Tag Archives: Académie Française

Les grands artists n’ont pas de patrie

French writer Alfred de Musset was born on December 11, 1810 in Paris. His parents moved in the right social circles, despite having very little money. Musset attended the prestigious collège Henri IV where he won a prize for Latin. … Continue reading

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L’État, c’est moi

Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638. I feel about him much the way I do about Napoleon – equivocally. Both men marked the history of France more than virtually anyone else, and both men waged war on a … Continue reading

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Le Fils naturel

The other day, I talked about , Alexandre Dumas, père: today it’s time for Alexandre Dumas, fils, born July 27, 1824. He, like his father, wrote sweeping novels as well as some plays. His best known novel is La Dame … Continue reading

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Mes premières patries ont été des livres

Franco-Belgian writer Marguerite Yourcenar was born on June 8, 1903. Her real name was Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislane de Crayencour. She invented Yourcenar as a pen-name an anagram from her family name. Her mother died mere days after Marguerite’s … Continue reading

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Ma plus douce espérence est de perdre l’espoir

The “father of French tragedy,” Pierre Corneille was born on June 6, 1606 in Rouen. His father was a prominent lawyer and Pierre was supposed to follow in his footsteps. Fortunately for French theatre, Corneille was a disaster as a … Continue reading

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Avoir plusieurs cordes à son arc

French writer and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol was born on February 28, 1895 in Aubagne in the south of France. The son of a teacher and seamstress, Pagnol had a profound love of nature developed in the arid hills north of … Continue reading

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Occupe-toi de tes oignons!

I was amused by the report about spelling reform on the French news tonight. The Académie Française, the guardians of the French language, periodically bless changes. The most recent reforms were in 1990, more than twenty years ago now, but … Continue reading

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Faire son deuil de quelque chose

Author Henri Troyat was born on November 1, 1911. He was actually born in Russia as Lev Aslanovich Tarasov, but his family left just ahead of the Revolution. His family wandered Europe for a few years before coming to rest … Continue reading

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Il y a une femme à l’origine de toutes les grandes choses

French poet and politician Alphonse de Lamartine was born on October 21, 1790. The son of a noble family, Lamartine first made his mark with a poem called “Le Lac.” French poetry has highly stylized rules and forms and Lamartine … Continue reading

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Un faux frère

Thomas Corneille, born August 20, 1625, had the misfortune of being brother number two when brother number one was one of the most brilliant dramatists of the 17th century. Thomas also happened to be a dramatist, just like big brother … Continue reading

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