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Insula Pinguinilor

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  594 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Un misionar creștin ajunge, păcălit de Diavol, pe o insulă acoperită de ghețuri și, având o vedere foarte proastă, îi confundă pe marii pinguini din specia Great Auk (dispărută la jumătatea secolului al XIX-lea) cu niște păgâni ce trebuie creștinați. El botează toate animalele, iar Dumnezeu, care în mod normal le permite doar oamenilor să fie botezați, rezolvă problema dăr...more
Paperback, Jurnalul Național, 336 pages
Published 2010 by Curtea Veche (first published 1908)
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Community Reviews

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“As if men could live in society without disputes and without quarrels, and as if civil discords were not the necessary conditions of national life and progress… The progress of civilization manifested itself among them by murderous industry, infamous speculation, and hideous luxury.”

Penguin Island is not about penguins, but it is about history. It is a cynical retelling of the human history commenced in the era before pre-history to the modern ages, done in satire. It is certainly satirical...more
Not acually about penguins. The French are crafty like that.
Jamie Elliott
When a bumbling priest accidently baptizes a population of penguins, God is left with a cosmic problem. The solution results in the creation of the Penguin race, and is the beginning of the long history of Penguinia.

Anatole France has essentially written an entire farcical history book, satirizing various stages of human civilization. First he mocks early religion and mythology, prominently featuring the exploits of a saucy and quick-witted young woman, who in later Penguin history will be know...more
As I read this 100+ year old book, I was amazed at how all the current arguments regarding politics, society and wealth inequality are simply the recycled dreck of yesteryear. The book itself is an allegory of mankind’s history told through the story of certain penguins inadvertently baptized by a bumbling monk and thereafter turned into humans by a God who has grown somewhat soft in his old age. The author is clearly an atheist, but he is not as mean spirited as most modern adherents to the Cul...more
Vivek Tejuja
Penguin Island by Anatole France is a strange book so to say or that’s what I thought when I first started reading it. It is probably nothing like I have ever read before and maybe that is why I did not have a reference point to compare it with, which in a way was the best way to read this book.

So let me straight get to the plot: A monk discovers a previously unknown island. He is half-deaf and half-blind because of age. He cannot see the people clearly (or so he assumes them to be people). He w...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
یک رمان طنز، و یکی از بهترین آثار آناتول فرانس نویسنده فرانسوی است. کتاب نخستین بار در سال ۱۹۰۸ میلادی منتشر شده است. «جزیره پنگوئن‌ها»، روایتی از روح تاریخ حیات بشر است، داستان، اگرچه تاریخی از قوم خیالی پنگوئن را به تصویر کشیده، در حقیقت تاریخ قوم خاصی نیست، و سرنوشت بسیاری از اقوام و تمدنهای گذشته و جدید را می‌توان در آن یافت. داستان از معبدی مقدس آغاز می‌شود، جایی که بسیاری از مردان بزرگ و قدیسان نامدار را در خود پرورش داده، و این که یکی از همین مردان الهی «سن مائل کشیش» مدیریت آن را بر عهده...more
Nobody is this smart anymore, so don't even try to read this unless you're a complete egghead. It went sailing right over my head -- woooo! Almost as boring as The Late George Apley, which I also read a modern library edition of. I'm beginning not to think too much of their choice of books to publish.

Anyway this is a satire of human society, mostly political and religious aspects thereof. It starts off great: an aged monk, St. Mael, nearly blind, baptizes a flock of king penguins when he gets st...more
France doesn't bash the reader over the head with a mallet screaming THIS IS SATIRE like Swift or Voltaire. Rather, like an acupuncturist, he inserts finely crafted needles into your skull - one for Catholicism, one for socialists, one for royalists, one for industrialists, one for the military, and so on. No one escapes his fine needles. A wonderful read.
Can't believe I missed this...what could be more fun than hearing God and St. Augustine debate the merits of giving human souls to a group of penguins who were mistakenly baptized by an old monk whose eyesight was failing?
Jan 10, 2013 Jerry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Satire
Shelves: favorites
Anatole France is proving to be one of my favorite authors. In Penguin Island, he pokes fun at human civilization through satirically inventing a new race of people out of penguins baptized by a blind priest. As he traces their history, I was quite taken with how prophetic France was; many of his clever teases still hold true today. And France knows how to end a book. This is the second time my overall opinion of the entirety was increased upon reading the last few sentences (just like The Revol...more
Would help in the understanding of this book and to get a full appreciation of the writing if the reader was acquainted with the history of France. This book is a satire on religion, history of France and in particular the Dreyfus Affair and government scandals that came afterwards and just prior to World War l.It mentions bombings and the anarchists which happened around that time, but also can apply to happenings in the world, nowadays.
Carol Apple
An elderly missionary monk boards a stone boat and floats off course in a violent storm, ending up on an island in the North Sea inhabited only by penguins - which are really probably meant to be great auks. Mistaking them for a diminutive race of pagan humans the monk baptizes the entire population, an event that causes a great quandary in heaven about what to do now about the eternal destiny of creatures baptized as Christians but lacking a soul with free will. After a hilarious philosophical...more
Vasco Ribeiro
A classificação de 1 estrela não é propriamente para o livro mas por a recente leitura ter defraudado uma forte ilusão da minha juventude. De facto tinha lido este livro na adolescência e a imagem com que fiquei na altura,e durou até agora, era que este livro seria uma das minhas referências. Por isso resolvi relê-lo. Que desilusão! Até gostei de o ler, reconheço nele uma sátira espetacular, uma alegoria inigualável, um poder de síntese (por abarcar a evolução da humanidade pinguística) assinalá...more
When I read this, I was taking AP Euro, I could match up every event that France described with the actual one.
I think that's the best way to read it, you have to know how to interperet it.
And because of that, I thought it was hilarious.
I'm reading a lot more Anatole France.
Terry Garner
One of the best Nobel Prize winning books, and sadly, one of the most forgotten. Beautiful plot. While it can be tedious sometimes, the fact A. France explores so many different aspects of human nature--even some of the less interesting aspects--is amazing.
Czarny Pies
Aug 30, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History undergraduates.
Recommended to Czarny by: Nobel Prize Committee
Shelves: french-lit
Penguin Island is a brilliant satire of the political Right and the Catholic Church in the Third Republic of France when the Dreyfus affair was at its height. Anatole France attacks several easy targets with brio.

He does a wonderful retelling of the Dreyfus affaire. Dreyfus' alter-ego is a Jewish merchant charged with stealing fodder sold to the army by a Catholic aristocrat and never delivered to the army. Emile Zola makes his appearance and the cover-up of the fabrication of the charges again...more
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Impaired monk baptizes colony of penguins. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

I just want to say that the best part of this book was where God is debating with his saints about what to do about this nonsense and one of them is just like, "Make 'em like centaurs. Only with penguins." Just picturing that in my head made my day.

This is not a terribly subtle book, either. You know how in Oliver Twist everybody is horrible to the poor, but nobody really notices it? Well, in this book, the thing nobody notices is ev...more
Lori Schafer
This is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read. The initial premise concerns a fictional Saint Mael, an avid proselytizer whose travelling boat one day through the work of the devil is carried off to a distant frozen tundra. The good but aged and impossibly near-sighted Saint, finding himself surrounded by quiet, well-behaved men of short stature, proceeds to lecture and then baptize his newest batch of converts, unaware that they are not men, but penguins. This naturally creates an up...more
Got stuck baby sitting over christmas. Watched about ten hours of penguin movies. All the while thinking of Anatole France. You could read this as a meditation on poilitics, religion, human nature, etc. But it would also make a good/dark animated film.

A snow blind missionary lands in the ant-arctic. He preaches to and then baptises a bunch of penguins. In heaven, the debate begins. If they've been baptised they should have souls, and if they have souls they must have intelligence. And then the...more
Jeff Dumas
I sat down to read Penguine Island without any idea what it was going to be about. All I knew about the book was that it was on a list of books recommended by Will Durant. What an unusual journey I thought as I began reading. It wasn't until I had read about half the book that the brilliance of the book began to reveal itself. What had begun as a rather odd story started turning into an insightful perspective on the history of man and society. At least, that's my two cents. I'm glad I read it.
A school teacher recommended me Penguin Island by Anatole France. Meant to be an allegoric satire of French (and European, in general) people and their history, but while it had some nice moments, most of it was just boring or annoying, and a much too large part was consecrated to current political affairs ("current" meaning the end of the 19th century in this case), most of which have no relevance today.
Sukumar Honkote
Many places you will find the summary saying that a saint baptizes penguins and then God gives them human characteristics. Well, you may imagine an allegorical story like Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm. But it is not so. These penguins somehow rear cows, plow farms, develop claws, have breasts! This book is no allegory but a parody. A parody of history of France and some incidents. If I replace the word penguin with Pagan, then nobody will feel something has been changed. Instead of penguins,...more
This is a wonderfully witty and thought-provoking novel that presents the history of the state of Pingouinie as an allegorical story of (mostly French) history. Reading the original French is definitely recommended as France's command of language is second to none, and his nuanced text proves a delight to read. While I know enough French history to pick up on many of the allusions, I am sure there are many more that would meet a more discerning eye, but there is much that is also a commentary on...more
I really enjoyed the beginning of this, which described the transformation of the penguins into people with the associated theological debates and penguin civilization through the middle ages. After that, however, it had a hard time keeping my attention. I just don't know history well enough to really enjoy/get satire (I had the same problem with Gulliver's Travels), and that's really all there is to this short book. It skims the entirety of penguin civilization in less than 200 pages with terse...more
Tim Cusmano
Neat story. Read as a history major, and if your version doesn't have footnotes, it should (mine didn't, not sure if such a thing exists)
Divertida novela mezcla de parodia y crítica de la historia de la humanidad. Te deja un sabor amargo por las pocas esperanzas puestas por el autor en el hombre, especialmente en aquellas sociedades que se dejan llevar totalmente por el capitalismo. ¿Condenados a repetir continuamente la historia?
Anatole France's Penguin Island is rather interesting novel of human history show from point of newly found beings the penguins. No matter what, you can still adapt this novel to your own nation history. The intrigues on humans will never really change.
Esteban Gordon
"The Penguin democracy did not itself govern. It obeyed a financial oligarchy which formed opinion by means of the newspapers, and held in its hands the representatives, the ministers, and the president. It controlled the finances of the republic, and directed the foreign affairs of the country as if it were possessed of sovereign power." Excellent, excellent, excellent book. A brilliant satire of European and world history through a community of penguins turned to humans by God because of a mis...more
I'm sure it was very well written - translations don't always translate, if you know what I mean - and I'm sure it was very risky and forward thinking for it's time. Wry, sarcastic and a bit like Stephen Colbert - pretending to agree wholeheartedly while show-casing stupidity. France (Thibaut, actually) lampoons governments, education, religion - especially religion - and mankind in general, beginning with St. Mael mistaking penguins for people and baptising them; creating a dilema in heaven. I...more
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Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1921 "in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament."

Anatole France began his career as a poet and a journalist. In 1869, Le Parnasse Contemporain published one of his poems, La Part de Madeleine. In 1875, he sat on the committee which...more
More about Anatole France...
The Gods Will Have Blood (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) The Revolt of the Angels Thaïs The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard The Red Lily

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