Date of Award

1931

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Modern Languages

First Advisor

M. Ruth Smith

Abstract

When Anatole France died 1n 1924, he had the satisfaction of knowing that he had lived long enough to enjoy the honors which are not usually bestowed upon men until their death. His long life filled with years of labor and earnest endeavor to improve the lives of his fellow-men, through a better adjustment to society, culminated in his election to the French Academy.

By some critics he has been called the greatest writer of today. It is difficult to tell exactly upon what merits this distinction is based. Anatole France was not content to simply call himself a skeptic. On the contrary we find in him a curious combination of novelist, historian and critic. His works show an interest in many literary activities. In La Vie Litteraire he reveals himsel as a lover of ancient literation. In L'histoire Contermporaine and L'eglise et la Republique he is an anti-clerical and supporter of the seperation of Churcn and State; a bitter critic of all dogma. In Crainquebille we see him as the Socialist and champion of the rights of the people, and in Vere Les Tempa Mellicum and Sur La Pierre Blanche he is the optimist, strongly confident in a future Utopia.

Probably it is in the realm of social satire that he can make his greatest claim to fame. So elusive is France in his feelings that his readers are not certain whether his is an intense interest in society or a context for it. Whatever we may think, we cannot deny that it is a strong feeling against what he calls evils of the day -- the church, politics, class inequalities, and many others which gave birth to such novels as L'Histoire Contemporaire, Sur La Pierre Blanche, and the little story Crainquebille.

The strange combination of feelings which France arouses added to the fact that he is still a contemporary, makes it difficult to assign him any definite place in literature. So strong are his feelings that they dominate the contents of his work, and his satire is abundant in contradictions. Difficult as it may be to assign him a niche in literature, it cannot be denied that as a sincere disciple of justice and liberty, he has left a deep influence on France.

Pages

116

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