Albert Camus was a French philosopher and the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His philosophical views contributed to the rise of absurdism, a philosophical concept. Also a prolific writer, Albert Camus had an illustrious literary career; most of his philosophical essays and novels are still influential.
Guy de Maupassant was a French author who wrote 300 short stories during his illustrious career. Widely regarded as the father of the modern short story, Maupassant's stories are characterized by economy of style and depicted human lives in pessimistic terms,
Honoré de Balzac was a French playwright and novelist. Since his works gave a detailed, unfiltered representation of society, Honoré de Balzac is generally considered one of the founders of realism and an important figure in European literature. Renowned for creating multi-faceted characters, Balzac influenced several popular writers like Charles John Huffam Dickens, Émile Zola, Henry James, and Gustave Flaubert.
French author Maurice Leblanc is best known for creating the character Arsène Lupin, who has been part of 60 of Leblanc’s crime stories and novels. He quit his law studies to become an author. Several of his films have been turned into films. He also earned the Légion d'Honneur.
Alphonse Daudet was a French novelist whose books are still widely read in France. He often collaborated with his wife Julia Daudet, a famous writer, poet, and journalist. Today, several schools and colleges in France are named in his honor.
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.
French naval officer Pierre Loti had traveled to places such as the Middle East as part of his job, and this later helped him pen novels set in exotic locations. His works such as Madame Chrysanthème and Pêcheur d’Islande made him a favorite of critics such as Anatole France.
Margaret of Valois-Angouleme, the wife of Henry II of Navarre, was a significant figure of the French Renaissance, and is also regarded as The First Modern Woman. She patronized artists and was herself an author, with several short stories and a religious poem to her credit.
Born into a middle-class French family, Pierre Drieu La Rochelle wished to enter diplomatic service but was forced to interrupt his career when World War I broke out. He later got inspired by Surrealism and penned books such as The Fire Within. He was also an advocate for fascism.
French-Belgian playwright and author Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt was born to physical education teachers but surprisingly developed a passion for theater instead of sports. He began his career as a philosophy teacher. His notable works include Oscar and the Lady in Pink and the Molière Award-winning Le Visiteur.
Part of the symbolist movement, French author Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam is best remembered for his drama Axël and his short story collection Cruel Tales. His works often dealt with themes of horror and sadism. He spent all his life in poverty and married his mistress on his deathbed.
French author Charles Nodier inspired the Romantic writers of his time with his focus on gothic themes. As the director of the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, he led a group of young writers such as Victor Hugo and Alfred de Musset. His works include The Vampire Lord Ruthwen and The Book Collector.
Twentieth-century French diplomat Paul Morand was also a celebrated author. In his initial works, such as Closed All Night, he used techniques such as going back and forth in time. His short stories and novels included The Harried Man and Be Quiet. He also penned travel accounts and biographies.
French symbolist author Marcel Schwob is best known for his works such as The King In The Gold Mask and Imaginary Lives. His writings exhibit a strong influence of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe. He was also a qualified journalist and had traveled to places such as Asia and Australia.
Known for his masterpieces such as Le Chevalier des Touches and Les Diaboliques, French author Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly was also famous for his outrageous dress sense in spite of his poverty. He specialized in writing dark mystery tales. He had also been a critic at Le Constitutionnel.
Born to Lebanese parents in Egypt, Andrée Chedid initially aspired to become a dancer. At 22, she married a physician in Cairo, and they later moved to Paris. Best known for her internationally renowned novel L'Autre, she has also penned several poems, short stories, and children’s tales.
Twentieth-century French-Uruguayan writer Jules Supervielle is remembered for his opposition to surrealism. His poems dealt with humor, and he also experimented with fantasy in his novels. The three-time Nobel Prize nominee had also been named Officier de la Legion d'honneur and the Prince of Poets.