French poets, authors and literary figures

French authors and poets have had a very significant role in the development of western literature, above all during the romantic period of the 19th century, and several French authors are standards when studying classical literature.

The importance of French writing on the development of literature around the world, including the writers mentioned below and many others such as Emile Zola and Sartre should not be underestimated - starting with the 16th century French author Rabelais, writing in the 16th century in a style that still seems remarkably modern even by today's standards.

Read our articles about the individuals who wrote the most important works in French literature to learn a little about the great French poets and authors who have shaped the course of literature both within France and around the world:

French writers

The lives and works of some of the greatest and best known classical French writers:

  1. Balzac
  2. Proust
  3. Camus
  4. Victor Hugo

French poets

Biographies and introductions to some of the best loved French poets:

  1. Lamartine
  2. Baudelaire
  3. Verlaine
  4. Rimbaud
  5. Mallarmé

Perhaps because the French language has diminished in importance for the wealthy classes and gentry during the 20th century it is probably rather harder for a new French writer to become established on a 'world stage' (an issue that of course didn't affect the importance of French culture in the modern art that was emerging from France in the early 20th century).