Page:EB1911 - Volume 10.djvu/796

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FRANCAVILLA FONTANA—FRANCE 775

author of The Modern Cook (1845), which has since been frequently republished; of a Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes (1861), and of The Royal English and Foreign Confectionery Book (1862). Francatelli died at Eastbourne on the 10th of August 1876.

FRANCAVILLA FONTANA, a town and episcopal see of Apulia, Italy, in the province of Lecce, 22 m. by rail F.. by N. of Taranto, 460 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 17,759 (town); 20,510 (commune). It is'in a fine situation, and has a massive square castle of the Umperiali family, to whom, with Oria, it was sold by S. Carlo Borromeo in the 16th century for 40,000 ounces of gold, which he distributed in one day to the poor. FRANCE, ANATOLE (1844-), French critic, essayist and novelist (whose real name was Jacques Anatole Thibault), was born in Paris on the 16th of April 1844. His father was a bookseller, one of the last of the booksellers, if we are to believe the Goncourts, into whose establishment men came, not merely to order and buy, but to dip, and turn over pages and discuss. As a child he used to listen to the nightly talks on literary subjects which took place in his father's shop. N urtured in an atmosphere so essentially bookish, he turned naturally to literature. In 1868 his first work appeared, a study of Alfred de Vigny, followed in 1873 by a volume of verse, Les Poémes dorés, dedicated to Leconte de Lisle, and, as such a dedication suggests, an outcome of the “ Pamassian ” movement; and yet another volume of verse appeared in 1876, Les N oces corinthiennes. But the poems in these volumes, though unmistakably the work of a man of great literary skill and cultured taste, are scarcely the poems of a man with whom verse is the highest form of expression. He was to find his richest vein in prose. He himself, avowing his preference for a simple, or seemingly simple, style as compared with the artistic style, vaunted by the Goncourts-a style compounded of neologisms and “ rare ” epithets, and startling forms of expression+observes: “ A simple style is like white light. It is complex, but not to outward seeming. In language, a beautiful and desirable simplicity is but an appearance, and results only from the good order and sovereign economy of the various parts of speech.” And thus one may say of his own style that its beautiful translucency is the result of many qualities felicity, grace, the harmonious grouping of words, a perfect measure. Anatole France is a sceptic. The essence of his philosophy, if a spirit so light; evanescent, elusive, can be said to have a philosophy, is doubt. He is a doubter in religion, metaphysics, morals, politics, aesthetics, science-a most genial and kindly doubter, and not at all without doubts even as to his own negative conclusions. Sometimes his doubts are expressed in his own person-as in the Jardin d'épicure (1894) from which the above extracts are taken, or Le Livre de mon ami (1885), which may be accepted, perhaps, as partly autobiographical; sometimes, as in La Rotisserie de la reine Pédauque (1893) and Les Opinions de M. Jerome Coignard (1893), or L'Orme du mail (1897), Le Mannequin d'osier (1897), L'/lnneau d'améthyste (1899), and M. Bergcret a Paris (1901), he entrusts the expression of his opinions, dramatically, to some fictitious character-the abbé Coignard, for instance, projecting, as it were, from the 18th century some very elective criticisms on the popular political theories of contemporary France-or the M. Bergeret of the four last-named novels, which were published with the collective title of Histoire conlemporaine. This series deals with some modern problems, and particularly, in L'./lnneau d'améthyste and M. Bergerct a Paris, with the humours and follies of the anti-Dreyfusards. All this makes a piquant combination. Neither should reference be omitted to his Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard (1881), crowned by the Institute, nor to works more distinctly of fancy, such as Balthasar (1889), the story of one of the Magi or Thais (1890), the story of an actress and courtesan of Alexandria, whom a hermit converts, but with the loss of his own soul. His ironic comedy, Crainquebille (Renaissance theatre, 1903), was founded on his novel (1902) of the same year. His more recent work includes his anti-clerical Vie de Jeanne d'Arc (1908); his pungent satire the Ile des penguins (1908); and a volume of stories, Lcs S C/11 F cmmcs dc Ia Barbo~»BIc-ue~(1909). Lightly as he bears his erudition, it is very real and extensive, and is notably shown in his utilization of modern archaeological and historical research in his fiction (as in the stories in Surune pierre blanche). As a critic-see the Vie littéraire (1888-1892), V reprinted mainly from Le T emps-he is graceful and appreciative. Academic in the best sense, he found a place in the French Academy, taking the seat vacated by Lesseps, and was received into that body on the 24th of December 1896. In the ajaire Dreyfus he sided with M. Zola.

For studies of M. Anatole France's talent see Maurice Barres, Anatole France (1885); Jules Lemaitre, Les Contemporains (znd series, 1886); and G. Brandes, Anatole France (1908). In 1908 Frederic Chapman began an edition of The works of Anatole France in an English translation (John Lane).

FRANCE, a country of western Europe, situated between 51° 5' and 42° 20' N., and 4° 42' W. and 7° 39' E. It is hexagonal in form, being bounded N.W. by the North Sea, the Strait of Dover (Pas de Calais) and the English Channel (La Manche), W. by the Atlantic Ocean, S.W. by Spain, S.E. by the Mediterranean Sea, E. by Italy, Switzerland and Germany, N.E. by Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium. From north to south its length is about 600 m., measured from Dunkirk to the Col de Falguéres; its breadth from east to west is 528 m., from the Vosges to Cape Saint Mathieu at the extremity of Brittany. The total area is estimated* at 207,170 sq. m., including the island of Corsica, which comprises 3367 sq. m. The coast-line of France extends for 384 m. on the Mediterranean, 700 on the North Sea, the Strait of Dover and the Channel, and 865 on the Atlantic. The country has the advantage of being separated from its neighbours over the greater part of its frontier by natural barriers of great strength, the Pyrenees forming a powerful bulwark on the south-west, the Alps on the south-east, and the Jura and the greater portion of the Vosges Mountains on the east. The frontier generally follows the crest line of these ranges. Germany possesses both slopes of the Vosges north of Mont Donon, from which point the north-east boundary is conventional and unprotected by nature.

France is geographically remarkable for its possession of great natural and historical highways between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. The one, following the depression between the central plateau and the eastern mountains by way of the valleys of the Rhone and Saone, traverses the Cote d'Or hills and so gains the valley of the Seine; the other, skirting the southern base of the Cévennes, reaches the ocean by way of the Garonne valley. Another natural highway, traversing the lowlands to the west of the central plateau, unites the Seine basin with that of the Garonne.

Physiography.-A line drawn from Bayonne through Agen, Poitiers, Troyes, Reims and Valenciennes divides the country roughly i11to two dissimilar physical regions-to the west and north-west a country of plains and low plateaus; in the'centrc, east and south-east a country of mountains and high plateaus with a minimum elevation of 650 ft. To the west of this line the only highlands of importance are the granitic plateaus of Brittany and the hills of Normandy and Perche, which, uniting with the plateau of Beauce, separate the basins of the Seine and Loire. The highest elevations of these ranges do not exceed 1400 ft. 'The configuration of the region east of the dividing line is widely different. Its most striking feature is the mountainous and eruptive area known as the Massif Central, which covers south-central France. The central point of this huge tract is formed by the mountains of Auvergne comprising the group of Cantal, where the Plomb du Cantal attains 6096 ft., and that of Mont Dore, containing the Puy de Sancy (6188 ft.), the culminating point of the Massif, and to the north the lesser elevations of the Monts Dome. On the west the downward slope is gradual by way of lofty plateaus to the heights of Limousin and Marche and the table-land of Quercy, thence to the plains of Poitou, Angoumois and Guienne. On the east only river valleys divide the Auvergne mountains from those of Forez and Margeride, western spurs of the Cévennes. On the south the Aubrac mountains and the barren plateaus known as the Causses intervene between them and the Cévennes. The main range of the Cévennes (highest point Mont Lozere, 5584 ft.) sweeps in a wide curve from the granitic table-land of Morvan in the north along the right banks of the Saone and Rh6ne to the Montague Noire in the south, where it is separated from the Pyrenean system by the river Aude. 9 On the south-western border of France the Pyrenees include - ' By the Service géographique do Varméc. »