Famous French Critics & Connoisseurs

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 1 
Jean-Luc Godard
(Film Director and a Pioneer of the 1960s 'French New Wave' Film Movement)
Jean-Luc Godard
4
Birthdate: December 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 13, 2022

The Paris-born French-Swiss director and screenwriter had the reputation of adding new dimensions to filmmaking with his experimentation, a trend which came to be known as the French New Wave. The director of acclaimed films like Breathless, My Life to Live and Pierrot le Fou, Jean-Luc Godard was married to actress Anna Karina. He is regarded as an all-time great director.

 2 
Charles Baudelaire
(French Poet Known for His Handling of Rhyme & Rhythm and His Book 'Les Fleurs du mal')
Charles Baudelaire
4
Birthdate: April 9, 1821
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 31, 1867
French prose poet, essayist, and critic Charles Baudelaire was one of the first translators of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Best known for his book of poems Les Fleurs du mal, he is believed to have coined the word modernity and was associated with the symbolist and decadent movements.
 3 
Roland Barthes
(French Literary Theorist Best Known for His Essay Collection 'Mythologies' and His Essay 'The Death of the Author')
Roland Barthes
4
Birthdate: November 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France
Died: March 25, 1980
Born to middle-class parents in France, literary theorist and critic Roland Barthes explored Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiology and influenced fields such as structuralism. His iconic works, such as Mythologies and The Death of the Author, influenced later thinkers. He died of injuries sustained in a road accident at 64.
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 4 
Jean Cocteau
(French Author and Artist Who Was One of the Foremost Creatives of the 'Surrealist', 'Avant-Garde', and 'Dadaist' Movements.)
Jean Cocteau
4
Birthdate: July 5, 1889
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maisons-Laffitte, France
Died: October 11, 1963
While Jean Cocteau preferred calling himself a poet, his multidimensional works consisted of novels such as Les Enfants Terribles and films directed by him such as La Belle et la Bête. Cocteau relied on motifs such as eyes, blood, and mirrors, and mingled mythology and modernism.
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 5 
Denis Diderot
(French Philosopher, Co-Founder and Chief Editor of the ‘Encyclopédie’)
Denis Diderot
4
Birthdate: October 5, 1713
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Langres, France
Died: July 31, 1784

Denis Diderot revolutionized the Age of Enlightenment as the co-founder of Encyclopédie, which was banned for questioning religion. He had flirted with the idea of joining the theater and becoming a priest, and even studied law, but later devoted himself to languages, literature, and philosophy.

 6 
Eugene Ionesco
(Romanian-French Playwright and Leading Figure of the 'French Avant-Garde Theatre')
Eugene Ionesco
4
Birthdate: November 26, 1909
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Slatina, Romania Slatina, Romania
Died: March 28, 1994

Eugene Ionesco was a Romanian-French playwright and one of the 20th century's leading figures of the French avant-garde theatre. He is best remembered for his play, The Bald Soprano, which played an important role in the development of the Theatre of the Absurd. Eugène Ionesco was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Austrian State Prize for European Literature.

 7 
René Girard
(French Polymath, Historian and Philosopher of Social Science)
René Girard
4
Birthdate: December 25, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Avignon, France
Died: November 4, 2015

René Girard was a French philosopher of social science, literary critic, and historian. Over the years, Girard's work has had an influence on disciplines like philosophy, anthropology, psychology, mythology, theology, economics, sociology, and cultural studies among other important disciplines. In 2006, René Girard was honored by the University of Tübingen with the prestigious Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize.

 8 
Jacqueline Roque
(Best known as the muse and second wife of Pablo Picasso)
Jacqueline Roque
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 15, 1986
 9 
Olivier Assayas
(Film director, Screenwriter, Film critic)
Olivier Assayas
4
Birthdate: January 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
 10 
Michel Foucault
(Philosopher & Historian)
Michel Foucault
5
Birthdate: October 15, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poitiers, France
Died: June 25, 1984

If others thought the body was the prison of the soul, Paul-Michel Foucault felt the other way round. The French philosopher, literary critic and Leftist who interpreted the link between power and knowledge, was a post-structuralist whose theories have left a mark on anthropology, psychology and criminology. The feminist was one of the noted personalities to have died of HIV/AIDS.

 11 
Robbie Ross
(Journalist)
Robbie Ross
4
Birthdate: May 25, 1869
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tours, France
Died: October 5, 1918
 12 
Hélène Cixous
(French Feminist Writer and Philosopher Best Known for Her Article ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’)
Hélène Cixous
4
Birthdate: June 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oran, Algeria

Hélène Cixous is a professor, poet, playwright, rhetorician, literary critic, philosopher, and French feminist writer. She is best known for writing an article titled The Laugh of the Medusa, which earned her popularity and established her as a thinker in post-structural feminism.

 13 
Charles Maurras
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Martigues, France
Died: November 16, 1952
 14 
George Steiner
(Literary critic, Essayist, Philosopher, Novelist)
George Steiner
4
Birthdate: April 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died: February 3, 2020
 15 
Théophile Gautier
3
Birthdate: August 30, 1811
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tarbes, France
Died: October 23, 1872
 16 
Darius Milhaud
(Former composer who rose to fame as a member of the group Les Six)
Darius Milhaud
3
Birthdate: September 4, 1892
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: June 22, 1974

Darius Milhaud was a French composer, teacher, and conductor. One of the 20th century's most prolific composers, Milhaud was part of a famous group known as The Group of Six. He also contributed greatly to the French film industry, composing music for films like Madame Bovary and The Beloved Vagabond. Milhaud is often counted among the most important modernist composers. 

 17 
Joris-Karl Huysmans
(Art critic, Novelist)
Joris-Karl Huysmans
4
Birthdate: February 5, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 12, 1907
 18 
Paul Dukas
(French Composer Best Known for the Orchestral Piece 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice')
Paul Dukas
3
Birthdate: October 1, 1865
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 17, 1935

Best known for his masterpiece The Sorcerer's Apprentice, French composer Paul Dukas was admired by both conservative and progressive French musicians. Born to a pianist mother, Dukas had begun composing while recovering from an ailment at age 14. Shortly before his death, he destroyed most of his manuscripts.

 19 
Adolphe Adam
(French Music Critic, Teacher, and Composer Best Remembered for His Ballets, 'Le corsaire' and 'Giselle')
Adolphe Adam
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1803
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 3, 1856

Adolphe Adam was a French music critic, teacher, and composer. Best remembered for his ballets, Le corsaire and Giselle, Adam was a prolific composer for the theatre. Adolphe Adam is credited with developing the French form of opera along with his teacher Adrien Boieldieu and his older contemporary Daniel Auber.

 20 
Jean Metzinger
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: November 3, 1956
 21 
Boris Vian
(Writer)
Boris Vian
4
Birthdate: March 10, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ville-d'Avray, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Died: June 23, 1959
 22 
Louis Aragon
(Former surrealist writer, co-founded with André Breton and Philippe Soupault the surrealist review Littérature)
Louis Aragon
3
Birthdate: October 3, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 24, 1982
 23 
Julia Kristeva
(Bulgarian-French Author and Academic Whose Themes Surrounded on Feminism, Semiotics, and Psychoanalysis)
Julia Kristeva
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

Bulgarian-born French author and literary critic Julia Kristeva is also a professor at the University Paris Diderot. Her writings, such as the Female Genius trilogy, are centered around feminism, semiotics, and psychoanalysis. She has also pioneered semanalysis and has been recognized with honors such as Commander of the Legion of Honor.

 24 
Max Jacob
(Poet)
Max Jacob
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Quimper, France
Died: March 5, 1944
 25 
Andre Bazin
(Film Critic)
Andre Bazin
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Angers, France
Died: November 11, 1958
Andre Bazin was a French film theorist and film critic. A respected and influential personality, Bazin is credited with co-founding the popular French film magazine, Cahiers du cinéma. Bazin is remembered for supporting films that depicted realism, which set him apart from his contemporaries as conventional film theorists of his generation supported films that could manipulate reality
 26 
Leos Carax
(Film director)
Leos Carax
4
Birthdate: November 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Suresnes, France
 27 
Paul Le Flem
(Composer)
Paul Le Flem
3
Birthdate: March 18, 1881
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Radon, Écouves, France
Died: July 31, 1984
 28 
Maurice Blanchot
(Former writer, philosopher, and literary theorist)
Maurice Blanchot
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Devrouze, Saône-et-Loire, France
Died: February 20, 2003
Henry Gauthier-Villars
3
Birthdate: August 8, 1859
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Villiers-sur-Orge, France
Died: January 12, 1931
 30 
Gabriel Marcel
(Playwright, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic, Musician, Music critic)
Gabriel Marcel
3
Birthdate: December 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 8, 1973
 31 
François Mauriac
3
Birthdate: October 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: September 1, 1970
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
3
Birthdate: November 24, 1808
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1890
 33 
Hippolyte Taine
(Critic, Historian)
Hippolyte Taine
3
Birthdate: April 21, 1828
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vouziers, France
Died: March 5, 1893

Hippolyte Taine was a French critic and historian who was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism. One of the first practitioners of historicist criticism, he was also a major proponent of sociological positivism and made attempts to provide a scientific account of literature. He had a special relationship with novelist Émile Zola and corresponded with the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. 

 34 
Camille Doncieux
(painter, model)
Camille Doncieux
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1847
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: September 5, 1879
 35 
Frederic Beigbeder
3
Birthdate: September 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
 36 
Maryse Condé
(Novelist)
Maryse Condé
3
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe
 37 
Édouard Glissant
3
Birthdate: September 21, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sainte-Marie, Martinique
Died: February 3, 2011
Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1636
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 13, 1711
 39 
Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
3
Birthdate: December 23, 1804
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
Died: October 13, 1869
 40 
Octave Mirbeau
(Novelist)
Octave Mirbeau
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Trévières, France
Died: February 16, 1917
 41 
Léon Werth
(Writer)
Léon Werth
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Remiremont, France
Died: December 13, 1955
 42 
Joachim du Bellay
3
Birthdate: May 1, 1522
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Liré, Orée-d'Anjou, France
Died: January 1, 1560
 43 
Ambroise Vollard
(Art Dealer)
Ambroise Vollard
3
Birthdate: July 3, 1866
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Denis, Réunion
Died: July 22, 1939
 44 
Philippe Sollers
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Talence, France
 45 
Nicolas Bourriaud
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Niort, France
 46 
Isidore Isou
2
Birthdate: January 29, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Botoşani, Romania
Died: July 28, 2007
 47 
Julien Benda
(Philosopher)
Julien Benda
2
Birthdate: December 26, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 7, 1956
 48 
René Daumal
(Writer)
René Daumal
2
Birthdate: March 16, 1908
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boulzicourt, Ardennes, France
Died: May 21, 1944
 49 
Edmond de Goncourt
(French Writer, Literary Critic, Art Critic, Book Publisher and the Founder of the 'Académie Goncourt')
Edmond de Goncourt
2
Birthdate: May 26, 1822
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: July 16, 1896

Edmond de Goncourt was a French writer, book publisher, art critic, and literary critic. He is credited with founding the popular French literary organization, the Goncourt Literary Society. Between 1856 and 1875, he published essays on 18th-century art, which helped revive appreciation for the Late Baroque.

 50 
Paul Bourget
(Novelist)
Paul Bourget
2
Birthdate: September 2, 1852
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Amiens, France
Died: December 25, 1935