7 Best French Books Update 05/2022

Best French Books

During my time at Oxford I read a lot of French books. The course is very focused on literature, so I read a lot of great books from the 16th century to the 20th century while I was there.

This time, I read a lot of great books, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. Here are 13 French classics that you must read because they are the best of French literature.

French novels from the 19th century, which is what I think of as the golden age of French literature, make up most of the books on this list.

This was a very interesting time in French history, and there were a lot of social, cultural, and political changes. Check out my favorite things below.

Best French Novels of All Time

The Lover by Marguerite Duras

The Lover by Marguerite Duras

French writer Marguerite Duras is one of the top and most famous women in the country to write in the language. I love her books so much that I wrote a dissertation about the mother-daughter relationships she shows in them.

Duras’ most famous work is called “The Lover,” and it’s based on his own life. It’s set in French colonial Vietnam, and it’s told from the point of view of a 15-year-old girl who gets into a relationship with a much older Chinese businessman.

If you think about Nabokov’s Lolita, you might think of this book. It has even been called the “Anti-Lolita.”

Her mother, a single mother, is obsessed with money, status, and how well she fits in with other people. The protagonist is her daughter. Because of this, she takes advantage of everything she has with this weather businessman and with her daughter.

It’s so, so weird, but it’s a great book to read.

People who love Duras are going to love this book. If you want to read modern French literature books, this would be a good place to start.

Almost all of the classic French books on this list are set in France, but this novel gives a unique look at French colonial Vietnam, making it stand out from the rest.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

In the history of French literature, Madame Bovary is one of the most well-known books ever. It was the first book written by Gustave Flaubert and was published in the 1850s.

There are too many French romance novels that Madame Bovary has read and she always wants more. She has a picture of what her life and marriage will be like.

She always wants to be more socially well-off, make big romantic gestures, have beautiful things, and more. He doesn’t meet all of her expectations, so she doesn’t get what she wants out of her marriage. Her life also doesn’t live up to her expectations.

We see Emma Bovary’s character change as she tries to live up to her unrealistic expectations of life. I didn’t like her very much, but she represents a type that was common then and is common now.

This is one of the best French novels. Anyone who wants to learn more about French literature should read this one. Flaubert is thought to be one of the most important French novelists, and one of the most important writers of all time. His book gives a fascinating look into nineteenth-century French society.

Realism and romanticism are mixed together in this book, which may be interesting to people who are more interested in how a book looks than how the story goes.

Candide by Voltaire

A lot of people think of Candide as the adult version of The Little Prince. It’s a book by one of the most important French philosophers, Voltaire.

There is a lot of adventure, discovery, and even romance in this story, but it’s really a critical look at French society in the 1800s.

It was during this time that short stories, like Candide, became a serious literary genre. Writers used the short story format to hide their didactic and philosophical ideas.

Voltaire uses a traveler as his main character to compare two different worlds and let people ask “innocent” questions about new things they have never heard of.

There are two ways readers can enjoy this story: They can enjoy it as a fun short story, or they can go deeper and learn about Voltaire’s serious criticism of society, which is still funny today.

You can start here if you aren’t sure what French literature is all about. This is one of the shortest books on the list, so it’s a good place to start.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Stranger by Albert Camus

It’s a common sight in French schools: The Stranger is one of the best modern French novels and one of the most well-known French books in English.

Camus wrote a short story about a man who has a very normal life until his mother dies. The story is about how his life changes.

For not reacting to her death, society looks down on him. This later decides his fate. He isn’t very moved by her death. He doesn’t even cry.

In this, Camus shows us the best way to think about the absurd, and it’s from him. Because he doesn’t play, Camus says that the book’s hero is a bad person.

A “stranger” is someone who doesn’t fit in with society. Camus uses him to make fun of social norms and the people in society who don’t follow them.

If you want to get all the little details, you’ll have to read it more than once. But it’s worth it. There are a lot of questions that will make you think about society and justice in a new way. It’s short, but it has a lot of them.

Dangerous Liaisons by Choderos de Laclos

You may already know about Dangerous Liaisons from the 1988 movie of the same name. It has a great cast, including John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter Capaldi, Keanu Reeves, Uma Thurman, and Peter Capaldi.

Cruel Intentions was a popular movie that came out in 1999. It starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon. As always, the book is better than the movie.

Dangerous Liaisons is a story about the French aristocracy having fun and having sex. In this book, it is set a few years before the French Revolution. It’s all about seducing people and playing games to keep them from getting bored.

The two main characters, who used to be lovers, pick people who aren’t paying attention and challenge each other to seduce them. What starts out as a game to manipulate each other turns out to be more serious than either of them could have imagined.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Second Sex, Le Deuxième Sexe, is thought of as the Bible of modern Western feminism. This is because it is the first book that many people read. Many women from the UK and US have read The Second Sex, even though there have been a lot of problems with translating the book.

It’s a non-fiction book that was written in two parts. In it, Beauvoir looks at how women have been treated through time.

You should read this book because it talks about so many different things and covers so many different times and places in history. Her book takes us from Ancient Greece and Rome to the 20th century and looks at women’s roles in history, in the home, and more.

One thing that de Beauvoir did was look into science, biology, and the female body. Some parts are very abstract, but other parts come from her research.

Progress has been made over the last century, but the fact that a text like this is still relevant and modern today shows how far we still have to go.

This is a must-read for anyone who says they are a feminist and is fighting for gender equality.

The Immoralist by André Gide

The Immoralist looks at the case of a man who has a wife and child, money, and a job. He is caught in a complicated web of overlapping relationships and responsibilities.

He realizes that his whole life is a lie, so he throws away everything in search of his true, authentic, gay self.

In some ways, this could have been the main drama in Gide’s own life, so it makes sense that many people think of him as his hero.

The Immoralist is a short story that is both simple and ironic. The first-person narrator talks about his memories, and he talks about the moral ambiguities of life through them. He was both thoughtful and thoughtless at the same time. Michel found out who he was at the cost of his marriage and wife’s life.

This story is important to read because it looks at the relationship between the people of France and the people of French Algeria, which is a very important part of French history.

Using a first person short story to hide his own life is also important. Gide says that he is writing his character’s mind, not his own.

During the early 20th century, when writing about and exploring homosexuality was still taboo, this was important.

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