Categorie archief: Boekverslag

Penguin Island

The book about Human Nature, as experienced by Penguins

“As the great writer of Alca has said, the life of a people is a tissue of crime, wretchedness, and folly. Penguinia did not differ in this respect from other nations; nevertheless, its history contains some admirable sections upon which I hope that I have cast much fresh light”.

This piece of writing from the preface of Anatole France’s book Penguin Island fairly summarises the underlying message of the satirical story: people are bad, and they are bad because they are people. The story is about Penguin Island, inhabited by penguins that were transformed into humans. Their history satirically resembles that of France, or more broadly, Western Europe. Almost everything is ridiculed in the book written like a 18th or 19th century history book: from conservatism and progress to capitalism and socialism, and from law and custom to philosophy and theology; but also romance, revolution, history and even the future do not escape France’s critical view.

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