Albert Camus (7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French Algerian author, philosopher, and journalist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was a key philosopher of the 20th-century and his most famous work is the novel L'Étranger. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was a group opposed to some tendencies of the surrealistic movement of André Breton.
Alfred Jarry (8 September 1873 – 1 November 1907) was a French writer born in Laval, Mayenne, France, not far from the border of Brittany; he was of Breton descent on his mother's side. Best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896), which is often cited as a forerunner to the surrealist theatre of the 1920s and 1930s, Jarry wrote in a variety of genres and styles. He wrote plays, novels, poetry, essays and speculative journalism.
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Along with other Surrealists of his generation Cocteau grappled with the "algebra" of verbal codes old and new, mise en scène language and technologies of modernism to create a paradox: a classical avant-garde.
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, existentialism, and Marxism, and his work continues to influence fields such as Marxist philosophy, sociology and literary studies.
Marcel Achard (5 July 1899, Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, Rhône – 4 September 1974) was a French playwright and screenwriter whose popular sentimental comedies maintained his position as a highly-recognizable name in his country's theatrical and literary circles for five decades. He was elected to the Académie Française in 1959.
Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish avant-garde writer, dramatist and poet, writing in English and French. Beckett's work offers a bleak outlook on human culture and both formally and philosophically became increasingly minimalist. As a student, assistant, and friend of James Joyce, Beckett is considered one of the last modernists; as an inspiration to many later writers, he is sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists.
François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets.
Victor-Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, ' and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem, and Hugo is sometimes identified as the greatest French poet.
Émile François Zola (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was an influential French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism, an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'Accuse.
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, mostly known by his stage name Molière, (January 15, 1622 – February 17, 1673) was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature.
Jean Racine (December 1639 – April 21, 1699) was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th century France, and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition. Racine was primarily a tragedian, though he did write one comedy.
Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand (1 April 1869 – 2 December 1918) was a French poet and dramatist. He is associated with neo-romanticism, and is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rostand's romantic plays provided an alternative to the naturalistic theatre popular during the late nineteenth century. Another of Rostand's works, Les Romanesques, was adapted to the musical comedy, The Fantasticks.
Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier (August 30, 1811 – October 23, 1872) was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and literary critic. While an ardent defender of Romanticism, Gautier's work is difficult to classify and remains a point of reference for many subsequent literary traditions such as Parnassianism, Symbolism, Decadence and Modernism. He was widely esteemed by writers as diverse as Balzac, Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Flaubert and Oscar Wilde.
Pierre Corneille (6 June 1606 – 1 October 1684) was a French tragedian who was one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine. He has been called “the founder of French tragedy” and produced plays for nearly forty years.
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (24 January 1732 – 18 May 1799) was a watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, arms dealer, and revolutionary. He was best known, however, for his theatrical works, especially the three Figaro plays.
Régine Deforges (born 15 August 1935) is a French author, editor, director, and playwright. Born in Montmorillon, Vienne, she is sometimes called the "High Priestess of French erotic literature. " Deforges was the first woman to own and operate a publishing house in France. Over the years, she has been censored, prosecuted, and heavily fined for publishing "offensive" literature. One of her novels, La Bicyclette bleue ("The Blue Bicycle"), published in 1981, was France's biggest bestseller.
Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French dramatist and duellist who is now best remembered for the many works of fiction which have been woven around his life story. In these fictional works he is featured with an overly large nose; portraits suggest that he did have a big nose, though not nearly as large as described in Edmond Rostand's play and the subsequent works about him. A statue of him stands in the town of Bergerac, Dordogne.
Hippolyte Jean Giraudoux (October 29, 1882 – January 31, 1944) was a French novelist, essayist, diplomat and playwright. He is considered among the most important French dramatists of the period between World War I and World War II.
Eugène Ionesco (November 26, 1909 – March 28, 1994) was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict in a tangible way the solitude and insignificance of human existence.
Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux (February 4, 1688 – February 12, 1763), commonly referred to as Marivaux, was a French novelist and dramatist. He is considered one of the most important French playwrights of the 18th century, writing numerous comedies for the Comédie-Française and the Comédie-Italienne of Paris. His most important works are ', Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard and Les Fausses Confidences.
Boris Vian (10 March 1920 – 23 June 1959) was a French polymath: writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor and engineer. He is best remembered today for his novels. Those published under the pseudonym Vernon Sullivan were bizarre parodies of criminal fiction, highly controversial at the time of their release.