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Quiz about French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature
Quiz about French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature

French Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature Quiz


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?

A multiple-choice quiz by JanIQ. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
JanIQ
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
395,416
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
359
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Gramercyplace (2/10), Guest 172 (8/10), Guest 76 (3/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Who was the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. 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? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Romain Rolland's oeuvre was quite impressive. Which of the following was *NOT* a historical-philosophical drama about the French Revolution? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. 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?

Answer: (One Word - Surname Only)
Question 5 of 10
5. Which French philosopher won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927? One of his main publications was "L'évolution créatrice" ("Creative Evolution"). Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. What is the title of Roger Martin du Gard's masterpiece? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Which French author took the Bible as inspiration for the title of some of his works, such as "Le retour de l'enfant prodigue" or "La porte étroite"? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Who is best known for his novel "Thérèse Desqueyroux", and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1952? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Which author, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957, created the character Meursault, who killed an Arab? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Who was the first French author who rejected the Nobel Prize, when it was awarded to him in 1964? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Who was the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in 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. 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?

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.
3. Romain Rolland's oeuvre was quite impressive. Which of the following was *NOT* a historical-philosophical drama about the French Revolution?

Answer: L'aube

Rolland (1866-1944) published at least 75 literary works of various styles: novels, essays, dramas, biographies... He had studied philosophy and history, and was very interested in music (especially early opera, the theme of his history doctoral thesis).
"L'aube" ("Dawn") was the first instalment in a cycle of ten novels about the life of Jean-Christophe Krafft, a (fictional) composer-musician who has ties with several European countries. Jean-Christophe was born in Germany from Belgian parents, lived and worked for a long time in France and fled to Switzerland after run-ins with the police and the justice department. Rolland commented that the novel would be more about emotions than about action, and that "Jean-Christophe has always seemed to me to flow like a river". Since Rolland used this expression in the preface to the seventh instalment, similar works (such as Proust's series) have been named "roman-fleuve".
The Nobel Prize was especially awarded to Rolland for his series "Jean-Christophe".

The other works I've mentioned, dealt with two of the leading figures of the French Revolution ("Georges Danton" and Maximilien "Robespierre") and with the date of the storming of the Bastille ("Le quatorze juillet", which title translates to "July 14th"). 
4. 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?

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

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.
6. What is the title of Roger Martin du Gard's masterpiece?

Answer: Les Thibault

Roger Martin du Gard (1881-1958) won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1937. He studied palaeography and archiving, thus training to be a librarian. Between 1922 and 1940 he published eight volumes of "Les Thibault", a family chronicle about the brothers Jacques and Antoine Thibault between 1904 and 1918. It was mainly the quality of this oeuvre that gained him the Nobel Prize.

The red herrings are famous Eighteenth-century books: "Candide" (1759) is by Voltaire, "Manon Lescaut" (1731) is by Abbé Prévost, and "Les liaisons dangereuses" (1782) is by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
7. Which French author took the Bible as inspiration for the title of some of his works, such as "Le retour de l'enfant prodigue" or "La porte étroite"?

Answer: André Gide

André Gide (1869-1951) was a prolific author. He wrote at least 15 novels and novellas, eight theatre plays, four autobiographic works, several works of art criticism, as well as some poetry collections.
"Le retour de l'enfant prodigue" (1907, "The Return of the Prodigal Son") is more or less the story following the Biblical parable of the prodigal son. What would have happened to the characters after the end of the parable?
"La porte étroite" (1909, "Strait is the Gate") thanks its title to Matthew 7:13-14. However, it is just the story of unrequited love.
Gide's first autobiography "Si le grain ne meurt" (1926, "If It Die") continues in this tradition. The title was taken from John 12:24: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." This first autobiography deals with Gide's youth, up till 1895 (his mother's death).
Gide won the Nobel Prize Literature in 1947.

Jensen (1873-1950) was a Danish author. Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) was Chilean. Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was a German. These three authors were the three Nobel Prize winners in Literature immediately before André Gide: Jensen in 1944, Mistral in 1945 and Hesse in 1946.
8. Who is best known for his novel "Thérèse Desqueyroux", and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1952?

Answer: François Mauriac

Mauriac (1885-1970) was a prolific writer. He left us 25 novels and novellas, four theatre plays and some poetry collections.
In "Thérèse Desqueyroux" (1927, translated as "Thérèse") he portrays a woman acquitted for the attempt to murder her husband Bernard. Bernard's most urgent concern is that their daughter Anne can marry without suffering from any scandal, so he keeps Thérèse out of sight with the hope of quelling any rumours. After Anne's wedding, Bernard and Thérèse separate without a divorce.

Leroux (1868-1927) is famous for "Le fantôme de l'opéra" ("Phantom of the Opera").
De Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944) will always be remembered for his children's book "Le petit prince" ("The Little Prince").
Céline (1894-1961, born Louis Ferdinand Destouches) gained fame with "Voyage au bout de la nuit" ("Journey to the End of the Night").
9. Which author, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957, created the character Meursault, who killed an Arab?

Answer: Albert Camus

Camus (1913-1960) was the only of these authors alive in 1957 and thus eligible for the Nobel Prize in Literature that year. In his first novel, "L'étranger" (1942), translated in the UK as "The Outsider" and in the US as "The Stranger", he introduced the character Meursault - a man who lives only in the moment. Meursault does not look back on the past (for instance, at the start of the book, he doesn't show any emotion at his mother's funeral) neither does he plan for the future.
The plot of "L'étranger" has several ramifications, all revolving around the character of Meursault. The main event is that Meursault helps his neighbour Raymond to dump Raymond's girlfriend from Moorish descent. Her friends and relatives persecute Raymond and Meursault, and on a hot day Meursault shoots one of the Arabs five times - although the first shot was already fatal. Meursault is condemned to death by guillotine, and he hopes for a large crowd to show at the execution, thus breaking his loneliness.
Camus wrote five novels (including also "La peste", translated as "The Plague") and six theatre plays (including "Caligula"), besides a number of essays and non-fiction books.

Dumas (1802-1870) created the characters D'Artagnan ("Les trois mousquetaires") and Edmond Dantès ("Le conte de Monte Cristo"). Hugo (1802-1885) is known for his books portraying Jean Valjean ("Les misérables") and Quasimodo ("Notre Dame de Paris"). Flaubert (1821-1880) introduced Emma Bovary ("Madame Bovary").
10. Who was the first French author who rejected the Nobel Prize, when it was awarded to him in 1964?

Answer: Jean-Paul Sartre

The Nobel Prize committee doesn't acknowledge anyone refusing a Nobel Prize. But in the Twentieth Century, two people declared that they rejected their Nobel Prize in Literature: the Russian author Boris Pasternak (because of the pressure his government exercised on him) and Jean-Paul Sartre (because he systematically rejected all honorary awards).
Sartre (1905-1980) started his writing career with the philosophical essay "L'Imagination" (1936). He left us over 20 theatre plays, more than 10 philosophical essays, more than 15 critical essays and some autobiographic material.
Highlights of Sartre's literary output are the philosophic essay "L'être et le néant" (1943, translated as "Being and Nothingness") and his theatre play "Huis Clos" (1944, translated as "No Exit"). "Huis Clos" portrays three characters locked into a (comfortable) room called Hell: Joseph, who committed adultery; Ines, who manipulated her beloved girl-friend into killing the girl-friend's husband; and Estelle, who killed her child and drove her lover to suicide. At one point Joseph utters the oft-quoted sentence "L'enfer, c'est les Autres" ("Hell is Other people").

Seferis (1900-1971), a Greek author, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1963. Sachs (1891-1970) was a German-Swedish author, one of the co-winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966. Kawabata (1899-1972) was Japanese. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968.
Source: Author JanIQ

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