Famous French Critics & Connoisseurs

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 1 Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault
4
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 2 Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: December 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

The Paris-born French-Swiss director and screenwriter has the reputation of adding new dimensions to filmmaking with his experimentation, a trend which came to be known as 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.

 3 Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire
4
Famous As: Poet
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.
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 4 Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes
4
Famous As: Essayist
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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 5 Denis Diderot

Denis Diderot
4
Famous As: Philosopher
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 Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau
4
Famous As: Poet, Playwright, Novelist
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.

 7 Jacqueline Roque

Jacqueline Roque
4
Famous As: choreographer, painter, model
Birthdate: February 24, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 15, 1986
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 8 Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 26, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 9, 1918

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was a significant figure of the avant-garde movement. It is believed he had coined the terms Cubism, Surrealism, and Orphism. Known for his iconic poem Chanson du mal-aimé, written after being rejected by a lover, he also developed the typography-based concrete poetry in the collection Calligrammes.

 9 Stéphane Mallarmé

Stéphane Mallarmé
4
Famous As: Poet, Critic
Birthdate: March 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 9, 1898

Stéphane Mallarmé was a French poet whose work inspired many artistic schools of the 20th century like Surrealism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Cubism. Over the years, his poetry has also served as an inspiration for many musical pieces, including Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Mallarmé's work also influenced Man Ray's film, Les Mystères du Château de Dé.

 10 Hélène Cixous

Hélène Cixous
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 11 Joris-Karl Huysmans

Joris-Karl Huysmans
4
Famous As: Writer, Art critic, Novelist
Birthdate: February 5, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: May 12, 1907

 12 Leos Carax

Leos Carax
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: November 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Suresnes, France

 13 Charles Maurras

Charles Maurras
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 20, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Martigues, France
Died: November 16, 1952

 14 Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud
3
Famous As: Classical composer, Conductor, Autobiographer, Musicologist, Music educator, Jazz musician, Music critic, Composer, Pianist, Film score composer
Birthdate: September 4, 1892
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence
Died: June 22, 1974

 15 Ernest Renan

Ernest Renan
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 27, 1823
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tréguier, France
Died: October 2, 1892

Ernest Renan was a French Semitic and Orientalist scholar. A multi-talented personality, Renan was also an expert of Semitic civilizations and languages, philologist, philosopher, historian of religion, critic, and biblical scholar. Ernest Renan is credited with writing pioneering and influential works on the origins of Christianity. Ernest Renan is also credited with writing the extremely popular book, Life of Jesus.

 16 Boris Vian

Boris Vian
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 10, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ville-d'Avray, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Died: June 23, 1959

 17 George Steiner

George Steiner
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Novelist, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic, Journalist
Birthdate: April 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris

 18 Jean Metzinger

Jean Metzinger
3
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: June 24, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: November 3, 1956

 19 Paul Dukas

Paul Dukas
3
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: October 1, 1865
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 18, 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.

 20 Adolphe Adam

Adolphe Adam
3
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: July 24, 1803
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 3, 1856

 21 Andre Bazin

Andre Bazin
3
Famous As: Film Critic
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

 22 Louis Aragon

Louis Aragon
3
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Politician, Poet, Novelist, Art critic
Birthdate: October 3, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 24, 1982

 23 Max Jacob

Max Jacob
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Quimper, France
Died: March 5, 1944

 24 Paul Le Flem

Paul Le Flem
3
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 18, 1881
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Radon, Écouves, France
Died: July 31, 1984

 25 Pierre Schaeffer

Pierre Schaeffer
3
Famous As: Composer, Radio personality, Engineer, Musicologist, Music educator, Music theorist, Music critic, Record producer
Birthdate: August 14, 1910
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nancy
Died: August 19, 1995

Pierre Schaeffer was a French composer, musicologist, writer, engineer, broadcaster, and acoustician. Schaeffer is credited with founding Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète. Schaeffer's innovative work in communications, acoustics, and literature as well as his anti-nuclear activism earned him widespread recognition. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential electronic musicians of all time.

 26 Gabriel Marcel

Gabriel Marcel
3
Famous As: Playwright, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic, Musician, Music critic
Birthdate: December 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 8, 1973

 27 Henry Gauthier-Villars

Henry Gauthier-Villars
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 8, 1859
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Villiers-sur-Orge, France
Died: January 12, 1931

 28 Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
3
Famous As: Critic
Birthdate: November 24, 1808
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1890

 29 Reynaldo Hahn

Reynaldo Hahn
3
Famous As: Conductor, Composer, Choreographer, Music critic, Pianist
Birthdate: August 9, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caracas
Died: January 28, 1947

Reynaldo Hahn was a Venezuelan-born French conductor, composer, singer, and music critic. A prolific composer, Hahn wrote a wide range of piano works and chamber music. His orchestral works include tone poems, concertos ballets, as well as incidental music for films and plays. Towards the end of his career, Reynaldo Hahn served as the director of the Paris Opéra. 

 30 François Mauriac

François Mauriac
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: September 1, 1970

 31 Hippolyte Taine

Hippolyte Taine
3
Famous As: French critic
Birthdate: April 20, 1828
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vouziers
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. 

 32 Camille Doncieux

Camille Doncieux
3
Famous As: painter, model
Birthdate: January 15, 1847
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Died: September 5, 1879

 33 Frederic Beigbeder

Frederic Beigbeder
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

 34 Édouard Glissant

Édouard Glissant
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sainte-Marie, Martinique
Died: February 3, 2011

 35 Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

 36 Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: November 1, 1636
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 13, 1711

 37 Frédéric Ozanam

Frédéric Ozanam
3
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: April 23, 1813
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: September 8, 1853

Frédéric Ozanam was a French lawyer, literary scholar, equal rights advocate, and journalist. He is credited with co-founding the Conference of Charity, which came to be known as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. in 1997, Frédéric Ozanam was beatified at Notre Dame de Paris by Pope John Paul II and his feast day is observed on 9 September.

 38 Octave Mirbeau

Octave Mirbeau
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 16, 1848
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Trévières, France
Died: February 16, 1917

 39 Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
3
Famous As: Literary critic
Birthdate: December 23, 1804
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Mer
Died: October 13, 1869

 40 Léon Werth

Léon Werth
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 17, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Remiremont, France
Died: December 13, 1955

 41 Joachim du Bellay

Joachim du Bellay
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 1, 1522
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Liré, Orée-d'Anjou, France
Died: January 1, 1560

 42 Ambroise Vollard

Ambroise Vollard
3
Famous As: Art Dealer
Birthdate: July 3, 1866
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Denis, Réunion
Died: July 22, 1939

 43 Nicolas Bourriaud

Nicolas Bourriaud
3
Famous As: Curator
Birthdate: April 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Niort, France

 44 Philippe Sollers

Philippe Sollers
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Talence, France

 45 Isidore Isou

Isidore Isou
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 29, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Botoşani, Romania
Died: July 28, 2007

 46 Julien Benda

Julien Benda
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 26, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 7, 1956

 47 René Daumal

René Daumal
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 16, 1908
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boulzicourt, Ardennes, France
Died: May 21, 1944

 48 Paul Bourget

Paul Bourget
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 2, 1852
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Amiens, France
Died: December 25, 1935

 49 Louis Leroy

Louis Leroy
2
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 1, 1812
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 1, 1885

 50 Félix Fénéon

Félix Fénéon
2
Famous As: Art critic
Birthdate: June 22, 1861
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: February 29, 1944