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 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.

 7 Eugene Ionesco

Eugene Ionesco
4
Famous As: Playwright and dramatist
Birthdate: November 26, 1909
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Slatina, Romania Slatina, Romania
Died: March 28, 1994
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 8 René Girard

René Girard
4
Famous As: Historian
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.

 9 Jacqueline Roque

Jacqueline Roque
4
Famous As: Best known as the muse and second wife of Pablo Picasso
Birthdate: February 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 15, 1986

 10 Olivier Assayas

Olivier Assayas
4
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film critic
Birthdate: January 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

 11 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.

 12 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.

 13 Charles Maurras

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

 14 Robbie Ross

Robbie Ross
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 25, 1869
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tours, France
Died: October 5, 1918

 15 Joris-Karl Huysmans

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

 16 Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud
3
Famous As: Former composer who rose to fame as a member of the group Les Six
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 Théophile Gautier

Théophile Gautier
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 30, 1811
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tarbes, France
Died: October 23, 1872

 18 George Steiner

George Steiner
4
Famous As: Literary critic, Essayist, Philosopher, Novelist
Birthdate: April 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died: February 3, 2020

 19 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.

 20 Adolphe Adam

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

 21 Jean Metzinger

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

 22 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.

 23 Louis Aragon

Louis Aragon
3
Famous As: Former surrealist writer, co-founded with André Breton and Philippe Soupault the surrealist review Littérature
Birthdate: October 3, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 24, 1982

 24 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

 25 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

 26 Tzvetan Todorov

Tzvetan Todorov
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria
Died: February 7, 2017

Tzvetan Todorov was a Bulgarian-French historian, philosopher, literary critic, and sociologist. He completed his doctorat ès lettres at the University of Paris and had a brilliant academic career. He helped to found the journal Poétique and served as one of its managing editors. He authored many books, including Conquest of America: The Question of the Other. 

 27 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

 28 Maurice Blanchot

Maurice Blanchot
3
Famous As: Former writer, philosopher, and literary theorist
Birthdate: September 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Devrouze, Saône-et-Loire, France
Died: February 20, 2003

 29 Leos Carax

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

 30 Max Jacob

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

 31 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

 32 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

 33 François Mauriac

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

 34 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

 35 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

 36 Hippolyte Taine

Hippolyte Taine
3
Famous As: Critic, Historian
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. 

 37 Camille Doncieux

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

 38 Frederic Beigbeder

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

 39 Maryse Condé

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

 40 Édouard Glissant

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

 41 Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

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

 42 Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

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

 43 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.

 44 Octave Mirbeau

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

 45 Léon Werth

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

 46 Ambroise Vollard

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

 47 Philippe Sollers

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

 48 Nicolas Bourriaud

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

 49 Isidore Isou

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

 50 Julien Benda

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