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This is the "20th Century" page of the "English" guide.
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Last Updated: Nov 8, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Philosophers and Critics

Novelists and Dramatists

  • Antonin Artaud (1896 - 1948): Topic Page
    His extraordinary influence on subsequent theatre is based largely on his two short-lived attempts at directing and on his volume of essays, The Theatre and Its Double.
  • Albert Camus (1913 - 1960): Topic Page
    Active in the French Resistance he became Coeditor (with Sartre) of Combat; breaking with Sartre after the war, Camus devoted himself to writing. Nobel Prize for Literature, 1957.
  • Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894 - 1961)
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    French author. Céline wrote grim, scatological, and blackly funny novels.
  • Colette (1873 - 1954)
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    French novelist. Colette achieved popularity with numerous novels, characterized by sensitive observations—particularly of women—and an intimate, semiautobiographical style.
  • Jean Genet (1910 - 1986): Topic Page
    French dramatist, novelist, and poet. His turbulent life and early years spent in prison are reflected in his drama, characterized by ritual, role-play, and illusion, in which his characters come to act out their bizarre and violent fantasies.
  • Raymond Queneau (1903 - 1976): Topic Page
    French surrealist poet and humorous novelist.
  • Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922 - 2008)
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    1922–2008, French novelist and filmmaker; considered the originator of the French nouveau roman.
  • Françoise Sagan (1935 - 2004): Topic Page
    French novelist; at the age of 18 she wrote, in only two months, the best-selling Bonjour Tristesse.
  • Marguerite Yourcenar (1903 - 1987): Topic Page
    In 1980 Marguerite Yourcenar became the first woman member of the French Academy. The winner of many awards, this scholarly writer was not only a historical novelist but also a poet, essayist, playwright, and translator.


  • Atheism: Topic Page
    Nonbelief in, or the positive denial of, the existence of a God or gods.
  • Dada: Topic Page
    Artistic and literary movement founded in 1915 in a spirit of rebellion and disillusionment during World War I and lasting until about 1922.
  • Existentialism: Topic Page
    Any of several philosophic systems, all centered on the individual and his relationship to the universe or to God.
  • Modernism: Topic Page
    Modernism is based on a concern with form and the exploration of technique as opposed to content and narrative. In literature, writers experimented with alternatives to orthodox sequential storytelling.
  • Freudianism (Sigmund Freud, 1856 - 1939: Topic Page)
    Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis and proved to be the most influential writer about the unconscious mind in the twentieth century.
  • Postmodernism: Topic Page
    Term used to designate a multitude of trends—in the arts, philosophy, religion, technology, and many other areas—that come after and deviate from the many 20th-cent. movements that constituted modernism.
  • Surrealism: Topic Page
    Movement in art, literature, and film. Led by André Breton, who produced the Surrealist Manifesto (1924), the surrealists were inspired by the thoughts and visions of the subconscious mind.



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