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The Revolt of the Angels

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,318 ratings  ·  114 reviews
As in Paradise Lost, the angels are in revolt against God. On this occasion, their ringleader is inspired to rebellion after reading some books on philosophy and science.

Anatole France's 1914 satire of war, government, and religion offers an ever-resonant protest against violence and tyranny.
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published January 1st 1928 by JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD LTD (first published 1914)
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Michael Baun I previously stranded after the first chapter as well, and only picked it up again this weekend. The story starts up for real not too far in, and abou…moreI previously stranded after the first chapter as well, and only picked it up again this weekend. The story starts up for real not too far in, and about halfway through, I can say for sure that it's time well invested to power through the first couple of less-than-mindblowing chapters. (less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  1,318 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-language
Raining Angels in Paris and Washington

Can there be such a genre, biblical material excepted, as the anticipatory allegory? If so, Revolt of the Angels could well be a prime example.

In this week's NYRB (Nov. 6 2017), Charles Simic has a piece commemorating Trump's election. In it he puts Trump in a literary context:
"The only character I can think of in the world literature who resembles Donald Trump is Père Ubu in the play Ubu Roi (“Ubu the King”) by Alfred Jarry that famously opened and closed
I read this book as part of my Nobel Prize for Literature Awardees reading list. As it turned out it is one the longest list I will ever try to finish. Sometimes I too wonder where I found the audacity to attempt to foray in this kind of reading list.

The Revolt of the Angels is my initial foray into Anatole France's works, which definitely is not my last one. It was not his first, as France was apparently a poet and a journalist too, but is considered to be his most profound novel. I was a suck
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a book that could only have been written in France. And poor Anatole France got on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books for his efforts. The Revolt of the Angels is not really a work of irreligion as it is of gentle irony.

It all starts when Arcade, the guardian angel of Maurice d'Esparvieu, starts reading books in the famed d'Esparvieu library and decides that the God whom he served was actually a demiurge named Ialdabaoth. He enlists other angels who are living among men to jo
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A clever and mischievous take on the theology of modern society, The Revolt of the Angels follows the path of Arcade, a lowly guardian angel, as he happens upon the ugly truths of his divine master in the library of his human charge. Anatole France takes what could be a very dry polemic against the slavery of religion and makes it into a charming romp with his gifts for characterization and story-telling. As Maurice, the young man abandoned by Arcade, struggles to get his guardian back, we are s ...more
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was a bit slow for me. But, didn't allow it to discourage and me kept on. At the end honestly can say was a fantastic read.
Krystal Hickam
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found it at a Half Price Books and it just seemed to call out to me. It's classified as a satire, but I think that is because atheism isn't something that could be talked about back in the day when this book was first published. The main story is much like the title. A band of Angels wants to revolt against God and heaven. These fallen angels don't think that God is good, or that he is all powerful as he claims to be. They are educated, having read many philosophical books, ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book offers a heartening plot idea: the overthrow of god by revolting angels who have discovered the true origin and function of the universe through science. Ordinarily such a story would provide plenty of good reading and feeling which any intellectual critique of religion can offer to anyone with an open mind. My low rating for the book is not because of the plot but because I just was not captivated by the writing. Maybe it was the translation. It would be great if a new author would wr ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
religion, trusting spiritual woo-woo over science, and the corrupting nature of ultimate power are all delved into in this novel, in which fallen angels come to earth to plan the overthrow of heaven (and the fallen angels are the good guys).

This novel put me in mind of my favorite Russian novel The Master and Margarita. If you like one of these novels, you will likely find something to enjoy in the other.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
It's becoming obvious that many of my bk 'reviews' are actually just excuses for anecdotes w/ just a little bk review thrown in here & there. That's the case here. I've been writing a math humor bk called "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich & other examples of PNT (Perverse Number Theory)" - in fact, it's more or less finished now: I'm just working on the Glossary & the Index. Part of this bk entails my navigating thru my notes about math bks that I read between, roughly, 2003 & 2005. In one of the ...more
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read Revolt of the Angels again for Bibliogoth, practically in one sitting. I really enjoyed it. Revolutionaries disguised as angels and politics disguised as religion. It has old libraries full of books, love affairs, and bombs. It’s a book that hardly anyone has ever heard of but if you can find a copy it’s well worth a read.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal read and apparently a national treasure in France. The French speaking world is so much more literate than the trite English speaking world. Has that "thing." People looking for a certain type of literature know what that "thing" is.
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
elegant, and very fun
3rd reading (2018)
It's still a shock how obscenely boring those first 36 pages are. With each read I care even less for the human-only subplots.

2nd reading (2017)
I still loved it, though the opening was even slower than I remembered (I didn't re-read my earlier review before re-reading the book): those first 36 pages do draaaaaaag. I skimmed over a lot of the chapters with only human characters, because the angel chapters are where the important action is. I love this book for meshing together b
A Ab.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a manifesto for an individual inner self revolution.
Satan has access to d’Esparvieu family library,one of the ‘vastest libraries in the world’.It’s librarian prefers the books to remain on the shelves untouched, lest they may be damaged! But this is not for Satan; he is invisible, so has access to the library and is reading them ferociously .”I have learnt.I have thought.I have lost my faith.”
He tells of “the progress his mind had made towards knowledge and liberty, of his philosophical
Olya Neshcheretnaya
Jun 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a novel about a coup attempt in the heavenly firmament. The angels, frustrated in the politics of God, descend upon Earth to prepare the overthrow of their master.
In General, the author is ridiculing the events of 1812 in France. The problem is that if you're not aware of the historical events of the time, it is unlikely to be able to capture the essence of satire, presented by Anatole France this work.
If the "Island penguins", the author ridicules the history of France, and we, as reade
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I think it's a must read "black humour" political comedy.
A smart and unconventional comedy with a deep dive analysis in politics, religion and human nature. The plot was brilliant and imaginative, while the characters are - i believe - intentionally unrealistic and shallow which makes an excellent contrast with the seriousness of the situation and the events that take place - and, of course, makes the book hilariously ironic.
Beka Sukhitashvili
Goood, like angels and Demons!
Satire, ironies, caricature ...
Brent Buell
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books. It turns the world of religion upside down. It was part of the inspiration for my novel RAPTUROUS.
Vicky Hunt
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
If the angels spoke... what would they have to say about religion? In the case of Anatole France's talking angels, whether they are fallen angels or heavenly angels; they reveal a great deal about faith, religion, and God's plan for our lives.

France plays the devil's advocate in this cynical story that reminds me of The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis. The big difference is that C. S. Lewis was a Christian believer, and his book very well gave you the ability to compare and contrast belief w
Straight up I did not enjoy this book.
I gave it three stars because I recognize it as a trailblazing genre-creating piece of work but it was hard to read just dry ponderous slow with long detail descriptions that didn't add anything to the story and it didn't sound like how someone would speak or think, but maybe, that is a reflection of the writer's world in a time before electronics people probably were better read and therefore they thought and spoke like they were reading out of the New York
Mike W
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
One of the great plot ideas I’ve come across. It’s good satire but ultimately underwhelming.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's not often you come about a well-written, easily read, funny and clever book, which also happens to carry a significant message. If you're a hardcore Christian, this probably isn't for you, but to others - this book was a joy to read. Vivid characters too, thought there isn't necessarily a lot of in depth details on most of them, France still made them very present and lively.
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is basically a treatise on atheism. It is also a good example of the "novel of ideas". The story is fairly simple. A guardian angel discovers a library that belongs to the father of his charge, and starts reading. As he reads he realises that the Being he recognized as master and as God of all things was nothing but a demiurge, one among many, ignorant and cruel, who enforces his rule in Heaven by sheer force. He then sets off to rally the other "fallen" angels and spark a rebellion ag ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very original book with a neat writing and a nice flow that keeps you turning every page. What I especially liked was the description and building of characters. Each one was unique and has a specific role to play in the plot, a certain meaning for story that the writer wanted to convey. There were believers and nonbelievers, humans and angels alike, each one with their own story, very often a comical yet realistic one.

I generally liked how France interwines the polarization of religion vs. sc
Aug 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
After the Divine Comedy, I suppose this is the complete opposite viewpoint and felt like a complete rejection of God in his Christian setting. It’s in a lot of ways contradictory(angels losing faith in itself is a rather amusing idea). Although I thought the premise was interesting and angels becoming revolutionaries in the anarchist/socialist fashion of the beginning of the 20th century was a welcome analogy, it ultimately felt much like an invective against absolute power as well as religion. ...more
Salome Popiashvili
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There's not a lot of book I'm enjoying but this one was good. It is refined, nicely moderated and tasteful work, and of course story line is perfectly formulated.
There was one think I consider interesting and it was the idea of demons facilitation of human kinds development.
I think Anatole France was inspired by John milton's Lost Heaven because as I remember there (Lost Heaven) is really inspiring part, where devil is thinking about why he choose this way, he choose freedom, free will and etc.
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read straight through without pause, in a while. Well, without pausing for another book at any rate.
Engaging and entertaining, it is well worth the time spent. While not a comic novel, I did find several amusing bits in it, like the following: "From his earliest childhood, this young hopeful's sole concern with work had been considering how he might best avoid it, and it was through his remaining ignorant of the Ecole de Droit that he became a doctor of law and a bar
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is alternately shockingly modern, and weirdly old-fashioned. I found it via a China Mieville list of socialist sci-fi/fantasy, and it fits his bill: realizing The Boss is corrupt, and wanting to fix it. That story is, of course, timeless. But the angels choosing Paris to launch their revolt? A library taking a central role? And a mid-book history monologue that would make Ayn Rand blush? All... perhaps somewhat more challenging for th modern reader. Still, I enjoyed it!
Matt Stucky
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first of Anatole France's books that I have read, and it won't be the last. It seemed easier to read than author's in America from the same time period. The French and Catholic history of the time was deep, but I felt you had to really read into it, as it wasn't a major part of the story.
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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Arkansas Friends ...: Group Read #1: The Revolt of the Angels 1 4 Aug 18, 2019 08:26AM  

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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

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