Books: France's France

ANATOLE FRANCE—Edwin Preston Dargan—Oxford University Press ($5).

When Anatole France (Jacques-Anatole-François Thibault) died in 1924, the younger generation of French writers swarmed to the scene with strong antiseptic criticism intended to fumigate the world of his reputation as the equal of Montaigne, Rabelais, Renan, Voltaire. Most contemporary writing about him has reflected this opinion. With the possible exception of Proust the most-written-about French writer of the last century, Anatole France has not yet been the subject of a definitive English biography. Why biographers have been scared away may be surmised...

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