France Anatole 1844 - 1924 (80)

Nine tenths of education is encouragement.


The Crime of

Sylvestre Bonnard

Anatole France (real name Jacques-Anatole-Francois Thibault) was a French novelist and critic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. He was born on April 16, 1844, in Paris, the only child of a bookseller who wanted him to have the best education possible. He managed to enroll Anatole in a famous college for children of aristocrats and the wealthy bourgeoisie. However, Anatole became the target of teasing and ridicule for his humble origins, which led him to become a warm democrat, a fact he later reflected in his works. He completed his studies in 1864 and worked in a large Paris bookstore from 1866, where he made corrections and wrote prefaces to classic works.

Although he had published poems since 1873, it was in 1881 that he became famous with his novel "The Crime of Sylvester Bonnard." In the following years, he wrote novels, short stories, and critical texts, with some of his most notable works being "My Friend's Book" (1885), "Thais" (1890), "The Red Lily" (1894), "Krenkebij" (1903), "Penguin Island" (1908), "The Gods They Thirst" (1912), "The Rebellion of the Angels" (1914), and "Little Pierre" (1918). From 1887 to 1896, he wrote weekly vignettes for the newspaper "Chronos," through which he emerged as one of the most important critics of his time.

Anatole married in 1877 and had a daughter but divorced in 1893. From 1887, he had an affair with Madame Caillave, who ran a famous literary salon in Paris. Although he succeeded against the aristocracy in his works, his great love was with the aristocrat Caillave, with whom he wrote about their relationship, as well as the French revolution, the Dreyfus case, social struggles, politics, and religion. He strongly criticized the church, resulting in his inclusion in the Vatican's list of prohibited books in 1922, a year after he received the Nobel Prize.

In the last years of his life, he traveled extensively as a prominent writer and visited Greece three times. In 1912, he was awarded a doctorate in philosophy. In October 1920, he married his former maid, Madame de Caillave, who was 27 years his junior. Caillave had died in 1910, while in 1917, Anatole France had also experienced the death of his daughter. He died on October 12, 1924.