Timeless literary masterpieces--such as Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of
Notre-Dame (1831) and The Miserables (1862), Flaubert's Madame Bovary
(1857), and Camus' The Stranger (1942) and The Plague (1947)--have been
the subject of copious literary criticism since their publications.
This volume has been developed specifically to help students and
general readers reach a deeper understanding of eight French novels,
enabling them to develop a true appreciation for why the works have
been regarded as masterpieces. Lucid yet challenging literary analysis
focuses on plot and character development, themes, style, and
biographical and historical context. This guide offers a fuller sense
of the historical and literary environment in which each author worked.
Librarians and educators were consulted in determining which eight
novels to include. In addition to those listed above, full treatment is
given to Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte
Cristo, and the perennially popular tale The Little Prince. These eight
works cover a time period of more than 100 years, reflecting the
development of the French novel and the literary movements of this era.
An introductory essay provides a concise overview of French literature
through the 1800's and early 1900's, identifying additional seminal
works beyond those fully discussed here. For readers desiring to pursue
further research, an extensive bibliography has been compiled, offering
sources for additional novels, criticism, reviews from the time of
publication, and biographical information.
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