10 Essential Works of French Literature for Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day. The day the French celebrate the storming of the Bastille prison – symbol of the French Revolution and of the birth of the modern French nation. In honor of the day, Emily Temple at Flavorwire has published a list of the 10 most essential works of French literature:

An Essential French Lit Reading List for Bastille Day

I have to admit, from this list I’ve only read Camus’ The Stranger. How about you?

If you’d like to get started on the list, you can download Stuart Gilbert’s translation of The Stranger free as a PDF file here.

3 Replies to “10 Essential Works of French Literature for Bastille Day”

  1. I listened to Les Miserables and and The Count of Monte Cristo in audiobook form earlier this year… that counts, right?

    Les Miserables is stirring and wonderful (although twice as long as it needed to be, IMO) and Monte Cristo is, well, like the article says, devious and fun and despite taking almost 50 hours to listen to the whole thing, it left me wishing it would keep going.

    PS. I understand why it’s not on the list, and I’ve only read sections of it, but Pascal’s Pensées deserve a mention in any list of French works.

    1. Yes, that counts. 🙂 In fact I’ve been planning for a while to try audio books based on your recommendation. I found a site recently called LibriVox.org that has free audio versions of public domain books read by volunteers. I’ve not tried one yet so I don’t know how well it works but it’s worth checking out I think.

      1. Audiobooks work well if you have something that takes a fair amount of time that requires alertness but not necessarily concentration… like two hours of commuting time every day. :^ Mowing the lawn is another good time.

        If I didn’t have my commute, I don’t think audiobooks would make sense for me.

        Don’t forget to check out the library – ours has a pretty good selection.

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