The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard

Mondial
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Sylvestre Bonnard, an elderly and highly esteemed scholar, encounters unexpected problems when he embarks upon a search for an ancient ecclesiastical literary document that takes him from Paris to Sicily and then into his own life history. For the sake of justice and love, he ends up committing acts that at best are of doubtful legality. --- With "The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard," Anatole France (1844-1924) wrote a novel that is both clever and wise and in the manner of the great masters of literary style - a book that is full of suspense from beginning to end.
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About the author

Anatole France was the pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault, who was born in Paris in 1844. The son of a bookseller, Thibault had a lifelong interest in literature. He worked as a schoolteacher, as a reader and editor for publishing houses, and as an assistant librarian in Paris' Senate Library, in addition to writing fiction, plays, poetry, criticism, and autobiographical stories. In his lifetime, Thibault was considered one of France's most beloved authors, and he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1921. France's first novel was The Famished Cat, published in 1879. France's best-known novels include Monsieur Bergeret in Paris, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard, Member of the Institute (for which he received an award from the French Academy in 1881), At the Sign of the Reine Pedauque, Penguin Island, Thais (which became the basis for an opera), The Gods Are Athirst, and The Revolt of the Angels. During the late 1890s Thibault became very involved in political and social issues. He was especially committed to socialism and to the fight against anti-Semitism, mainly as a result of the Dreyfuss affair. This new awareness was reflected in his writing, particularly in books such as Penguin Island, which criticized contemporary French society, and The Revolt of the Angels, which parodied the Catholic Church. He also became the literary advisor to l'Humanitie, an influential socialist newspaper, and frequently contributed articles to it until, dissatisfied with the Communist party that had eventually evolved, he renounced all political ties to the left just before his death in 1924.

Andrew Moore assisted James McNair on the last 10 of his cookbooks, including recipe development and editing. James and Andrew divide their time between a home in Northern California and their lodge on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Mondial
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
142
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ISBN
9781595690593
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Classics
Fiction / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Penguin Island is a satirical fictional history by Nobel Prize winning French author Anatole France. It is concerned with grandnarratives, mythologizing heroes, hagiography and romantic nationalism. It is about a fictitious island, inhabited by great auks, that existed off the northern coast of Europe. The history begins when a wayward Christian missionary monk lands on the island and perceives the upright, unafraid auks as a sort of pre-Christian society of noble pagans. Mostly blind and somewhat deaf, having mistaken the animals for humans, he baptizes them. This causes a problem for The Lord, who normally only allows humans to be baptized. After consulting with saints and theologians in Heaven, He resolves the dilemma by converting the baptized birds to humans with only a few physical traces of their ornithological origin, and giving them each a soul.

Thus begins the history of Penguinia, and from there forward the history mirrors that of France (and more generally of Western Europe, including German-speaking areas and the British Isles). The narrative spans from the Migration Period ("Dark Ages"), when the Germanic tribes fought incessantly among themselves for territory; to the heroic Early Middle Ages with the rise of Charlemagne ("Draco the Great") and conflicts with Viking raiders ("porpoises"); through the Renaissance (Erasmus); and up to the modern era with motor cars; and even into a future time in which a thriving high-tech civilization is destroyed by a campaign of terrorist bombings, and everything begins again in an endless cycle.

The longest-running plot thread, and probably the best known, satirizes the Dreyfus affair — though both brief and complex satires of European history, politics, philosophy and theology are present throughout the novel. At various points, real historical figures such as Columba and Saint Augustine are part of the story, as well as fictionalized characters who represent historical people. Penguin Island is considered a critique of human nature from a socialist standpoint, in which morals, customs and laws are lampooned. For example, the origin of the aristocracy is presented as starting with the brutal and shameless murder of a farmer, and the seizure of his land, by a physically larger and stronger neighbor.
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