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Anatole France (April 16, 1844 – October 12, 1924) was the pen name of French author Jacques Anatole François Thibault. He was born in Paris, France, and died in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France.
The son of a bookseller, he spent most of his life around books. His father's bookstore was called the Librairie de France and from this name Jacques Anatole François Thibault took his nom-de plume. Anatole France studied at the Collège Stanislaus and after graduation he helped his father by working at his bookstore. After several years he secured the position of a cataloguer at Bacheline-Deflorenne and at Lemerre, and in 1876 he was appointed a librarian for the French Senate. Ironic, skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was elected to the French Academy in 1896 and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. Anatole France became known after the publication of Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard (1881) where he looked back at the 18th century as a golden age. Its protagonist, skeptical old scholar Sylvester Bonnard, embodied France's own personality. The novel was praised for its elegant prose and won him a prize from the French Academy. In La rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque (1893) Anatole France ridiculed belief in the occult; and in Les opinions de Jerome Coignard (1893), France captures the atmosphere of the fin de siècle. Among France's later works is the L'Île des Pingouins (1908) where France satirizes the human nature by transforming penguins into humans - after the animals have been baptized in error by the nearsighted Abbot Mael. Anatole France's most profound novel is La Revolte des Anges (1914) where Arcade, the guardian angel of Maurice d'Esparvieu, falls in love, joins the revolutionary movement of angels, and toward the end he realizes that the overthrow of God is meaningless unless in ourselves and in ourselves alone we attack and destroy Ialdabaoth. In the 1920s France's writings were put on the index of Libri prohibiti.
Works, partial list
- Penguin Island, L'Île des Pingouins
- The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard, Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard
- The Human Tragedy, L'Humaine Tragedie
- The Queen Pedauque, La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque
- The Red Lily, Le Lys Rouge
- The Revolt of the Angels, La Revolte des Anges
- Crainquebille; Putois; Riquet; et Plusieurs Autres Recits Profitables
- Les Sept Femmes de la Barbe-Bleue et Autres Contes Merveilleux
- Monsieur Bergeret a Paris
- Sur la Pierre Blanche
- The Man Who Married A Dumb Wife play
- The Gods Are A-Thirst, Les Dieux ont Soif
- The Life of Joan of Arc 2 volumes
- Mother of Pearl
- "I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom."
- "If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
- "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread."
- "To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe."
- "Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom."
- "Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe."
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