Critical Evaluation

(Essentials of European Literature)

Anatole France was a revolutionary. Opposed to the Church and the state, he wrote many bitter novels ridiculing those institutions. THE REVOLT OF THE ANGELS is one of the most abusive satires of this century. In this satire, France attacked almost every established institution in the world, but in his desire to ridicule he often sacrificed sincerity and thus effectiveness. His greatest personal conviction, as reflected in this satire, was his love for and his faith in the little people of the world. This factor is the greatest positive quality of the novel.

Style is of primary importance in the satires of France, and THE REVOLT OF THE ANGELS is no exception. The brilliance of the style is continually dazzling, the crisp, ironic prose setting forth without comment the absurdities of the plot. At the same time, the novel is rich with witty conversations and lengthy and clever philosophical debates. The surface of the novel glitters, but beneath it lies the fundamentally serious nature of the work. One character in THE REVOLT OF THE ANGELS states that realities in the world are but appearances, and Anatole France deliberately deceives the reader, confusing both reality and appearance in this book. The realistic details so carefully described in the narrative lend verisimilitude and plausibility to the essential fantasy of the story.

The book is filled with delightful comic characters, such as the absurd detective Mignon...

(The entire section is 513 words.)