prose but also plays. The French Wikipedia article lists several plays by Maupassant: ...
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23 views

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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12 views

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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56 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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51 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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74 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? ...
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23 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 ...
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18 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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17 views

How does Mérimée's Carmen mix the genres classical tragedy, romantic drama and picaresque novel?

Prosper Mérimée's novella Carmen (1845/1847) is best known as the source for George Bizet's opera Carmen (1875). The French Wikipedia article about the novella contains the following unsourced ...
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15 views

How did Flaubert show in Bouvard et Pécuchet that history repeats itself?

The French Wikipedia article on Gustave Flaubert contains a section on Bouvard et Pécuchet, the author's unfinished novel. This section contains the following unsourced statement: Critiquant les ...
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15 views

How did Maupassant's contemporaries respond to his play Une répétition?

Guy de Maupassant is best known as an author of short stories and novels. It is less well known that he also wrote plays. The English Wikipedia article about the author only mentions his early comedy ...
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21 views

Was Maupassant's interest in madness and the supernatural linked to his own mental health?

The French publisher Gallimard has a short biography of Guy de Maupassant on its website. The last lines read, Vers 1885, Maupassant ressent les premiers symptômes de la maladie nerveuse qui l'...
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14 views

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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21 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 ill repute had ...