Portal:French and Francophone literature

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Welcome to the French and Francophone Literary Portal

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French literature is literature written by citizens of France. Though most French literature is written in French, it may be written in other traditional languages.

French literature has a long history. Early works were written mostly in the Occitan language or one of the Oïl languages. Though literature declined during the Hundred Years War, it was revived during the French Renaissance of the sixteenth century. During the eighteenth century, French became the lingua franca of Western Europe and French literature grew to have a profound impact on and be profoundly impacted by the literature of other countries.

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(Countries where French is prominent)

Francophone literature is literature written in the French language. Most is written in countries that are part of La Francophonie, though there are acclaimed French authors from other countries.


Selected article

The Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of Belgian comic books created by Belgian artist Hergé, the pen name of Georges Remi (1907–1983). Remi's pen name Hergé came from transposing his initials "R-G", which sounds like "Hergé" in French). The series first appeared in French in a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper [Le Vingtième Siècle] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) on January 10, 1929. Set in a painstakingly researched world closely mirroring our own, The Adventures of Tintin presents a number of characters in distinctive settings. The series has continued as a favourite of readers and critics alike for over 70 years.

The hero of the series is the eponymous character, Tintin, a young Belgian reporter and traveller. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his faithful dog Snowy (Milou in French). Later, popular additions to the cast included Captain Haddock and other colourful supporting characters.

The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of albums (23 in all), spun into a successful magazine and adapted for both film and theatre. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in over 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date.

The comic strip series has long been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé's signature [ligne claire] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help) style. Engaging, well-researched plots straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy; mysteries; political thrillers; and science fiction. The stories within the Tintin series always feature slapstick humour, offset in later albums by sophisticated satire and political/cultural commentary.

Selected image

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Title page of the 1757 Latin edition of the erotic dialogue, The School of Women, published in French as L'Académie des dames and written by Nicolas Chorier, which was written during the seventeenth century. It included scenes of tribadism, group sex, and vaginal intercourse and was one of the earliest works of erotic literature.


  • "Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true."
Honoré de Balzac
  • "The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult."
Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, marquise du Deffand
  • "God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man…The first is named Nature, the second is named Art."
Victor Hugo
  • "Almost everything is imitation… The most original writers borrowed from one another."

Selected biography

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Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his stage name, Molière (January 15, 1622 – February 17, 1673) was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known dramas are Le Misanthrope, (The Misanthrope), L'École des femmes (The School for Wives), Tartuffe ou l'Imposteur, (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), L'Avare ou l'École du mensonge (The Miser), and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman).

From a prosperous family and having studied at the Jesuit Clermont College (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière left with a good education to begin a life in the theater. Thirteen years on the road as an actor helped him to polish his comic abilities while he also began writing, combining Commedia dell'Arte elements with the more refined French comedy.

Through the patronage of a few aristocrats including the brother of Louis XIV, Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, Le Docteur amoureux (The Doctor in Love), Molière was granted the use of Salle du Petit-Bourbon at the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, Molière was granted the use of the Palais-Royal, in both locations he found success among the Parisians with plays such as Les Précieuses ridicules (The Affected Ladies), L'École des maris (The School for Husbands) and L'École des femmes (The School for Wives). This royal favour brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title "Troupe du Roi" (The King's Troupe). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments.

Though he received the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière's satires attracted criticisms from moralists and the Church. Tartuffe ou l'Imposteur (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite) and its attack on religious hypocrisy roundly received condemnations from the Church while Don Juan was banned from performance. Molière's hard work in so many theatrical capacities began to take its toll and by 1667, he had to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a haemorhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later. In his time in Paris, Molière had completely reformed French comedy.

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