Penguin Island cover

Penguin Island

Anatole France (1844-1924)

1. 01 Bk1 Ch1 – Life of Saint Mael
2. 02 Bk1 Ch2 – The Apostolical Vocation of Saint Mael
3. 03 Bk1 Ch3 – The Temptation of Saint Mael
4. 04 Bk1 Ch4 – Saint Mael’s Navigation on the Ocean of Ice
5. 05 Bk1 Ch5 – The Baptism of the Penguins
6. 06 Bk1 Ch6 – An Assembly in Paradise
7. 07 Bk1 Ch7 – An Assembly in Paradise (Continuation and End)
8. 08 Bk1 Ch8 – Metamorphosis of the Penguins
9. 09 Bk2 Ch1 – The First Clothes
10. 10 Bk2 Ch2 – The First Clothes (Continuation and End)
11. 11 Bk2 Ch3 – Setting Bounds to the Fields and the Origin of Property
12. 12 Bk2 Ch4 – The First Assembly of the Estates of Penguinia
13. 13 Bk2 Ch5 – The Marriage of Kraken and Orberosia
14. 14 Bk2 Ch6 – The Dragon of Alca
15. 15 Bk2 Ch7 – The Dragon of Alca (Continuation)
16. 16 Bk2 Ch8 – The Dragon of Alca (Continuation)
17. 17 Bk2 Ch9 – The Dragon of Alca (Continuation)
18. 18 Bk2 Ch10 – The Dragon of Alca (Continuation)
19. 19 Bk2 Ch11 – The Dragon of Alca (Continuation)
20. 20 Bk2 Ch12 – The Dragon of Alca (Continuation)
21. 21 Bk2 Ch13 – The Dragon of Alca (Continuation and End)
22. 22 Bk3 Ch1 – Brian the Good and Queen Glamorgan
23. 23 Bk3 Ch2 – Draco the Great (Translation of the the Relics of St. Orberosia)
24. 24 Bk3 Ch3 – Queen Crucha
25. 25 Bk3 Ch4 – Letters: Johannes Talpa
26. 26 Bk3 Ch5 – The Primitives of Penguin Painting
27. 27 Bk3 Ch6 – Marbodius
28. 28 Bk3 Ch7 – Signs in the Moon
29. 29 Bk4 Ch1 – Modern Times: Trinco
30. 30 Bk4 Ch2 – Trinco
31. 31 Bk4 Ch3 – The Journey of Doctor Obnubile
32. 32 Bk5 Ch1 – The Reverend Fathers Agaric and Cornemuse
33. 33 Bk5 Ch2 – Prince Crucho
34. 34 Bk5 Ch3 – The Cabal
35. 35 Bk5 Ch4 – Viscountess Olive
36. 36 Bk5 Ch5 – The Prince des Boscenos
37. 37 Bk5 Ch6 – The Emiral’s Fall
38. 38 Bk5 Ch7 – Conclusion
39. 39 Bk6 Ch1 – General Greatauk, Duke of Skull
40. 40 Bk6 Ch2 – Pyrot
41. 41 Bk6 Ch3 – Count de Maubec de la Dentulynx
42. 42 Bk6 Ch4 – Columban
43. 43 Bk6 Ch5 – The Reverand Fathers Agaric and Cornemuse
44. 44 Bk6 Ch6 – The Seven Hundred Pyrotists
45. 45 Bk6 Ch7 – Bidault-Coquille and Maniflore, The Socialists
46. 46 Bk6 Ch8 – The Columban Trial
47. 47 Bk6 Ch9 – Father Douillard
48. 48 Bk6 Ch10 – Mr. Justice Chaussepied
49. 49 Bk6 Ch11 – Conclusion
50. 50 Bk7 Ch1 – Madame Clarence’s Drawing Room
51. 51 Bk7 Ch2 – The Charity of Saint Orberosia
52. 52 Bk7 Ch3 – Hippolyte Ceres
53. 53 Bk7 Ch4 – A Politician’s Marriage
54. 54 Bk7 Ch5 – The Visire Cabinet
55. 55 Bk7 Ch6 – The Sofa of the Favourite
56. 56 Bk7 Ch7 – The First Consequences
57. 57 Bk7 Ch8 – Further Consequences
58. 58 Bk7 Ch9 – The Final Consequences
59. 59 Bk8 – The Endless History and Section One
60. 60 Bk8 – Section 2
61. 61 Bk8 – Section 3
62. 62 Bk8 – Section 4

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An old monk is tricked by the Devil into undertaking a voyage to a remote island to save the souls of thousands who live there. He arrives on the island which is actually a desolate one, inhabited only by colonies of millions of penguins. The old monk whose eyesight and hearing are almost nonexistent, mistakes them for humans and begins baptizing them. In Heaven, God finds Himself in a dilemma; the old monk's unwavering faith compels him to regard the baptisms as genuine. However, in Christian theology, only humans have souls – hence God is forced to grant the thousands of newly baptized penguins with souls! This is the beginning of their journey into “civilization.” They form communities, governments, elect their representatives, have social norms, wage wars and generally do whatever “civilized” people do. What happens to this bizarre community forms the rest of the plot of this very interesting and amusing satire. Penguin Island by Anatole France was published in 1908 under the original French title, L'Ile des Pingouins. Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault was a French essayist, poet, novelist and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921 and was also a member of the Academie Francaise. His work is characterized by its quintessential Gallic atmosphere, ironical and whimsical viewpoint and profound humanity. Some of his concerns are reflected in this scathing satire on the human race. Anatole France was deeply moved and directly involved in events like the infamous Dreyfus Affair which was a terrible miscarriage of justice in which a man was condemned purely on the basis of his race. Penguin Island mirrors the history of humanity, its greed, lust for power, the oppressive authority of institutions like the Church and the State and the overwhelming power of the military, the ineptness of the justice system and the venal nature of politics. As modern readers, we are amazed that such a vitriolic attack on each and every institution could have gone uncensored or unpunished. Laced with France's brand of caustic humor, there are several amusing passages in the book. The History of Penguinia is indeed a reflection of the history of France and many other countries in the world. Anatole France was greatly admired by George Orwell, whose own satire Animal Farm mocked the emergence of Communism. An extremely prolific writer, Anatole France produced more than thirty works of fiction, several volumes of poetry, works of literary and social criticism, memoirs and biographies, plays and works of historical fiction. Contemporary critics wildly differed in their opinions of his work, but ultimately, he remains a socially-aware observer of the foibles of human beings.