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Penguin Island

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,043 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Penguin Island is a satirical novel by Anatole France first published in 1908. The book details the history of the penguins and is written as a critique of human nature, and is also a satire on France's political history, including the Dreyfus affair. Morals, customs and laws are satirised within the context of the fictional land of Penguinia, where the animals were baptis ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published by Book Jungle (first published 1908)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jul 24, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic, fiction
Not acually about penguins. The French are crafty like that.
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 دا ...more
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
“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
Kirsten **Be A Dragon**
So, I am staying at the Baroness Hotel in Seattle for a few days and I found this book in my room. Wow! Am I glad I picked it up. It said it was a satire, but it was much better than that. It was a French satire of someone who lived in the Gilded Age.

This means anyone who supports Bernie Sanders would really appreciate some of the satire. It also sends up religion, politics, property rights, war, etc. I just loved it. One reason is how it was written. Maybe it's because it's French. (Those peop
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
Vivek Tejuja
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, dystopia, humor
Puoi trovare questa recensione anche sul mio blog ---> La siepe di more

Davanti all'Affare Dreyfus, nel quale si accusava un innocente, non tutti rimasero a guardare ed è ormai proverbiale il J'Accuse...! che Émile Zola scagliò dalle pagine de L'Aurore contro coloro che misero in piedi l'intera vicenda. Non solo: l'indomani, sul medesimo giornale, comparve la Petizione degli intellettuali, firmata tra gli altri anche da Anatole France.

Lo scrittore, oltre a essere molto colpito dall'Affare (pro
Zeynep Nur
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
Kitabı okumaya başladığımda ilk bölümler, özellikle Tanrı'nın Azizlerle konuştuğu kısım, bana Saramago'yu hatırlatmıştı ki Saramago'nun yazım tarzını, alaycılığını her zaman sevmişimdir. Bu yüzden de kitabın ilk yarısını çok beğendim. Fakat geri kalan kısımlar beni hayal kırıklığına uğrattı. Sanki yazarın canı sıkılmıştı ama yazmak zorundaymış gibi olaylara devam edilmişti.

Konusu gelecek olursak;
Aziz Mael, oldukça yaşlı, gözleri neredeyse kör, kulakları neredeyse sağır bir rahiptir. Kendini din
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
A ton funnier than I expected.
A blind old monk accidentally lands on an island inhabited solely by pingouins (a word which, though used colloquially modern French for what we in English consider Antarctic penguins, actually refers to Great Auks, a cause of great confusion in my elementary school days as penguins are actually manchots - this is hilariously mentioned in the introduction).
Being blind and deaf and maybe mad, but very pious, he blesses and baptizes this strange race of want he
Mike Ceballos
Criticar a la sociedad francesa desde un punto de vista satírico no es nada fácil, y muchos menos lo es hacer lo mismo con su historia, llena de encuentros que pudieran parecer cómicos o simplemente absurdos. Esto es lo que logra Anatole France con su novela “La Isla de los Pingüinos”; donde el autor nos lleva a través de la historia y una revisión un tanto polémica del pensamiento francés. Desde la fundación del país mismo y su sentimiento nacionalista hasta los albores del siglo XX, Anatole lo ...more
Nov 05, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Gerry



Mael, a scion of a royal family of Cambria, was sent in his ninth year to the Abbey of Yvern so that he might there study both sacred and profane learning. At the age of fourteen he renounced his patrimony and took a vow to serve the Lord. His time was divided, according to the rule, between the singing of hymns, the study of grammar, and the meditation of eternal truths.

A celestial perfume soon disclosed
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
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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.
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
The premise of France’s novel is a little better than his execution: a senile, blind old monk stumbles upon an island of penguins and mistakenly baptizes them as people. This causes a brief crisis in heaven among God, the saints, and the “learned men” (one of France’s little jokes is that all the truly learned men are in hell because of their "heresy," leaving heaven devoid of true brain power), who conclude that the best idea would be for God to transform the penguins into humans.

So begins the
Lori Schafer
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant satire of human history. The commentaries from this more than a hundred year old work aligns neatly with the current socio-political discussions. The illuminating fictionalised account of the Dreyfus Affair is an added bonus
Carol Apple
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nostalgia Reader
Feb 24, 2017 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nostalgia Reader by: The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
Too religiously allegorical for me. I know it's supposed to be satire, but I'm just not getting it. A bit too obscure, even for me.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anatole France manages, with a highly disturbing prescience and insight, to paint an ironic reality on which all the long road of history's logic is put on trial. For this he uses a self: pseudo interested in the truth about the Penguin nation, baptized by a saint (Mael) and thus transformed in human form, a world in which he plays the respectful scholar, borrowed in the archives, who feed the need to understand and respect the Penguin nation's legends and official narrative thread (like the one ...more
Terry Garner
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michael Haase
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you're planning to purchase this novel, be sure that the copy you intend to buy includes the astounding illustrations of Frank C. Papé:

The novel is brilliant per se, but I must admit, much of my enjoyment came from anticipating such fantastic artwork at the end of every chapter. The Dover Thrift edition is a good copy to get in English as it includes the drawings and is very cheap.

To briefly sum up the novel, it recapitulates the history of Europe (especially France) from the introduction of
Muy bien en cuanto a sátira y análisis de la sociedad; decepcionante en cuanto a pingüinos. El principio es fantástico porque son ellos los que tienen protagonismo, y sobre todo, porque el argumento parte y se sustenta sobre ese hecho. No obstante, desde ahí hasta el final te encuentras leyendo una novela que bien podría tratar perfectamente sobre seres humanos o cualquier otra criatura que no sean pingüinos, con lo cual pierde absolutamente todo el encanto. De vez en cuando aparece la palabra " ...more
Mariam Gachechiladze
"თუ სიმდიდრე და ცივილიზაცია იმდენივე საომარ მიზეზს შობს, რამდენსაც სიღატაკე და ველურობა, თუ ადამიანის სიგიჟე და სიბოროტე განუკურნავია, მხოლოდ ერთი კეთილი საქმის გაკეთება შეიძლება. ბრძენი დინამიტს შეაგროვებდა და ჩვენს პლანეტას ააფეთქებდა; და როცა იგი სივრცეში ნაწილებად გაიფანტება, სამყარო მცირეოდენ გაუმჯობესდება. ამით დაკმაყოფილდება მსოფლიო სინდისი, რომელიც, სხვათა შორის არც არსებობს."
Davood Ghanbari
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
. داستان پرکشش آناتول فرانس یک پارودی است به اندازه کل تاریخ بشریت. داستان با افسانه آغاز می شود و سرانجام پا به تاریخ می گذارد. آناتول فرانس نویسنده فرانسوی به داشتن نثر فاخر در ادبیات فرانسه شهرت داشت. و همچینین نام مترجم برجسته اش را هم از یاد نبرید.
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Around the Year i...: Penguin Island, by Anatole France 2 11 Nov 09, 2016 09:37AM  
  • Aphrodite
  • La Prisonnière (À la recherche du temps perdu, #5)
  • Jean Barois
  • L'Argent
  • Thérèse Desqueyroux
  • In the Labyrinth
  • Horace
  • The Vicar of Tours
  • Les Caractères
  • A Dweller on Two Planets (Or, The Dividing of the Way)
  • The Planetarium
  • The Monkey Grammarian
  • La Vie de Marianne
  • Jean Christophe Vol I
  • A Quiet Life
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
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“«Signori, i pinguini sono malcontenti del nuovo regime, perché, anche se ne traggono profitto, è naturale per gli uomini lamentarsi della propria condizione.” 0 likes
“«Non vedi, figliolo» esclamò, «quel pazzo furioso che sta strappando a morsi il naso dell’avversario, e quell’altro che schiaccia sotto un masso enorme la testa di una donna?» «Vedo», replicò Bulloch. «Stanno creando il diritto; fondano la proprietà; stabiliscono i princìpi della civiltà, le basi della società e le assise dello Stato.» «In che modo?» domandò il vegliardo. «Delimitando il proprio campo. Tale è l’origine di ogni sistema di disciplina. I vostri pinguini, maestro, stanno compiendo la più augusta delle funzioni: la loro opera sarà celebrata nei secoli dai legislatori, protetta e confermata dai magistrati.»” 0 likes
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