Anatole France – Biography of Anatole France

François-Anatole Thibault He was born in Paris on April 16, 1844, in a neighborhood of publishers, booksellers and antique dealers. His father François, a native of Beauce and a royal petty officer, called himself France Libraire and he had his own book store. It was because of his father that Anatole took the pseudonym “France“with whom he is acquainted.

He began his studies at the Sainte Marie Institution, continuing at the Stanislas College; He finished the classical institute in 1862, without having had a brilliant academic career and obtained his baccalaureate in 1864. From an early age he helped his father in his business: a library, specialized in books and documents on the French Revolution, becoming passionate about knowledge scholar.

From 1863 he began to collaborate with bibliographical magazines, such as the “Bulletin du bouquiniste”, the “Chasseur bibliographe” and the “Intermediaire des chercheurs et des curieux”, until in 1867 he was hired by the Parisian publisher Lemerre, as a reader: his task it was to propose and supervise the publication of new works.

The first writing of Anatole France, an essay on Alfred de Vigny, dates back to 1868, when he was only 24 years old.
During the Communal revolution he moved away from Paris, returning to the capital at the end of 1871. He then began to write poems, two of which were published in 1872 in “Parnasse Contemporain”; the following year he published a book of poems, “Poems dorés“(Poems of gold). In 1875 he was in charge of the third poetic anthology of”Parnasse Contemporain“, and the following year he published the drama in verse”Les noces corinthiènnes“(The Corinthian Marriage), taken from a ballad by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

In 1876 he was hired by the Senate Library, a job that allows him to achieve a certain economic stability. Thus it was that in 1877, he married Marie-Valérie Guérin de Sauville, with whom he had a daughter, named Susanne (1881).

After the publication of “Jocaste” Y “Le chat maigre“(The thin cat, 1879), in 1881 he achieved his first great success with the publication of the novel”The crime of Sylvestre Bonnard membre de l’Institut“, awarded by the French Academy.
Anatole France He was already a recognized and sought-after writer in the salons of Paris; in 1882 he published “Les desirs by Jean Servais“and in 1883”I free him from mon ami“(My friend’s book); he also worked as a literary critic for several newspapers. The result of these collaborations would be the four volumes of”La Vie littéraire“, published between 1888 and 1893: in this work France He does not spare an open controversy with the creator of naturalism Emile Zola, nor with the Parnassian poet Leconte de Lisle, whom he even challenged to a duel.

Meanwhile their marriage entered a serious crisis: in 1888 France began a romantic relationship with Arman de Caillavet, a middle-aged woman who seems to have had an important influence on the orientation of the writer’s political ideas: France it was oriented towards the socialist positions that had their most popular representative in the person of Jean Jaurès.

In the next twenty years, France produced his highest quality works: public in 1890 “Thaïs“, in 1893”The rôtisserie de la reine Pédauque“, a kind of philosophical novel that had its continuation in the same year with”Les opinions de M. Gérôme Coignard“.

Famous throughout France, Anatole France he was awarded the Legion of Honor; lover of classical antiquity, he visited Italy and continued his literary production with the novel “Le lys rouge“(The Red Lily) of 1894, and with the stories of”The Well of Santa Clara“(1895), while in”The Jardin d’Épicure “(The Garden of Epicurus) faced philosophical issues with irony, wanting to demonstrate how much irrationality there was in the society of the time.

In 1896 he became a member of the French Academy, replacing Ferdinand de Lesseps; began to write the tetralogy of the “Contemporary history“(1897-1901), four novels”L’orme du Mail“,”Le mannequin d’oisier“,”L’anneau d’améthyste” Y “M. Bergeret à Paris“whose protagonist is Mr. Bergeret, a modest and disillusioned, although cultured and ingenious, provincial professor, through whose eyes France describes the society of his time, its miseries and hypocrisies, while maintaining confidence in the possibility of redemption and the overcoming of man.
The last volume in the series is dedicated to the case of Alfred Dreyfus, the famous court case against the Jewish French officer, falsely accused of espionage and deported to Cayenne. France he supported Emile Zola who had denounced the plot against Dreyfus; the day after the publication of the famous “J’accuse“He signed the petition requesting the review of the process. He returned his Legion of Honor when it was withdrawn from Zola.

From then on his political commitment was more convincing: he congratulated himself on the Russian Revolution of 1905 and condemned the tsarist repression; with “The life of Joan of Arc“In 1908, he attacked one of the Catholic and nationalist myths, that of the maid of Orleans; in the same year he published”L’île des Pinguins“, a satire on the history and fate of France. In 1909, in addition to”Les contes de Jacques Tournebroche” Y “Les sept femmes de Barbebleu“, gathered his controversial writings in three volumes of”Vers les temps meilleurs“.

In January 1910 his partner, Madame de Caillevet, died. France he published far fewer works, but in 1912 he achieved a triumph with “Les Dieux ont soif“(The gods are thirsty), set in times of the French Revolution. After the rehearsals of”Le génie latin“(The Latin genius) of 1913 and, with”The revolution des Anges“(The rebellion of the angels), of 1914, finalized its narrative commitment.

France he retired to his country residence at Béchellerie, at Tours, with his wife Emma LaPrevotte, previously a lady of Madame de Caillevet. While justifying France’s war against Germany, he endorsed the Russian Revolution of 1917 and wrote memoirs such as “Le Petit Pierre“in 1918.

In 1921, Anatole France was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature “in recognition of his brilliant literary creation, characterized by the nobility of style, deep human understanding, grace and a certain Gallic temperament“.
His last memoir was “La vie en fleur“(Life in bloom), 1922.

He died on October 12, 1924: after the grandiose state funeral, his body was buried in the Neuilly-sur-Seine cemetery in Paris.