Books

We count down seven Pre-WW2 French classics which we believe everyone should probably read before they die. These are books which were written in eras of war and times where several literary movements were provoked by several historical French writers.

#1 Gargantua and Pantagruel

This is one of the oldest French books ever written, notably the 16th-century, which actually comprised of five separate volumes. It was written by François Rabelais. It has been described as humorous, satirical, crude, and violent. A depiction of the adventures and calamities of a father, Gargantua, and his son, Pantagruel, during the French Renaissance.

#2 The Story of the Beauty and the Beast

Written by Madam de Villeneuve and published in 1740, this is a classic French fairy tale which has a lengthy, compelling, and complex story.

The monstrous-looking Beast, once a handsome Prince who became cursed, falls deeply in love with Beauty. She is a young woman who has given up her freedom to live with Beast who only treats her with kindness and care.

#3 The Book of the City of Ladies

Written by Christine de Pizan and published in 1405. This is a remarkable story which was written during the Middle Ages. An extraordinary parable showcasing the portrayal of women in the society of that particular era. It is a work of written art which fights for the true value which women deserve.

#4 The Tales of Mother Goose

This is a collection of tales written by Charles Perrault which was published in 1696. Charles was world-renowned for his abilities to retell stories of many fairy tales in more precise versions. His collections of retold fairy tales include that of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, and many others.

#5 Dangerous Liaisons

This is one of the very few books which was written with zero regards for society’s square box of thinking. Written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos and published in 1782. Considered as a blatant story using several themes including manipulation, seduction, and sexual desire.

#6 The Flowers of Evil

A collection of poems written by Charles Baudelaire which was published in 1857. It was poetry which totally disregarded the values of Realism with a potent mixture of themes including eroticism, sensual pleasure coupled with death and decay.

#7 Les Misérables

Written by Victor Hugo and published in 1862. This book is a lengthy, complex, and historical work of written art. It focuses on the power of kindness, empathy, and atonement through the eyes of the poor and abandoned people of 19th-century France.