The Holidays through French Literature!

December 28, 2016 | By Jeremy Albet

As the holiday season approaches, the Book Department offers a subjective, partial and incomplete selection of the best holiday celebrations in French literature. From major French classics to contemporary and children books’ authors, Christmas is celebrated by many fiction characters!

The Classics

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo reminds us that Christmas Eve can be a day of touching new encounters. In the beginning of his masterpiece, protagonist Jean Valjean meets young Cosette by chance on a cold, winter night. A long and loyal friendship emerges.

The Dream by Émile Zola

A similar fate for young and poor Angélique who, on a snowy winter day, sees her fate take a new turn as Hubertine and her husband Hubert take her in their home; the chance for the young girl to realize her dream, or so she thinks...

Contemporary

The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq

The map and the territory or how to survive lone and awkward holiday dinners with your widowed father. A bitter take on the end of the year festivities, we hope you'll have more exciting new year's plans.

Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant

A Christmas tale

One egg, a French village, a couple, a doctor, a priest and a midnight mass. All the elements are in place for a Christmas miracle.

Christmas Eve

A haunting and shocking take on Christmas Eve: Maupassant shows his taste for the decadent and burlesque with the story of a writer who invites a physically impressive fille de joie to dine at his home, but not everything goes as planned. 

Children's Books

L’histoire de Noël by La Comtesse de Ségur

An historical approach to the holidays with “L’histoire de Noël”, recounting the day-to-day story of Jesus’s birth. La Comtesse de Ségur goes through the most important stories surrounding the origin of Christmas including the apparition of angel Gabriel to Marie, the travel of the Three Kings to site of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Max et Lili fêtent Noël en famille by Dominique de Saint-Mars (author) & Serge Bloch (illustrator)

Discover the holidays with Max, Lili and their family. In order to get the gifts of their dreams, Max and Lili become the perfect children in front of their parents; a story many children (and parents) can relate to!

Quand je serai grand je serai le père Noël by Grégoire Solotareff

On a cold winter day, a young boy named Noël walks around the forest near his house when suddenly, his pace easing, the boy comes to a stop in front of a big red bag where a mysterious letter awaits him.

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