Quotes by Anatole France
That man is prudent who neither hopes nor fears anything from the uncertain events of the future.
A tale without love is like beef without mustard: insipid.
If it were absolutely necessary to choose‚ I would rather be guilty of an immoral act than of a cruel one.
We have medicines to make women speak; we have none to make them keep silence.
It is only the poor who pay cash‚ and that not from virtue‚ but because they are refused credit.
Only men who are not interested in women are interested in women's clothes. Men who like women never notice what they wear.
Of all the ways of defining man‚ the worst is the one which makes him out to be a rational animal.
You think you are dying for your country; you die for the industrialists.
Suffering — how divine it is‚ how misunderstood! We owe to it all that is good in us‚ all that gives value to life; we owe to it pity‚ we owe to it courage‚ we owe to it all the virtues.
When a thing has been said and well said‚ have no scruple: take it and copy it.
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.
Ignorance and error are necessary to life‚ like bread and water.
Christianity has done a great deal for love by making it a sin.
To accomplish great things we must not only act‚ but also dream; not only plan‚ but also believe.
The law‚ in its majestic equality‚ forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges‚ to beg in the streets‚ and to steal bread.
In art as in love‚ instinct is enough.
In every well-governed state‚ wealth is a sacred thing; in democracies it is the only sacred thing.
It is human nature to think wisely and to act in an absurd fashion.
Innocence most often is a good fortune and not a virtue.
He had no knowledge and had no desire to acquire any; wherein he conformed to his genius whose engaging fragility he forbore to overload; his instinct fortunately telling him that it was better to understand little than to misunderstand a lot.
Anatole France's Biography
Writer, critic, one of the major figures of French literature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Anatole France was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. In the 1920 France's writings were put on the Index of Forbidden Books of the Roman Catholic Church. His skepticism appears already in his early works, but later the hostility toward bourgeois values led him to support French Communist Party.

Anatole France was born Jacques Anatole François Thibault in Paris. At early age France acquired a love for books and reading. His father was a bookseller, who called his shop the 'Librarie de France' – from this the future writer took his surname. France was educated at the Collége Stanislaus, where he was a mediocre student. During this period France adopted his lifelong anti-clericalism and later constantly mocked the church and religious doctrines in his books. On the whole France's early years, which he depicted in My Friend's Book (1885), were happy. After failing his baccalaureate examination several times, France finally passed it at the age of twenty. In the 1860s he was for a time an assistant to his father, then he was a cataloguer and publisher's assistant at Bacheline-Deflorenne and at Lemerre. He also worked as a teacher.

When his father retired, France took a series of jobs as an editorial assistant. He became member of the Parnassian group of poets, Gautier, Catulle, Mendes and others, and built himself a high reputation in the literature circles. During the Franco-Prussian War, France served briefly in the army, and witnessed the bloodbath at the Paris Commune in 1871.

In 1875 the newspaper Le Temps commissioned France to write a series of critical articles on contemporary writers. The next year he started his weekly column, which were published until 1892 and collected in four volumes under the title LA VIE LITTÉRAIRE. In 1876 France was appointed with the help of the leading Parnassian poet Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894) an assistant librarian for the French Senate, a post he held fourteen years. Leconte de Lisle encouraged France to publish his first collection of poems, LES POÉMES DORÉS (1873). France's first collection of stories appeared in 1879.

As a novelist France made his breakthrough with The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1881). Like his other works, it looked back to the 18th century as a golden age. Its protagonist, skeptical old scholar Sylvester Bonnard, was the first of series of fictional characters, who embody France's own personality. The novel was praised for its elegant prose and irony and won the author a prize from the French Academy.

In 1877 France married Valérie Guérin de Sauville. The marriage ended in divorce in 1893, several years after France's liaison with Mme Arman de Caillavet (Leontine Lippmann), a patron of arts and the great love of the author. This period inspired France's Christian fantasy about beauty and wisdom, THAÏS (1890), closely related to Gustave Flaubert's The Temptation of St. Anthony. LES LYS ROUGE (1894), a roman à clef dealing with the relationship, gained a huge success.

Between the years 1897 and 1901 France wrote four novels under the title Contemporary History, a fictional account of Belle Epoque. The first volume introduced an other important France persona, monsieur Bergeret, a provisional schoolteacher. The Queen Pédauque (1893) introduced Jerome Coignard, whom France used as his vehicle for moral ponderings and advocate for tolerance in The Opinions of Mr. Jerome Coignard (1893). During the 1890s and early 1900s France argued for social reforms and attacked the shortcomings of contemporary society and the church. In 1888 he was appointed literary critic of the importrant newspaper Le Temps.

France participated in the famous Dreyfus case with other writers, in front of them Émile Zola with his famous article J'Accuse (1898). France discussed the affair in the fourth volume of Contemporary History, entitled Monsieur Bergeret in Paris (1901). He was the first to sign Émile Zola's manifesto, condemning the false indictment for treason of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish army captain, which had been made to protect high army officials from the scandal of exposed corruption. After the Dreyfus case in the mid-1890s France's ironic views of contemporary society became even more poignant and disillusioned.

France resigned his library job at the Senate in 1890, and was elected to the Académie Française in 1896. He presided at the salon of Armand de Caillavet until her death in 1910. The last fifteen years of France's life were shadowed by personal difficulties, some of which he created himself. His daughter Suzanne died in 1917, his mistress Mme Arman, whom he started to deceive with other women as early as 1904, became seriously ill and died in 1910. He deceived his housekeeper, Emma Laprevotte, whom he later married, and an American woman whom he had deserted, killed herself in 1911.

Among Frace's major later works is Penquin Island (1908), in which humanity's evolutionary course and the history of France is allegorized satirically through the transformation of penguins into humans – after the animals have been baptized in error by the nearsighted Abbot Mael. The two-volume biography, The Life of Joan of Arc (1908), was poorly received - Catholics criticized its realistic portrayal of Joan and historians had much to say about its historical accuracy. The Gods Are Athirst (1912) was a historical novel about the French Revolution. In The Revolt of Angels (1914) France used the familiar theme of religious conflict from Milton's Paradise Lost. The revolt of fallen angels breaks out again, when a guardian angel, Arcade, is converted to free thought by Lucretius' summary of Epicurean philosophy De rerum natura. The work, a strong protest against violence and tyranny, was the author's last interesting novel.

France died on October 12, 1924, in Tours, where he had moved ten years earlier. His funeral was attended by the highest ranking members of the French government. The poet Paul Valéry succeeded to Anatole France's chair and delivered an unconventional address upon his predecessor. In stead of the usual complimentary obituary, he made an attack: "He perfected the art of brushing lightly over the most serious ideas and problems. Nothing in his books gives the least difficulty unless it be the wonder itself of encountering none."

Some rights reserved Petri Liukkonen (author) & Ari Pesonen. Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto 2008