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France, Anatole

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of Jacques Anatole-François Thibault (1844-1924), French author active from the early 1860s until his death; he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. His essayistic "pagan" Satires seem perhaps less relevant now than formerly, their amused rationality failing to bite with sufficient savagery into targets like official religion and sexual prudery. Of sf interest are Sur la pierre blanche (1904 l'Humanité; coll of linked stories 1905; trans Charles E Roche as The White Stone 1910), in which a group of intellectuals prognosticates a White Peril (the Yellow races being at risk) and the rise of a socialist Utopia; and L'île des pingouins (1907; trans A W Evans as Penguin Island 1909), in which the Evolution of humanity is allegorized satirically through the transformation into humans – after they have been baptised in error – of a race of penguins, who repeat human history. Brian Stableford has suggested that both these texts clearly invoke Félix Bodin's contention that accurate prediction must necessarily seem subversive of contemporary reality. In La révolte des anges (1914; trans Mrs Wilfrid Jackson as The Revolt of the Angels 1914), a fantasy and France's finest novel, an angel – corrupted by the world of books – realizes that his fallen brethren were in the right. [JC]

see also: Economics; France.

Jacques Anatole-François Thibault

born Paris: 16 April 1844

died Sain-Cyr-sur-Loire, France: 12 October 1924



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