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Best of French Literature

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message 1: by Keith, Club Moderator (new)

Keith | 595 comments Mod
I sent this to Monique because she and I had previously had some discussions on the topic, but then I figured why not share with the group. I came across a list titled "The Best Works of French Literature". The only downside was that the list specifically stated that it was limiting to only 1 book per author, so an author who has multiple excellent works got kind of screwed over (sorry Flaubert, Dumas, Balzac). Still, it looks to be quite an impressive list, and it's nice that it includes some contemporary works as well. Here it is:

La Princesse de Clèves by Madame de La Fayette
L'Astrée by Honoré d'Urfé
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe by François-René de Chateaubriand
Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier
Le Désert de l'amour by François Mauriac
Thérèse the Philosopher by Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'Argens
Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
L'Amant Marguerite Duras
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
Nausea by Jean-Paul Satre
Philosophy in the Bedroom by Marquis de Sade
Under Fire by Henri Barbusse
The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono
Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Germinal by Émile Zola
Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Froth on the Daydream by Boris Vian
Persian Letters by Montesquieu
Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
Les Vrilles de la vigne by Colette
La Nuit commence au Cap Horn by Marc Augier
Mademoiselle de Maupin by Théophile Gautier
The Memorial of Saint Helena by Emmanuel, comte de Las Cases
Candide by Voltaire
Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
Mémoires de Guerre by Charles de Gaulle
Tristes Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss
The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau
The Life Before Us by Romain Gary
Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen
Jacques the Fatalist and his Master by Denis Diderot
Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert
La Comédie humaine by Honoré de Balzac
Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb
Le Procès-Verbal by J. M. G. Le Clézio
Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
Man's Fate by André Malraux
Les Égarés by Frédérick Tristan
Voyage autour du monde by Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Atomised (The Elementary Particles) by Michel Houellebecq
Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Confession of a Child of the Century by Alfred de Musset
Les Chants de Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont
Friday, or, The Other Island by Michel Tournier
The Blue Hussar by Roger Nimier
Nadja by André Breton
Les Fruits d'or by Nathalie Sarraute
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Ice People by René Barjavel
Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol
Atlantida by Pierre Benoit
À rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans
Travaux by Georges Navel
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
Miserable Miracle by Henri Michaux


message 2: by Cari, Club Moderator (last edited Oct 21, 2016 07:54PM) (new)

Cari (mambaitaliana) | 327 comments Mod
I had to read Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Les Miserables for my ethics and philosophy classes in college. Of course Le Petit Prince as a child. In fact, Monique had mentioned Le Petit Prince is one of her favorites. Perhaps we can suggest this reading list next month? I have always wanted to read the Count of Monte Cristo...


message 3: by Keith, Club Moderator (new)

Keith | 595 comments Mod
I've read 7 on the list, including the Count of Monte Cristo, which is quite good and would recommend. If you're going to read it though - be aware of which translation you read. Some of the early translations by British nationals had content edited due to their Victorian sensibilities.


message 4: by Tanya (new)

Tanya (tanya712) | 238 comments Thanks for sharing. I've read only 5, seems pathetic considering I studied French from 7th grade through college. Even more pathetic that I'm still not fluent


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