Image of Anatole France


Lifetime: 1844 - 1924 Passed: ≈ 99 years ago





Anatole France

Anatole France was a French poet, journalist, and novelist with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature "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".

France is also widely believed to be the model for narrator Marcel's literary idol Bergotte in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

The son of a bookseller, France, a bibliophile, spent most of his life around books. His father's bookstore specialized in books and papers on the French Revolution and was frequented by many writers and scholars. France studied at the Collège Stanislas, a private Catholic school, and after graduation he helped his father by working in his bookstore. After several years, he secured the position of cataloguer at Bacheline-Deflorenne and at Lemerre. In 1876 he was appointed librarian for the French Senate.

In 1877, France married Valérie Guérin de Sauville, a granddaughter of Jean-Urbain Guérin, a miniaturist who painted Louis XVI. Their daughter Suzanne was born in 1881 (and died in 1918).

France's relations with women were always turbulent, and in 1888 he began a relationship with Madame Arman de Caillavet, who conducted a celebrated literary salon of the Third Republic. The affair lasted until shortly before her death in 1910.

After his divorce, in 1893, France had many liaisons, notably with a Madame Gagey, who committed suicide in 1911.

In 1920, France married for the second time, to Emma Laprévotte.

France was a socialist and an outspoken supporter of the 1917 Russian Revolution. In 1920, he gave his support to the newly founded French Communist Party.

France had a brain size just two-thirds normal.

The English writer George Orwell defended France and declared that his work remained very readable, and that "it is unquestionable that he was attacked partly from political motives".

Books by Anatole France

Penguin Island Cover image

Penguin Island

Satire History Novel
Nature Human Traits

Penguin Island is a satirical fictional history by Nobel Prize-winning French author Anatole France. Penguin Island by Anatole France was published in 1908.

Thais  Cover image


Fairy Tale Novel
Desert Deception Journey Christianity Myths Libertine Legends

An ascetic hermit of the Egyptian desert, journeys to Alexandria to find Thais, the libertine beauty whom he knew as a youth. Masquerading as a dandy, he is able to speak with her about eternity; surprisingly he succeeds in converting her to Christia...

Honey-Bee Cover image


Philosophy Non-Fiction Novel
Beauty Transformation Enlightenment Children Society Passion Growth Desire Wisdom Pursuit Consequences Coming-of-age Honey Bee

This captivating tale takes readers on a remarkable exploration of intellectual curiosity, societal norms, and the power of human connection. Anatole France masterfully weaves a narrative that centers around the life of Cyprian, a passionate and tale...

Revolt of the Angels Cover image

Revolt of the Angels

Anatole France, in his satirical and allegorical fashion, weaves a tale of fantasy which finds a mischievous guardian angel stealing books from his earthly charge, who happens to be an archbishop in possession of a plethora of literature, mostly theo...

Gods are Athirst Cover image

Gods are Athirst

The Gods Are Athirst (French: Les dieux ont soif, also translated as The Gods Are Thirsty or The Gods Will Have Blood) is a 1912 novel by Anatole France. The story follows the young Parisian painter Évariste Gamelin, who rises speedily from his humb...

Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard Cover image

Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard

Noted historian sets out to locate and research a rare manuscript: the French version of -- "The Golden Legend" -- and meets the daughter of a woman he once loved. Complications follow. - Summary by David Crosby