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  • Alexandre Dumas (1802 - 1870): Topic Page

    French writer, known as Dumas père (the father). His popular historical romances were the reworked output of a ‘fiction-factory’ of collaborators.
  • Alphonse Daudet (1840 - 1897): Topic Page
    French writer, b. Nîmes (Provence). Daudet made his mark with gentle naturalistic stories and novels portraying French life both in the provinces and in Paris.
  • Anatole France (1844 - 1924)
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    French writer. He was probably the most prominent French man of letters of his time.
  • Emile Zola (1840 - 1902): Topic Page
    French novelist, b. Paris. He was a professional writer, earning his living through journalism and his novels.
  • Eugène Sue (1804 - 1857)
    from Chambers Biographical Dictionary
    French novelist; He was born in Paris, and served as a surgeon in Spain (1823) and at Navarino Bay (1827). He wrote a large number of Byronic novels, many of which were dramatized, idealizing the poor to the point of melodramatic absurdity, but they were nevertheless highly successful at the time. They had a profound influence on Victor Hugo, whose Les Misérables has much in common with Sue's Les Mystères de Paris (1843). Other novels include Le Juif errant (1845, "The Wandering Jew"), Les Sept péchés capitaux (1849, "The Seven Deadly Sins") and Les Mystères du peuple (1849, "Mysteries of the People"), which was condemned as immoral and seditious. A republican deputy, he was driven into exile in 1851.
  • George Sand (1804 - 1876): Topic Page
    Famous now for her unconventional lifestyle and her numerous love affairs, Sand was in her lifetime a literary lioness and one of the most influential women of her generation.
  • Gustave Flaubert (1821 - 1880): Topic Page
    French writer. One of the major novelists of the 19th century, he was the author of Madame Bovary (1857), Salammbô (1862), L'Education sentimentale/Sentimental Education (1869), and La Tentation de Saint Antoine/The Temptation of St Anthony (1874).
  • Guy de Maupassant (1850 - 1893): Topic Page
    French novelist and short-story writer. Maupassant is a modern exemplar of traditional French psychological realism; he portrays his characters as unhappy victims of their greed, desire, or vanity but presents even the most sordid details of their lives without sermonizing.
  • Honore de Balzac (1799 - 1850): Topic Page
    French novelist, born in Tours. Balzac ranks among the great masters of the novel.
  • Jules Verne (1828 - 1905): Topic Page
    French writer, born in Nantes. Jules Verne began his series of Voyages extraordinaires dans les mondes connus et inconnus (“Extraordinary Voyages to Known and Unknown Worlds”) in 1862.
  • Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922): Topic Page
    French novelist. He is one of the great literary figures of the modern age.
  • Stendhal (1783 - 1842): Topic Page
    French author of Le Rouge et le Noir (1831, tr. The Red and the Black), La Chartreuse de Parme (1839, tr. The Charterhouse of Parma).
  • Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885): Topic Page
    French novelist, poet, and dramatist. His melodramatic novels include Notre-Dame de Paris (1831), and Les Misérables (1862).


  • Edmond Rostand (1868 - 1918)
    From The Cambridge Guide to Theatre
    French Dramatist. At a time when naturalism was the dominant orthodoxy, Rostand's plays seem to look back to the romantic period in spirit.
  • Eugène Labiche (1815 - 1888)
    From The Cambridge Guide to Theatre
    French dramatist. Labiche was one of the more prolific authors of the 19th century.
  • Mérimée, Prosper (1803 - 1870)
    from The Columbia Encyclopedia
    (prôspĕr' mārēmā'), 1803–70, French author. He first wrote a collection of plays in imitation of Spanish drama, The Plays of Clara Gazul (1825, tr. 1825), and a collection of so-called Illyrian ballads, La Guzla (1827). His important historical novel, The Chronicle of the Reign of Charles IX (1829; tr. 1830, 1890), is marked by an objectivity and psychological penetration rare among the romanticists.


  • Novel: Topic Page
    The novel became the dominant form of Western literature in the 19th cent., which produced many works that are considered milestones in the development of the form.
  • Realism
    From The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English
    A term first used in France in the 1850s to characterize works concerned with representing the world as it is rather than as it ought to be, with description rather than invention.
  • Romanticism: Topic Page
    Summary Article: Romanticism from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide
    In literature and the visual arts, a style that emphasizes the imagination, emotions, and creativity of the individual artist. Romanticism also refers specifically to late-18th- and early-19th-century European culture, as contrasted with 18th-century classicism. See also English literature.
  • Symbolism (Literary movement): Topic Page
    Summary Article: Literary Symbolism from World History Encyclopedia
    Symbolism originated as a literary movement in France and Belgium in the 1880s, arising from a desire for something beyond the real and the material. At its root lay a dissatisfaction with the ideas of progress espoused in the name of science, which the symbolists believed left little room for the presence of higher ideals. It was for this reason that they rejected naturalism, which sought to describe its subjects in realistic detail and often drew upon scientific theories of evolution and heredity to do so. Instead, symbolism had as its goal to suggest and evoke but never describe. It eschewed mimetic descriptions in favor of evocations of sensations, spirituality, and interior thoughts and feelings.


  • Arthur Rimbaud (1854 - 1891): Topic Page
    French poet who had a great influence on the symbolists and subsequent modern poets.
  • Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867): Topic Page
    French poet and critic. His poetry, classical in form, introduced symbolism (see symbolists) by establishing symbolic correspondences among sensory images (e.g., colors, sounds, scents).
  • Charles Péguy (1873 - 1914)
    from The Columbia Encyclopedia
    (shärl pāgē'), 1873–1914, French poet and writer.
  • GÉRARD DE NERVAL 1808-1855 French writer
    from Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850
    Gérard de Nerval is often remembered for his provocative eccentricities (most famously, for walking a lobster on a blue silk lead in the gardens of the Palais Royal), his bouts of madness, and his suicide. Indeed, many of Nerval's contemporaries thought of him as merely un fol délicieux (a delightful madman). Nerval is of course partly responsible for his image as a charming bohemian, since no one worked harder than he did at the development of his own legend. But in contrast with what was sometimes a dismissive view of him as merely eccentric, posterity has judged him to be one of the major figures of French Romanticism, and at the same time a great and highly original poet who stands apart within the French tradition.
    from France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History
    French poet.
    The son of French émigrés in Uruguay, educated in both South America and southern France, and producing his major works in Paris, Lautréamont is of uncertain national status. Born in 1846 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the “comte de Lautréamont” (a pseudonym inspired by a character in Eugène Sue’s fiction) is celebrated for his monumental prose poem Les Chants de Maldoror (1868): an uncategorizable exploration of isolation, madness, and evil, it recounts the violent fantasies and adventures of an ever-metamorphosing antihero.
  • Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    French poet. He gained some notice with the Parnassian poetry of Poèmes saturniens (1866) and Fêtes galantes (1869) and became a figure in the bohemian literary world of Paris.

  • Stéphane Mallarmé (1842 - 1898): Topic Page
    French poet. A leader of the Symbolist school, he became known as a poet's poet for his condensed, hermetic verse and unorthodox syntax, reaching for the ideal world of the intellect.

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