ANATOLE FRANCE (April 16, 1844 – October 12, 1924)
Anatole France was the pen name of French author Jacques Anatole François Thibault. He was born in Paris, France, and died in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France. The son of a bookseller, he spent most of his life around books. His father's bookstore was called the Librairie de France and from this name Jacques Anatole François Thibault took his nom-de plume. Anatole France studied at the Collège Stanislaus and after graduation he helped his father by working at his bookstore. After several years he secured the position of a cataloguer at Bacheline-Deflorenne and at Lemerre, and in 1876 he was appointed a librarian for the French Senate. Ironic, skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was elected to the French Academy in 1896 and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. Anatole France became known after the publication of Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard (1881) where he looked back at the 18th century as a golden age. Its protagonist, skeptical old scholar Sylvester Bonnard, embodied France's own personality. The novel was praised for its elegant prose and won him a prize from the French Academy. In La rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque (1893) Anatole France ridiculed belief in the occult; and in Les opinions de Jerome Coignard (1893), France captures the atmosphere of the fin-de-siecle. Among France's later works is the L'Île des Pingouins (1908) where France satirizes the human nature by transforming penguins into humans - after the animals have been baptized in error by the near-sighted Abbot Mael. Anatole France's most profound novel is La Revolte des Anges (1914) where Arcade, the guardian angel of Maurice d'Esparvieu, falls in love, joins the revolutionary movement of angels, and toward the end he realizes that the overthrow of God is meaningless unless in ourselves and in ourselves alone we attack and destroy Ialdabaoth. In the 1920s France's writings were put on the index of Libri prohibiti.
"It is almost impossible systematically to constitute a natural moral law. Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil."
"Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one."
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."
"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't."
"Religion has done love a great service by making it a sin."
"In every well-governed state, wealth is a sacred thing; in democracies it is the only sacred thing."
Two Short Stories by Anatole France (from authentic documents)
The Seven Wives of Bluebeard
The Story of the Duchess of Cicogne and of Monsieur de Boulingrin