Dix Auteurs à Lire - 10 Authors to Read

In Le Français Pour Les Nuls, Jean- Joseph Julaud recommends 10 authors to read. This is a list of those ten authors with a sampling of quotations in both English and French. Sources: English Wikiquote,  French Wikiquote , and Wikipedia

1. Antoine de Saint.-Exupéry

Antoine de Saint Exupéry (29 June 1900 -31 July 1944) was a French writer, poet and aviator. He is most famous for his novella The Little Prince, and is also well known for his books about aviation adventures, including Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars.

He was a successful commercial pilot pre-war, joining the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) on the outbreak of war, flying reconnaissance missions until the armistice with Germany. Following a spell writing in the United States, he joined the Free French Forces. He went missing on a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean in July 1944.


The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them. Terre des Hommes (1939)

It is another of the miraculous things about mankind that there is no pain nor passion that does not radiate to the ends of the earth. Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the world. Terre des Hommes (1939)

Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures — in this century, as in others, our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together. Le Petit Prince, 1943

Moi, dit-il encore, je possède une fleur que j'arrose tous les jours. Je possède trois volcans que je ramone toutes les semaines. Car je ramone aussi celui qui est éteint. On ne sait jamais. C'est utile à mes volcans, et c'est utile à ma fleur, que je les possède. Mais tu n'es pas utile aux étoiles… Le Petit Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, éd. Gallimard jeunesse, coll. Hors luxe, 1951 (ISBN 2-07-010502-4), chap. 13, p. 49

Le renard : On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. Le Petit Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, éd. Gallimard jeunesse, coll. Hors luxe, 1951 (ISBN 2-07-010502-4), chap. 21, p. 72

Tu es responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé. Le Petit Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, éd. Gallimard jeunesse, coll. Hors luxe, 1951 (ISBN 2-07-010502-4), chap. 21, p. 72

2. André Malraux

André Georges Malraux (November 3, 1901 – November 23, 1976) was a French novelist, adventurer, art historian and statesman. He served as Minister for Cultural Affairs from 1958 to 1969.


No one can endure his own solitude. Author's commentary, serialized version of La condition humaine in the Nouvelle revue française (1933)

The human mind invents its Puss-in-Boots and its coaches that change into pumpkins at midnight because neither the believer nor the atheist is completely satisfied with appearances.

Anti-Memoirs, preface (1967)


Our civilization … is not devaluing its awareness of the unknowable; nor is it deifying it. It is the first civilization that has severed it from religion and superstition. In order to question it.

Picasso's Mask (1976)

If a man is not ready to risk his life, where is his dignity? La condition humaine [Man's Fate] (1933)

The great mystery is not that we should have been thrown down here at random between the profusion of matter and that of the stars; it is that from our very prison we should draw, from our own selves, images powerful enough to deny our own nothingness. La condition humaine [Man's Fate] (1933)

The sons of torture victims make good terrorists. La condition humaine [Man's Fate] (1933)

Gisors - La connaissance d'un être est un sentiment négatif : le sentiment positif, la réalité, c'est l'angoisse d'être toujours étranger à ce qu'on aime.La Condition humaine (1933), Malraux, éd. Gallimard, coll. Folio, 1997

Le cœur viril des hommes est un refuge à morts qui vaut bien l'esprit. La Condition humaine (1933), Malraux, éd. Gallimard, coll. Folio, 1997

Gisors : Toute douleur qui n'aide personne est absurde. La Condition humaine (1933), Malraux, éd. Gallimard, coll. Folio, 1997

3. Albert Camus

Albert Camus (1913-11-071960-01-04) was an AlgerianFrench author and Absurdist philosopher. who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1957. He is often associated with existentialism, but Camus refused this label.[1] He wrote in his essay, The Rebel, that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom.

In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons, in the Revolutionary Union Movement, according to the book Albert Camus, une vie by Olivier Todd, a group opposed to some tendencies of the surrealistic movement of André Breton. Camus was the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature (after Rudyard Kipling) when he became the first Africa-born writer to receive the award, in 1957.[2] He is also the shortest-lived of any literature laureate to date, having died in an automobile accident only three years after receiving the award.

In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: "No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked…"[3]


Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard. It steels itself to attain the absolute and authority; it wants to transfigure the world before having exhausted it, to set it to rights before having understood it. Whatever it may say, our era is deserting this world. "Helen's Exile" (1948)

Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful. "Three Interviews" in Lyrical and Critical Essays (1970)

A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object. "The Failing of Prophecy" in Existentialism Versus Marxism : Conflicting Views on Humanism (1966) by George Edward Novack

Vivre une expérience, un destin, c'est l'accepter pleinement. Le Mythe de Sisyphe, Albert Camus, éd. Gallimard, 1994 (ISBN 2-07-032288-2), p. 78

Il n'était même pas sûr d'être en vie puisqu'il vivait comme un mort. L'Étranger, Albert Camus, éd. Gallimard, 1972 (ISBN 2-07-036002-4), partie II, chap. V, p. 180

[...] il peut y avoir de la honte à être heureux tout seul. La Peste, Albert Camus, éd. Gallimard, 1947 (ISBN 2-07-0360042-3), p. 190

4. Marcel Proust

Valentin-Louis-Georges-Eugène-Marcel Proust

(1871-07-101922-11-18) was a French novelist, essayist and critic

best known as the author of À la recherche du temps perdu (in English, In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past), a monumental work of twentieth-century fiction published in seven parts from 1913 to 1927


In his younger days a man dreams of possessing the heart of the woman whom he loves; later, the feeling that he possesses the heart of a woman may be enough to make him fall in love with her. "Swann in Love"

The time which we have at our disposal every day is elastic; the passions that we feel expand it, those that we inspire contract it; and habit fills up what remains. Ch. I: "Madame Swann at Home

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full. Ch. I: "Grief and Oblivion

Laissons les jolies femmes aux hommes sans imagination.« Albertine disparue », dans À la recherche du temps perdu, vol. 15, Marcel Proust, éd. Gallimard, 1946-1947, chap. 1 (« Le chagrin et l'oubli »), p. 33

La force qui fait le plus de fois le tour de la terre en une seconde, ce n'est pas l'électricité, c'est la douleur.« Albertine disparue », dans À la recherche du temps perdu, vol. 15, Marcel Proust, éd. Gallimard, 1946-1947, chap. 1 (« Le chagrin et l'oubli »), p. 70 (

On désire être compris, parce qu'on désire être aimé, et on désire être aimé parce qu'on aime. La compréhension des autres est indifférente et leur amour importun « Albertine disparue », dans À la recherche du temps perdu, vol. 15, Marcel Proust, éd. Gallimard, 1946-1947, chap. 1 (« Le chagrin et l'oubli »), p. 100 (voir la fiche de référence de l'œuvre

5. Guy de Maupassant

Henri-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant (5 August 18506 July 1893) was a popular 19th-century French writer, one of the fathers of the modern short story. and considered one of the fathers of the modern short story.

A protégé of Flaubert, Maupassant's stories are characterized by their economy of style and their efficient, effortless dénouement. Many of the stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s and several describe the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught in the conflict, emerge changed. He also wrote six short novels.


Let them respect my convictions, and I will respect theirs! "Friend Joseph"

You have the army of mediocrities followed by the multitude of fools. As the mediocrities and the fools always form the immense majority, it is impossible for them to elect an intelligent government. "Sundays of a Bourgeois"

There is only one good thing in life, and that is love. And how you misunderstand it! how you spoil it! You treat it as something solemn like a sacrament, or something to be bought, like a dress. "The Love of Long Ago"

Nos yeux, nos oreilles, notre odorat, notre goût différents créent autant de vérités qu'il y a d'hommes sur la terre. Pierre et Jean, Guy de Maupassant, éd. Paul Ollendorff, 1888, Introduction, p. XVIII (texte intégral sur Wikisource)

J'aime ce pays, et j'aime y vivre parce que j'y ai mes racines, ces profondes et délicates racines, qui attachent un homme à la terre où sont nés et morts ses aïeux, qui l'attachent à ce qu'on pense et à ce qu'on mange, aux usages comme aux nourritures, aux locutions locales, aux intonations des paysans, aux odeurs du sol, des villages et de l'air lui-même. Le Horla (1887), Guy de Maupassant, éd. Albin Michel, coll. Le livre de poche, 1967, p. 5 (texte intégral sur Wikisource)

La vie, voyez-vous, ça n'est jamais si bon ni si mauvais qu'on le croit. Une vie (1883), Guy de Maupassant, éd. Gallimard, coll. folio classique, 1974 (ISBN 2-07-041084-6), chap. XIV, p. 278

6. Emile Zola

Émile Zola

(1840-04-021902-09-29) was a French writer and social activist

the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism, an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalisation of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus


If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way. Dreyfus : His Life and Letters (1937) edited by Pierre Dreyfus, p. 175

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud! Writers on Writing (1986) by Jon Winokur

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. Wisdom for the Soul : Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing (2006) by Larry Chang , p. 55

J'aime les ragoûts littéraires fortement épicés, les œuvres de dédacence où une sorte de sensibilité maladive remplace la santé plantureuse des époques classiques. Je suis de mon âge. Mes haines (1866), Émile Zola, éd. Charpentier, 1879, chap. « Germinie Lacerteux, par MM. Ed. et J. de Goncourt », p. 67-68

La vérité est en marche et rien ne l'arrêtera. « J'accuse… ! », Émile Zola, L'Aurore, nº 87, le 13 janvier 1898, p. 2

Mon idéal, ce serait de travailler tranquille, de manger toujours du pain, d'avoir un trou un peu propre pour dormir, vous savez un lit, une table et deux chaises, pas davantage… L'Assommoir (1876), Émile Zola, éd. Charpentier, 1879, chap. II, p. 49

7. Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire (1821-04-091867-08-31) was a French poet, critic and translator. A controversial figure in his lifetime, Baudelaire's name has become a byword for literary and artistic decadence. At the same time his works, in particular his book of poetry Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), have been acknowledged as classics of French literature.


All beauties, like all possible phenomena, have something of the eternal and something of the ephemeral— of the absolute and the particular. "De l'héroïsme de la vie moderne," Salon de 1846, XVIII (1846) [2]

There is no sweeter pleasure than to surprise a man by giving him more than he hopes for. XXVIII: "La Fausse Monnaie" [26]

Everything, alas, is an abyss, — actions, desires, dreams, Words! "Le Gouffre" [The Abyss], Nouvelles Fleurs du Mal (1862) [5]

Homme libre, toujours tu chériras la mer. « Les Fleurs du mal », dans Œuvres complètes (1980), Charles Baudelaire, éd. Robert Laffont, coll. Bouquins, 2004, p. 14

Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère ! « Les Fleurs du mal », dans Œuvres complètes (1980), Charles Baudelaire, éd. Robert Laffont, coll. Bouquins, 2004, p. 4

Être un homme utile m'a toujours paru quelque chose de bien hideux. « Mon cœur mis à nu », dans Œuvres complètes (1980), Charles Baudelaire, éd. Robert Laffont, coll. Bouquins, 2004, p. 407

8. Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.

Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous authors, including the novelists Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Marie Corelli, Henry James, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers.


Those who spend too fast never grow rich. La Maison du Chat-qui-pelote [At the Sign of the Cat and Racket] (1830), trans. Clara Bell

True love is eternal, infinite, always like unto itself; it is equable, pure, without violent demonstration; white hair often covers the head, but the heart that holds it is ever young. Le lys dans la vallée (1836), trans. Katharine Prescott Wormeley, part II: First Love

I prefer thought to action, an idea to a transaction, contemplation to activity. Louis Lambert (1832), trans. Clara Bell

Il existe dans notre société trois hommes, le Prêtre, le Médecin et l'Homme de justice, qui ne peuvent pas estimer le monde. Ils ont des robes noires, peut-être parce qu'ils portent le deuil de toutes les vertus, de toutes les illusions. Le Colonel Chabert ; Le Père Goriot ; La Messe de l'athée ; L'Interdiction ; Le Contrat de mariage; Autre étude de femme ; Ursule Mirouët ; Eugénie Grandet (1844), Honoré de Balzac, éd. Gallimard, t.III, coll. Bibliothèque de la pléiade, 1976, p. 373

Si la lumière est le premier amour de la vie, l'amour n'est-il pas la lumière du cœur ? Eugénie Grandet, histoire de province (1833), Honoré de Balzac, éd. Larousse, coll. Petits Classiques Larousse, 2001, p. 72

L'amour est la seule passion qui ne souffre ni passé ni avenir .Les Chouans, dans La Comédie humaine, VIII (1829), Honoré de Balzac, éd. Gallimard, coll. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1978, p. 1014

9. Jean Racine

Jean Racine (December 22, 1639April 21, 1699) was a French dramatist, one of the "big three" of 17th century France (along with Molière and Pierre Corneille). Racine was primarily a tragedian, though he did write one comedy.


I loved him too much not to hate him at all! Hermione, Andromaque (1667), act II, scene I

Behind a veil, unseen yet present, I was the forceful soul that moved this mighty body. Agrippine, Britannicus, (1669), act I, scene I

My only hope lies in my despair. Atalide, Bajazet, (1672), act I, scene IV

Oreste à Pylade : Pour qui sont ces serpents qui sifflent sur vos têtes? Ce vers est l'exemple littéraire d'allitération (ici en "s") le plus cité. Andromaque (1667), Jean Racine, éd. Hachette Education, coll. Classiques Hachette, année de publication (obligatoire) (ISBN 2-01-017221-3), acte V, scène 5, p. 112, vers 1638

Hippolyte à Théramène : La fille de Minos et de Pasiphaé. Vers fameux pris comme le modèle de tout alexandrin « Phèdre », dans Oeuvres complètes, Jean Racine, éd. Gallimard, coll. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1999, t. I, acte I, scène 1, p. 822

10. Jean de la Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine (1621-07-081695-04-13) is the most famous French fabulist and probably the most widely read French poet of the 17th century. According to Flaubert, he was the only French poet to understand and master the texture of the French language before Hugo. A set of postage stamps celebrating La Fontaine and the Fables was issued by France in 1995. A film of his life was released in France in April 2007 (Jean de La Fontaine - le défi starring Laurent Deutsch).


The ant is no lender; that is the least of her faults. Book I (1668), fable 1.

Beware, as long as you live, of judging people by appearances. Book VI (1668), fable 5

People must help one another; it is nature's law. "L'Ane et le Chien", as quoted in On a Darkling Plain (1995) by Richard Lee Byers, p. 94

Les Animaux malades de la peste Les jugements de cour vous rendront blanc ou noir. Fables, Jean de La Fontaine, éd. Hachette, 1868, livre septième, fable première, p. 399

Le Corbeau et le Renard Apprenez que tout flatteur, Vit aux dépens de celui qui l'écoute. Fables, Jean de La Fontaine, éd. Hachette, 1868, livre premier, fable II, p. 10

Le Singe et le Léopard Ce n'est pas sur l'habit Que la diversité me plaît ; c'est dans l'esprit. Fables, Jean de La Fontaine, éd. Hachette, 1868, livre neuvième, fable III, p. 575