You might think “public domain” means “boring” or “irrelevant.”But French literature has a rich history of challenging the standards and aesthetics of its time.
Whether you’re reading to improve your French or just to reward yourself for all your hard work, you can find old French books that are as edgy and provocative as any being published today.
A man takes a room in a boarding house and discovers that through a hole in the wall he can see everything that’s happening in the adjoining room.
Thus begins a voyeuristic journey of discovery for the protagonist of Barbusse’s novel.
The contrast between the lightness and naïveté of adolescence and the seriousness of the war makes Radiguet’s story a compelling read.
Colette was a novelist known for her vivid depictions of love and sensuality.
Just for the sake of mentioning it, there are vampires on Mars, and if you enjoy this offering from Le Rouge, you can continue on to the sequel, “La Guerre des vampires.”While Roussel is considered something of a cult taste, he holds a highly influential place in 20 century literature for his playful experiments with the writing process.
“Locus Solus,” created from one such experiment, centers on a wealthy man showing his friends a series of bizarre inventions and curiosities he has collected on his estate.
It was popular at the time of its publication and its frank, conversational tone and eyebrow-raising subject matter should make it appealing to modern audiences as well.
“Ourika” both calls attention to race and gender divisions and explores the effect these divisions have on the individual mind.“Le Grand Meaulnes” is the only novel by the writer Alain-Fournier, but it’s a heck of a novel.