1. Pludovick
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    Pludovick Member

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    French literature?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Pludovick, Aug 10, 2010.

    I'm hopefully going to uni in a couple of months to study English Literature and French. I'd love to get some sort of overlap between the two different sides of my course- I was wondering if anyone could suggest some notable examples of traditional French literature that I should read before I go? I've read a few of the works of Moliere ('Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme' and 'Tartuffe') but beyond him and his works I haven't got any points of reference at all >.< More recent works would probably be easier- anything further back than the 19th century might be tricky as I'm not too familiar with older French. Any help would be appreciated, thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My knowledge is of past centuries mostly but some are from the 19th Century I am afraid but none are too difficult my french stinks but managed odd bits of them with a dictionary.

    Tristan and Iseult crosses over from the middle ages

    18th-19th Century Authors
    Victor Hugo Les Miserable
    Abbé Prévost - Manon Lescaut is my favourite
    Other authors Dumas, Balzac, Zola

    20th Century

    Gaston Laroux?? - Phantom of the Opera
    Proust and Satre

    Also not literature but maybe having a peek at Voltaire?
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Camus, Sartre, Hugo, Gide, Beckett, Flaubert, and Dumas are the famous ones that come to mind. Some lesser known ones that I enjoyed reading are Francoise Sagan and Michel Butor.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I haven't read Michel Houellebecq untranslated, but I really liked his books, and it's contemporary so you shouldn't have any trouble reading it. Otherwise Proust and Camus are really good. Beckett is amazing, but not for everybody (though if you're planning on studying literature, you probably will like him). It's worth reading his works in both English and French when possible because he does all the translations himself and in some cases the works end up being drastically different as he changes things during the process.
     
  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ones I read (and ones you probably will) whilst studying French at University:
    Molière, Racine, Corneille, (drama - not recent though! c17th)
    Sagan, (kind of modern classic / contemporary - Bonjour Tristesse - c20th)
    Flaubert, Hugo, Zola, Voltaire (classics - Madame Bovary, Les Misérables, La Bête Humaine, Candide)
    Maupassant (short stories - good for starting with - Boule de Suif - c19th)
    Proust, Sartre (tricky existentialism)
    - and a host of poets - let me know if you're into that sort of thing.
     
  6. Phlogiston
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    Phlogiston Member

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    I'm not a lit grad nor a linguist, but my favourite French work not already listed has to be Octave Mirbeau's Torture Garden.

    Dark and avant-garde. Excellent stuff.

    ***

    [edit]
    Just noticed the Manics avatar you have and reference. In that case I would definately recommend the above title as you'll notice on the back of the Holy Bible there is a quote from sed book.
     
  7. Pludovick
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    Pludovick Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions, really appreciate it :) I'll head to the library tomorrow and see what I can find.

    Haha, I'll definitely be reading this now. Anything on The Holy Bible is worth looking into, thanks :)
     
  8. QueenVictoria73
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    All I've gotten to reading untranslated is good ol' Le Petit Prince. You've probably already read that, but if you haven't, look into it. It has such a pure moral and is so much fun to read.
     
  9. Aconite
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    Aconite Senior Member

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    Aside from echoing several of the others (Dumas, Camus, Zola, Maupassant in particular), Roland Barthes' Mythologies is quite good, and appropriate for college-level French. My personal opinion: Stay away from Balzac, whom I hated and found slooooow. If you really want decadence, a staple of French lit, try Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Francois Villon.
     

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