French Literature

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"Great read if you can read fluently." - by surfcrashrepeat
Loved this book for many reasons. First, I greatly enjoy Flaubert and this is a book I've been holding off on reading for a while because I wanted to read it in the native tongue in which it was written. I finally got to a point where I was confident my comprehension was good enough and this duel language version was instrumental in making that leap comfortably. The book is brilliantly synced so when my mind got tired I could easily find the idioms and clips and phrases I was misunderstanding in French on the opposite English page, and as I continued through the book I was reading more fluently than when I started and had less of a need for the English translation [but it was still a comfort having it there]. Enjoyed it so much I just picked up La Dame aux Camelias by the same publisher. Do ... full review

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"An excellent introduction" - by Peter Reeve (Indianapolis)
The blurb on the cover tells us "The first great works of this repertory were written in the twelfth century", from which we move to the Introduction, which informs us, "The first great works of this repertory were written in the 11th century". No matter. After this slightly false start, we are into a first class survey of one of the World's greatest literary traditions.

Lyons employs a clear, rather plain style, blessedly free from the jargon of literary theory. The illustrations are helpful and apposite, which is not always the case in this VSI series. The end result is a solid introduction to the subject.

I hesitate to complain about omissions in what is after all a very short introduction, but I must mention a couple that surprised me: Firstly, neither Dumas - père nor fils - appears. They may well be too middlebrow for ... full review

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"A great way to brush up on your French" - by Geoff Puterbaugh (Chiang Mai, T. Suthep, A. Muang Thailand)
The English translations are not much to brag about, but they are there to serve a specific purpose: enabling us to read the original French. When we are engaged on such a project, we actually do not care about the beauty of the English translations: we need a trot, pretty much.

What matters more, I think, is whether the short stories are worth reading, and here Wallace Fowlie has scored a major triumph. Maupassant's "Menuet" and Balzac's "La Messe de l'Athee" are simply superb, and I look forward to reading the rest!

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"Every educational institution that teaches French as a language should have this book" - by Nadia Gerassimenko
I went to a French educational institution since grade school. I must say it was hard to learn especially when the welcoming classes weren’t well equipped for foreign slow learners like me or learners who are more visual or auditory. I became fluent after all, but it took great deal of work from my part over the course of many years. I think French: Short Stories for Intermediate Level is a fantastic book to complement an intermediate student’s education in the French language. Not only does it provide the students with seven engaging stories, it also teaches them new beautiful words and cultural expressions. If the students are better at following the stories while listening to them, they can download the audio files as accompaniments. In the end of each story, the students are invited to summarize the story themselves in French, which only helps to reinforce their recall skills ... full review

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""Almost" perfect" - by Liz (Fort Worth, TX)
I am fairly new to the French language which I am learning on my own. I am a passionate linguist and it's so far my fifth language. English is not my first language either, but after many years in this country it is now almost like my native one. I am still reading this book and I am enjoining every bit of it. It is a collection of short stories by famous French writers of the past spanning over 400 years of French literature. It gives me an opportunity not only to broaden my French vocabulary, but also to learn about great French novelists of the past. I am not giving this book a 5 because I find that often the translation is not "word by word", but rather contextual. I still often need to look up words in the dictionary, which I hoped I could avoid by purchasing ... full review

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"Indispensible" - by Gaunilon
I offer this review to move the needle. This book deserves more than one rating of four stars. I've relied on it for years. It provides studied insights into major works and illuminates so much more than does the Cambridge series, which reads like a listing. Some of the essays irritate me as much as some of the voices I heard as a grad student in French literature...driven by ideology. But others are focused and worthwhile for setting the pieces within their historical and philosophical contexts.

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"Great book to improve your French!" - by Lester & Tonya Greenwood V (USA)
I have studied French only at school, but I've always considered
myself an admirer of its beauty. When I saw this book, I thought it
would be a wonderful opportunity for me and other people in the same
situation to brush up my knowledge.
The book contains 15 original short stories for beginner to low
intermediate levels, with some English translations throughout them.
It's a very fun and entertaining way to learn a language because
stories evolve around different everyday situations, such as family,
weather, shopping etc.

I had fun reading the stories and using audio (I would take every
opportunity to listen to French people talk) and will recommend
"French: Short Stories for Beginners + French Audio" to all my
friends!

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"Excellent features in a small package" - by BrianL (Arizona)
I purchased this 333 Verb book after using the Big Blue Book with 555 French Verbs, principally because this smaller version is lighter to carry and I can refer to it with one hand as I read French-language literature.

This volume has most of the best of the Big Blue Book 555 Verbs (which I have also reviewed) -- it seems basically only to be smaller (type size as well as the book itself) and has fewer of what it identifies as Top Verbs, 30 as opposed to the Top 50 in the larger volume.

I have also reviewed the 555 Verb book.

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"A quick and enjoyable read" - by Il Pz
I would recommend this roman to those with a moderate level of French, as it is not terribly complex in its grammar. As the title of my review suggests, it is a quick read (took me only a night) and it is enjoyable because of the beautiful words of Zola.
The roman breaks in two parts, as some reviews on the Internet will explain, and I found this very fascinating.

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"A brief and satisfying read" - by Suyo
The Stranger's power is in its brevity. Though the novel can be finished in an afternoon, The Stranger is a powerful analysis about the arbitrariness of justice and an exploration of the existential stages of life in which one is expected to proceed through to become a genuine human being. Meursault's initial existence, confined only to his sensory experiences, is woefully inadequate to qualify him as leading the full life that most individuals desire. Meursault's subsequent 'legal troubles' lead him to a far greater understanding of the life to which he is happily a complete and utter subject to. The novel also touches on ideas about determinism and nihilism and critiques the social structure of relationships and the 'justice system'. Justice, freedom, and of course religious ideas are lambasted by Camus in the text.

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"Great value. The sound recording for each story is ..." - by Skye
Great value. The sound recording for each story is available for free on the author's website. He records each one at regular speed and again at a slower speed so you can really hear how each word is pronounced. This is the first book I've bought from this author and I will definitely be looking into his other publications to help me learn French.

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"Easy to learn!" - by Sonya N (Dallas, TX)
This book is a wonderful accompaniment for someone who will be visiting a French speaking country, or if you just want to learn the language. It's not as difficult to learn the language as one may think, and this book is easy to follow and not complicated at all. The examples portrayed throughout are words and phrases for everyday use during travel or business. Basic rules of grammar are included, and even an English/French dictionary which both are extremely helpful. The incredible hints, tips and strategies are beneficial for beginners, too. It's much more than just learning the language, it's a total experience.

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"A great resource for self-study - if you're dedicated." - by Patrick T. Baggett
I completed all 113 lessons and did *every exercise* in the book. Although I tried for regularity, I wasn't extremely successful. It took about 8 months, it should have taken about 4. I didn't do the active wave by translating the English to French, but I simply listened and reviewed the text.

Having done all of this, I can say that my level in French went from near zero to a much higher level. This course has been far more useful and content rich than Routledge's [[ASIN:113894968X Colloquial French]]. If you can only have one, choose this one!

If you haven't used Assimil before, it's basically a graded bilingual reader with grammar notes. French on the left, English on the right. The dialogues are usually cute and have a bit of humor, but not all. The later lessons discuss topics like slang, idioms, history, culture, work, and moving in France. I enjoyed ... full review

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"The perfect book" - by Erin McGory
This book is essentially my Cooking Bible. As a chef, I can honestly say if you follow the recipes, you'll find there are several opportunities to add your own touch. It's incredibly easy to read and follow, and I would think so even if I weren't a professional chef. This book will teach you how to do almost anything you want to do. I plan on keeping this book to pass down to my children and hopefully theirs after.

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"Survey of French Lit. Vol. 2" - by scstudent
I'm using this text for my college french literature course and I actually find it a good read on its own! It provides a good overview of French literary masterpieces and the historical context behind them.