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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351 views

In which interview did Camus say that Meursault is the only Christ we deserved?

In two YouTube videos about Albert Camus's novel L'étranger / The Stranger, I have found the following quote, which supposedly comes from an interview from 1955: Meursault est le seul Christ que nous ...
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1answer
72 views

19th-century French "flash fiction" writer/journalist

I'm trying to find the name of a fin-de-siècle writer/feuilletoniste/journalist who wrote very short fiction pieces based on crime stories in the Paris newspapers. A collection of these was published ...
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1answer
49 views

What is meant by "pensée indétérminée" in the Geneva School?

When I was learning about the 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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1answer
69 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. ...
3
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1answer
50 views

Did Maupassant and Richepin know each other?

One of the first questions in the Guy de Maupassant reading challenge was Political backdrop to “The Lancer's Wife” (Franco-Prussian War)?. After I was unable to find the story in French, it turned ...
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112 views

In Maupassant's Bel-Ami, why would it be compromising for a magistrate to have been in (the) mixed committees?

In the second chapter of Part Two of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, Georges Duroy's wife turns out to have interesting connections that allow the couple to write newspaper articles that can make or break ...
3
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1answer
79 views

Where did French writer Céline get his pen name from?

French author Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, the author of Journey to the End of the Night, used Céline, a French female first name as his pen name. Any idea where he got it from?
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102 views

What are the duties of a "receveur particulier"?

In Zola's Rougon-Macquart novels, specifically La Fortune des Rougon, set in December 1851, around the time of Napoleon III's coup d'etat, Pierre Rougon seeks to obtain the post of "receveur ...
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1answer
63 views

Meaning of "temporary absolution" in Maizeroy's "The Confession"

What is "temporary absolution" in the quoted passage from "The Confession" by René Maizeroy? She grew excited, sobbed, seemed enervated and worn out, as if she were still burning from her lover’s ...
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1answer
239 views

What does Camus mean by "the disastrous fact that love and desire must be expressed in the same way"?

Here is a set of lines from the book A Happy Death by Albert Camus: In the past, whenever Mersault had spent any time with one woman, he made the first gestures of commitment, he was conscious of ...
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397 views

Why would Maman ask for a religious burial?

In the first chapter of The Stranger, it says: The director stopped at the door of a small building. "I'll leave you now, Monsieur Meursault. If you need me for anything, I'll be in my office. As ...
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138 views

Why does everyone turn against Mlle Michonneau in Balzac's Père Goriot?

Why does everyone turn against Mlle Michonneau very suddenly after the arrest of Vautrin? (Even Rastignac, who knows that Vautrin's pal murdered Victorine's brother.)
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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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64 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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"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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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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29 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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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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24 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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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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1answer
86 views

Who does “he” refer to in this passage from Les Miserables?

In the following passage from Les Miserables, with characters Mr. Thenardier and Jean Valjean, who does the bold "he" refer to? Be that as it may, on entering into conversation with the man, sure ...
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1answer
294 views

Why did Victor Hugo take several pages to say that his knowledge of Paris was woefully out of date?

At one point in Les Miserables, Victor Hugo inserted a fairly lengthy disclaimer (I don't recall the exact chapter number) explaining that his knowledge of Paris was basically accurate but several ...
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84 views

Why didn't Mercédès marry Edmond Dantès at the end in Count of Monte Cristo?

After Fernand is dead, Mercédès was single and she loved Edmond Dantès. Then why didn't she marry him afterward? Is it because Monte Cristo is a changed person and she did not love the changed man? It ...
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1answer
114 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
59 views

Where did Anouilh acknowledge that his play Becket contains many historical inaccuracies?

The French playwright Jean Anouilh wrote the play Becket or The Honour of God / Becket ou l'Honneur de Dieu inspired by Archbishop Thomas Becket's conflict with king Henry II. (In 1964, five years ...
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1answer
129 views

Is there a Reader's Guide to Hunchback of Notre Dame?

I (well, currently my wife, but I plan to as well) am trying to read Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame in a beautiful faux-suede edition that we received as a gift. However, there are various ...
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1answer
84 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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1answer
44 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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70 views

What political leanings are being described for Monsieur Carre-Lamadon?

I've just begun reading the complete short stories of Guy de Maupassant, starting with one of his most famous, "Boule de Suif" (variously translated as "Dumpling", "Butterball", etc.) In an early ...
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1answer
182 views

Is Meursault bothered that he doesn't know what day Maman died?

The first line of The Stranger goes like this: Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: "Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours." That doesn'...
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1answer
1k views

Meaning of the prose of Monsieur Jourdain

I just stumbled across the expression in Molière's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme of Monsieur Jourdain having been speaking prose for all of his life. As far as I understand this is used today as a ...
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1answer
85 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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1answer
70 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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1answer
141 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
55 views

What does Albert Camus mean with "they remembered pleasure"?

In his novel The Plague, Albert Camus wrote among others: So everyone comes down into the streets, they deafen each other with talk, argue or lust after one another - and the town, under the red July ...
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1answer
55 views

Where did Joseph Conrad praise Anatole France as an analyst of illusions?

The French Wikipedia article about Les dieux ont soif (The Gods Are Athirst), a novel by Anatole France, contains the following quote attributed to Joseph Conrad: « C’est un grand analyste d’...
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1k 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
457 views

What does Camus mean by this sentence?

I read 'A happy death' by 'Albert Camus' . In this book , Mersault once said: Believe me, there is no such thing as great suffering, great regret, great memory . . . Everything is forgotten, ...
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1answer
43 views

Which French author or critic claimed that Racine and La Fontaine could not be understood by foreigners?

Jean Racine (1639–1699) is considered "one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille". The Wikipedia article about the playwright contains a ...
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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. ...
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41 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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24 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 ...
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31 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?
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107 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 ...
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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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31 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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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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2answers
1k views

What is Meursault's problem with the heat?

Meursault in The Stranger seems to spend a lot of time describing the temperature, and especially the heat. There are numerous cases where he mentions the sun and the heat: It occurred to me that all ...
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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? ...