Sunday Recommendations: French Classics

Hello lovelies, I hope you’re all having a great Sunday! I have already made recommendations for French books, but this time I’m going to be a bit more specific and recommend big chunks of literature. In case you are looking for French classics, then this is definitely the thing for you!

I know I have already mentioned some of the books on this list but they definitely deserved to be featured again according to me, so here we go.

*****

17th Century

The Princess de Clèves by Madame de Lafayette

The Princesse de Clèves

A tale of duty and forbidden love that takes place at the court of Henri II of France. I have to admit I found it rather frustrating the first time I read it but it’s part of what makes it so magnificent, and it’s definitely one of my favourite books.

*****

19th Century

The Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola

The Ladies' Paradise (Les Rougon-Macquart, #11)

Another tale of impossible love with a background of the evolving Parisian society of the 19th century, and the outburst of department stores. This is also one of my favourite books, and I plan on reading all of Zola’s books as I really love his writing style and ideas. This one by the way is one of his only creations with a happy ending. As he is a realist writer, his point was not to make happy stories, but to observe the human kind.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary

This one is a must-read, and I have to admit, the only one on this list I have yet to finish, so I won’t comment on it more. (Shame on me. I really need to pick it up again…)

Père Goriot by Honoré de Balzac

Père Goriot

Balzac wrote many, many books, and like Zola, he is more of a realist writer. I have to be honest, I didn’t even want to read this book when I read it for school (years ago). I had read another of Balzac’s books, and thoroughly hated it, so I didn’t have high expectations on ths one at all, but I ended up liking it, so maybe you can check it out as well! It is a coming of age story, in the turmoils that was French history during the 19th century, through all the political changes and the industrial revolution. The characters are not exactly likable, but the story is fascinating!

Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Bel-Ami

This one is another coming of age story, in the world of journalism. The main character uses women as a mean to progress in society, and that made me hate him with all my heart, but other than that, it is a great and clever illustration of the Parisian society of the time.

*****

20th Century

The Lost Estate by Alain-Fournier

The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes)

One more love story, and a book I definitely want to reread. Set at the beginning of the 20th century, in rural France, it is the story of Meaulnes, who moves in and attends the same school as the narrator. He immediately attracts attention because of his good looks. One day, he disappears, only to come back with tales of a great estate and a woman he fell in love with, but he cannot find it again.

The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague

The Plague is the story of a city taken by the plague, and how people deal with it. It is meant as a critic of the Nazi regime, and it’s a really brilliant book.

*****

And that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed, feel free to comment if you have read any of those books, or have any classics from your country to recommend!

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