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French Literature Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
French Literature Quizzes, Trivia

French Literature Trivia

French Literature Trivia Quizzes

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These quizzes cover a variety of French authors. If you are interested in quizzes about the writing of a specific author, please look for them under the author's name.
9 French Literature quizzes and 100 French Literature trivia questions.
  French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Between 1901 and 2000, no less than 13 French authors won the Nobel Prize in Literature. And then there were also two others who wrote in French. What do you know about these great writers?
Average, 10 Qns, JanIQ, Jun 19 19
JanIQ gold member
Jun 19 19
357 plays
  French Literature 842 - 1980 editor best quiz   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 20 Qns
When I took some of the quizzes in the "Literature by Region" sub-category, I was surprised to see that there was very little material on French literature. So I've tried to produce a quiz, if only to encourage someone else to do better.
Tough, 20 Qns, TabbyTom, Jun 27 07
TabbyTom gold member
2270 plays
  Old French Literature    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz will test your knowledge of medieval French literature from the 11th to 14th century.
Average, 10 Qns, tigasrule, Oct 27 15
407 plays
  18th Century French Literature    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Rousseau et al. Ten multiple choice questions on eighteenth century French literature.
Average, 10 Qns, scotspanlit, Dec 13 23
Dec 13 23
916 plays
  (More or Less) Basic French Poetry    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I hope you will enjoy and learn things with this quiz about French poetry!
Average, 10 Qns, Quiterie, Jun 04 17
816 plays
  French Literature    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Some questions about French authors and their works.
Average, 10 Qns, swisspower, Jan 02 16
2872 plays
  Famous French Novels    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
If you're a bit familiar with French prose, you will probably enjoy this quiz.
Tough, 10 Qns, queenofsheba, May 26 14
1480 plays
  French Poetry : 1900-1950    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
A few highlights about poets and poetry in France in the first half of the 20th century, about people and art struggling to survive two World Wars.
Average, 10 Qns, alpinesquill, Jul 06 14
alpinesquill gold member
348 plays
  Placenames In French Literature    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Some authors choose a specific town or area as a recurrent theme in their works.In other cases 'where they are from' has a clear link with 'what they write about'.See if you can find those links in this quiz.
Tough, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Apr 27 21
Apr 27 21
959 plays
trivia question Quick Question
Denis Diderot`s "Lettre sur les aveugles" refers to English mathematician Nicholas Saunderson. What condition of Saunderson did he refer to?

From Quiz "18th Century French Literature"

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French Literature Trivia Questions

1. Who was the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature?

From Quiz
French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Answer: René François Sully Prudhomme

Sully Prudhomme (1839-1907) debuted with the poetry collection "Stances et poèmes" ("Stanzas and Poems") in 1865. This collection contains his best known poem: "La vase brisée", about a flower vase with a tiny crack . As the water leaks away drip by drip, the flower in the vase withers. Sully Prudhomme compares this vase with a broken heart inflicted by a tiny action. In 1896 Sully Prudhomme published "Que sais-je?" ("What Do I Know?"), a compact treatise of his philosophy. After receiving the Nobel Prize, Sully Prudhomme spent most of it to found a French poetry prize. De Maupassant (1850-1893) wrote at least 238 short stories. Sand (born Amandine Lucile Dupin, 1804-1876) is known as Chopin's mistress, but also as the author of over fifty novels and a dozen theatre plays. Jules de Goncourt (1830-1870) and his brother Edmond (1822-1896) have given their name to the most prestigious French literature prize. As these people were already dead before the short list for the first winners was made, they were not eligible for the Nobel Prize.

2. What was the name of the politician Victor Hugo supported at first, but against whom he later wrote a collection of poems?

From Quiz (More or Less) Basic French Poetry

Answer: Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon III)

Victor Hugo was a deputy of the 2nd Republic in 1848. He supported the president Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. When the latter nominated himself "emperor" (he became Napoleon III), Hugo didn't appreciate this change of regime (which wasn't very democratic...). He went to live in exile and began his campaign against the emperor. His collection of poems "Les Châtiments" (the punishments), which targeted the 2nd Empire, was written during his exile.

3. Which kind of texts does the novel "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" by Choderlos de Laclos exclusively contain?

From Quiz Famous French Novels

Answer: letters

It's an epistolary novel, which was very popular in the 18th century.

4. The eighteenth century is often called the Age of Enlightenment. What event is generally considered to have virtually brought it to an end?

From Quiz 18th Century French Literature

Answer: The French Revolution-1789

The term "eighteenth century French Literature" within the Age of Enlightenment, can be used to describe the period between the death of Louis XIV in 1715 and the French Revolution in 1789. Some consider it to extend to the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.

5. It may not be a literary work in the strict sense of the word, but what is generally regarded as the first piece of writing in French?

From Quiz French Literature 842 - 1980

Answer: The Strasbourg Oaths

These oaths of mutual support were sworn in 842 by Louis the German and Charles the Bald, who were at war with their brother Lothair for the throne. Beginning "Pro deo amur et pro christian poblo et nostro commun salvament",("for the love of God and for the common salvation of the Christian people and ourselves"), they are of obvious linguistic interest.

6. What's the first name of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary?

From Quiz French Literature

Answer: Emma

"Madame Bovary" is one of Flaubert's most famous novels.

7. Which Norman seaside-resort was described as BALBEC in Marcel Proust's 'Remembrance of Past Time'?

From Quiz Placenames In French Literature

Answer: Cabourg

Bayeux is not exactly a seaside resort but the little town where the famous Tapestry describing the Battle of Hastings can be seen. Proust was born at Auteuil (1871) and died in Paris (1922).

8. The second French winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature was Frédéric Mistral. In which (non-official) language related to French did he write poetry?

From Quiz French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Answer: Occitan

Mistral (1830-1914) studied law and the history of his home region, the Provence. He dedicated his life to revive the local language, the Occitan. This language (comprising the two main dialects Limousin and Provençal) has no written standard, although Mistral published a dictionary translating Occitan into French ("Lou Trésor do Febrilige", 1878-1886, where Febrilige is a literary and cultural association for the benefit of the Occitans). Mistral's best known work, other than the aforesaid dictionary, is the long poem "Mireio" (1859) about the impossible love between Vincent and Mireille, two youngsters from different social classes. Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, the Literature Prize is usually attributed to a single winner. However, Mistral had to share his prize with the Spanish José Echegaray (1832-1916). Romanian and Portuguese are official languages of the Romance language family. Basque is a language of its own, not related to any of the surrounding Romance languages.

9. "La Chanson de Roland" ("The Song of Roland") is the eldest and most famous French epic tale. What happened to Roland, the leader of Charlemagne's rear-guard?

From Quiz Old French Literature

Answer: He met his death in battle because of the traitor Ganelon

"The Song of Roland" is a "chanson de geste", an epic poem celebrating heroic deeds. It was written around 1100 and is based on the historical battle of Roncevaux Pass (778), where King Charlemagne's troops were attacked by Basques. In the poem, the enemy became Saracens (Muslims), which gives the episode the tone of a crusade. Because of his old grudge against his stepson Roland, Ganelon betrays the secret of the army's passage through a mountain pass to the enemy. Roland realizes he has been set up to die, yet refuses to sound his horn to ask for reinforcement until it is too late. He bravely accepts his fate and dies saving his honour, for his king and for Christendom, after promising his soldiers a place in paradise as martyrs.

10. Finish the famous sentence "Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne..." :

From Quiz (More or Less) Basic French Poetry

Answer: blessent mon coeur d'une langueur monotone.

"Les sanglots longs / des violons / de l'automne / blessent mon coeur / d'une langueur / monotone." This is the first stanza of the poem "Chanson d'automne" from "Poèmes saturniens", written by Paul Verlaine (19th century). I suppose you have immediately recognized the code sentence used during WWII, to inform the Resistance of the imminence of the Normandy landings ("Débarquement") and the beginning of the operations.

11. Marquis de Sade wrote a parody on "Pamela or Virtue Rewarded" by Samuel Richardson. Which name is in the title?

From Quiz Famous French Novels

Answer: Justine

The title is: "Justine ou Les Malheurs de la vertu", meaning: "Justine or the Unhappiness of Virtue".

12. Who was the most prominent of the French Encyclopaedists?

From Quiz 18th Century French Literature

Answer: Denis Diderot

Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was a french philosopher and writer. He was the chief editor of the "L'Encyclopédie", one of the most important literary works of the Age of Enlightenment. He spent 26 years of his life on this work. With 17 volumes of text and 11 of illustrations, the Encyclopaedia presented a summary of human learning in one work. It challenged all aspects of French authority including that of the Roman Catholic Church.

13. Which celebrated medieval poem is the work of the Norman poet Béroul?

From Quiz French Literature 842 - 1980

Answer: Le Roman de Tristan

Béroul's is not the first treatment of the legend of Tristan and Iseult, but it is undoubtedly one of the greatest.

14. Who created the character of Etienne Lantier?

From Quiz French Literature

Answer: Emile Zola

Lantier is the hero of "Germinal", a novel telling about the hard conditions of workers at the mines during the 19th century

15. Marie de France wrote a short poem about Tristan and Iseult, the legendary star-crossed lovers, called the "Lai du Chevrefoil" ("Lay of the Honeysuckle"). What role does the honeysuckle play in the story?

From Quiz Old French Literature

Answer: It is a message from Tristan asking to meet Iseult for a tryst

Marie de France was a noblewoman who lived at the court of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. She wrote lays based on songs sung by Breton musicians. They are tales of love which often include fantastic events, such as shape-shifters and talking animals. The "Lay of the Honeysuckle" recounts an episode of Tristan and Iseult's passionate love story. One day when they are apart, Tristan leaves on the path of his lover a bough of hazel intertwined with honeysuckle, with his name carved on it, as a symbol that they cannot be separated. "I would die without you and you would die without me", so intertwined are their fates. Iseult correctly interprets the sign and meets Tristan secretly.

16. In "Le Rouge et le Noir" by Stendhal, Julien Sorel hides a secret portrait in his bed. Who's on it?

From Quiz Famous French Novels

Answer: Napoleon Bonaparte

He was a republican, but had to keep that secret in order not to lose his job. The novel takes place in 1830, during the French Restoration.

17. Who wrote the novella "Candide"?

From Quiz 18th Century French Literature

Answer: Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire wrote the satirical short novel "Candide" in 1759. It is one of his most famous works.

18. Who wrote "La Comédie Humaine"?

From Quiz French Literature

Answer: Honoré de Balzac

"La Comédie Humaine" is a big collection of several novels, painting French society.

19. Near Macon in Burgundy there is a little village called Milly that became famous because of the poet who lived there. What is the present name of the village?

From Quiz Placenames In French Literature

Answer: Milly-Lamartine

Verlaine was born in Metz in 1844 and died in Paris 1896. Rimbaud was born in Charleville 1854 and died in Marseille 1891. Hugo was born in Besancon 1802 and died in Paris 1885. Lamartine was born at Macon 1790 and died in Paris in 1869. A large part of his life was spent at Milly.

20. In 1921 the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to a novelist who chose as pseudonym the name of his country. His first novel was "Jocaste et le chat maigre" ("Jocasta and the Famished Cat"). What surname did he use?

From Quiz French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Answer: France

François-Anatole Thibault (1844-1924) started his career as a journalist. When he turned to writing novels, he chose the pseudonym Anatole France. Those of you who paid attention to the quiz title will probably had no trouble picking the correct country: this quiz is all about *French* winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Anatole France published more than twenty novels, four theatre plays, a biography ("Vie de Jeanne d'Arc", 1908), literary and social criticism and some poetry. His novels were characterized by sarcasm, pointed (among others) at the Catholic Church. This explains that his entire oeuvre was put on the "index", and France was very proud of this ecclesiastical ban on his works. One of Anatole France's masterpieces was "La révolte des anges" ("The Revolt of the Angels", 1914), in which he described the story of Arcade, a guardian angel of a bishop who was truly without sin. The guardian angel became weary of his job, embraced atheism, lost his virginity and revolted against God - only to find out replacing God with the devil would not satisfy his aim to be free.

21. Honoré de Balzac wrote a cycle of novels called "La Comédie Humaine" (The Human Comedy). How many parts does it contain?

From Quiz Famous French Novels

Answer: about 100

There are different figures given, since this is not an official publication, but a description of the way in which he wrote around 100 novels and short story collections using intertwined characters and events. There are also a number of essays and incomplete fragments that some include in their total number.

22. Denis Diderot`s "Lettre sur les aveugles" refers to English mathematician Nicholas Saunderson. What condition of Saunderson did he refer to?

From Quiz 18th Century French Literature

Answer: That he was blind

Diderot´s philosophical writings include his "Pensées philosophiques" ("Philosophical Thoughts") (1746) and "Lettre sur les aveugles" ("Letter on the Blind") (1749). Saunderson´s blindness is used to define the image of light for eighteenth century thinkers as a metaphor for knowledge.

23. In the works of François Rabelais, what is the name of the giant who is the son of Grandgousier and the father of Pantagruel?

From Quiz French Literature 842 - 1980

Answer: Gargantua

"Gargantua" was published after "Pantagruel", though it precedes it in the chronological order of the story. Gargamelle is Gargantua's mother, Picrochole is a neighbour with whom he goes to war, and Alcofribas Nasier is the pseudonym (an anagram of Rabelais' own name) under which the book was published.

24. Who is the most famous Romantic French author?

From Quiz French Literature

Answer: Victor Hugo & Hugo

He probably is the most famous French author ever.

25. Francois Auguste Rene de Chateaubriand had his residence in the Castle of Combourg. Where in France is that castle?

From Quiz Placenames In French Literature

Answer: Brittany

More information on Combourg at

26. Which French philosopher won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927? One of his main publications was "L'évolution créatrice" ("Creative Evolution").

From Quiz French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Answer: Henri Bergson

Henri-Louis Bergson (1859-1941) was a French philosopher who lived in London up till he was nine. He studied literature and philosophy, although he was also gifted in sciences. Bergson's major publications were "Essais sur les données immédiates de la conscience" (1889, translated as "Time and Free Will") ; "Matière et mémoire" (1896, "Matter and Memory"); "L'évolution créatrice" (1907, "Creative Evolution") and "Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion" (1932, "The Two Sources of Morality and Religion"). In Bergson's time, philosophy was quite deterministic: all events were predetermined by the mechanics of previous events. Bergson made room for the free will in his philosophy, and for the creativity influenced by experience. He also asserted that pure reasoning is not good enough: for instance pure reasoning by a walking man will never teach him how to swim, for it is a totally different kind of movement. Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was an Austrian (later British) philosopher. Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher. Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher.

27. What is the name of the foremost writer of courtly romances, who wrote about Yvain and Perceval, and originated the character of Lancelot?

From Quiz Old French Literature

Answer: Chretien de Troyes

Chrétien de Troyes lived in the 12th century and was a poet at the court of the Count and Countess of Champagne. He invented the courtly romance. Some of his works are lost, including his version of Tristan and Iseult. His knights go on a quest for glory and adventure, fight magicians and unknown knights, rescue damsels in distress, and face all sorts of trials before finally proving their worth. Chrétien was extremely successful as a writer, and he has been often imitated in the century that followed, for instance by the German writers Wolfram von Eschenbach, who wrote a "Parzifal", adapted from "The Story of the Grail", and Hartmann von Aue, who authored an "Erec" and an "Iwein."

28. Emile Zola wrote "Thérèse Raquin". How does her lover kill her first husband?

From Quiz Famous French Novels

Answer: by drowning him in the Seine

Afterwards, the murderer has to identify the corpse.

29. Who wrote "Émile; Ou De L'Education" in 1762?

From Quiz 18th Century French Literature

Answer: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78). A philosopher and political theorist and a member of Diderot's circle, he was one of the great figures of the French enlightenment and re-wrote the laws for educating children of both sexes. He was one of the most significant thinkers to shape post French Revolution thinking.

30. Generally regarded as the leading poet of the school known as the Pléiade, this man is perhaps best remembered for the poem "À Cassandre", beginning "Mignonne, allons voir si la rose". Who was he?

From Quiz French Literature 842 - 1980

Answer: Pierre Ronsard

The other poets mentioned were also members of the Pléiade. The name was taken from the name given to a group of seven Greek tragic poets in Alexandria in the third century BC: this is turn was of course inspired by the group of seven stars in the constellation Taurus.

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