But ever since the war, says Hugh Schofield, reporting for the BBC, few French authors are read in the English speaking world.
Why is that?
And why, furthermore, have so many English language authors attracted huge followings in France?
Is it a question of quality - or of marketing?
Could it be, asks Schofield, that recent French novels simply aren't that appealing?
Or is it rather a problem of economic organization? Small book shops in French are both protected and prohibited from discounting books.
How to compete? Prices can't be changed. Book covers are stark. And there is little genre fiction.
Some, like Douglas Kennedy, blame the post war love affaire with the nouveau roman.
What do you think?
For full article read Why Don't French Books Sell Abroad by Hugh Schofield BBC World News