Our heritage


For nearly 200 years, our imprints have published masterpieces that have left their mark on global book market. This exceptional heritage is a model and benchmark for the Group and its employees.


Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert

With this “entirely impersonal” book, as famed critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve put it, Gustave Flaubert invented the “modern” novel. The fruit of five years of work, Madame Bovary relates the romantic fantasies and frustrations of a woman who is unable to escape her life as a provincial doctor’s wife. Published serially in 1856, this “ode to adultery” as French prosecutor Ernest Pinard described it, provoked a major scandal. Put on trial for penning such an “affront to common decency and morality,” Flaubert was acquitted. Though it was an instant bestseller, Madame Bovary was sidelined for a time by the rise of symbolism and naturalism. In the 20th century it became a universal classic.


Les petites filles modèles

La Comtesse de Ségur

The second volume in the Fleurville Trilogy, following Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie’s Misfortunes) but before Les Vacances (The Holidays), Les Petites Filles modèles (Camille and Madeleine: A Tale of Two Perfect Little Girls) was published in 1858. In it, the Countess de Ségur relates the lives of two little girls whose certainties are shaken by the arrival of new friends Marguerite and Sophie. The novel, which reflects on the nature of good and evil, is also one of the first books to feature a little girl protagonist, preceding Cosette (1862) by Victor Hugo and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by de Lewis Carroll.


On the origin of species

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin began taking notes on his intuitive understanding of evolution in 1837, upon his return from a trip to South America, Australia and Africa. The imminent publication of a rival essay forced Darwin to condense the 20 years of observation, research and theorization, which he had planned to turn into a comprehensive work, into a short book. With its publication in 1859, he drove a wedge between science and religion. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life created a huge controversy but was also a major success that went to on to be seen as a watershed work.


Grand dictionnaire universel

Pierre Larousse

With the publication of the 17-volume Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle (The Great Universal Dictionary of the 19th Century), Pierre Larousse invented the encyclopaedic dictionary. The work – most of which he wrote himself in the last 11 years of his life – was the first to combine a dictionary of the French language with a dictionary of proper nouns, including long, encyclopaedic articles. The first volume was published in 1863. Pierre Larousse died 1875, before publication was complete.


Le Diable au corps

Raymond Radiguet

Partly autobiographical, Le Diable au corps (The Devil in the Flesh) describes the Great War through the eyes of a precocious teenager engaged in a passionate relationship with the wife of a soldier who is away fighting on the front. Certain the novel was worth the risk of shocking public opinion, Grasset published it in 1923, when the country was still grieving its dead and worshiping patriotic sacrifice as a cardinal value. Raymond Radiguet died of typhoid the same year, at the age of 20, amplifying his legendary aura.


Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant

Jean de Brunhoff

When Jean de Brunhoff published Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant (The Story of Babar), it became an instantn bestseller in France. An American publisher decided to publish the book in the United States, where it again met with resounding success. Jean de Brunhoff continued to create new adventures for Babar until his death in 1937. His son, Laurent de Brunhoff, has been writing new stories for the little elephant since 1946.


M. Gallet, décédé

Georges Simenon

Georges Simenon’s Commissaire Maigret stands out from other detectives thanks to both his methods and his personality. M. Gallet, décédé (The Death of Monsieur Gallet) is the first title featuring this quiet and secretive character who enjoys taking in the bustle of Parisian streets. Maigret is the sympathetic and solitary hero of 75 detective novels published between 1931 and 1972. Georges Simenon received high praise from Mauriac, Gide and Céline, undoubtedly because his books went beyond the crime genre to tackle the question of human destiny.


The Famous Five

Enid Blyton

The Famous Five tells the story of a group of four child detectives and their dog. The first title, Five on a Treasure Island , was published in 1942. English author Enid Blyton went on to write a total of 21 titles for the series. Upon her death in 1968, Julian, Richard, Ann, Georgina and Timmy continued their adventures under the pen of Claude Voilier, who added 24 new books to the series, which has been a favourite with generations of children since. In 2009, the first new title since 1985 was published: The Famous Five’s Survival Guide: includes the NEW Unsolved Mystery.



Stephenie Meyer

This unforgettable saga is the story of the passionate love affair between teenager Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen. Author Stephenie Meyer, who was a stay-at-home mom at the time she began writing, explains she got the idea for Twilight from a dream she had in 2003. When she woke up, though she’d never written before, Meyer got straight to work. A few months later, she had turned her dream into a novel. The saga includes five volumes: Twilight (2005), New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007), Breaking Dawn (2008) and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (2010), as well as a special 10th anniversary edition titled Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (2015). The saga remains wildly popular with teens and young adults across the globe, placing Stephenie Meyer alongside the likes of J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown, who also skyrocketed from total obscurity to global fame practically overnight. Selling over 155 million books worldwide in 49 languages, the Twilight saga was the number one global bestseller of the 2000s.


The Catcher in the Rye

J.D Salinger

J. D. Salinger (1919-2010) began publishing short fiction in The New Yorker in 1946. Five years later, he published his first novel, The Catcher in the Rye , the story of three days in the life of a 16-year-old boy in New York City. The novel, which has never been out of print, has captivated generations of readers worldwide. But it has also been banned regularly – “a favorite target of censors” since its publication, according to the American Library Association. J. D. Salinger also wrote Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour – An Introduction. In August 2019, Salinger’s publisher, Little, Brown, made available the first-ever digital edition of the author’s works.


The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

John Le Carré

When it was published in 1963, at the height of the Cold War, John le Carré’s novel was a political bombshell and a major literary event. It simultaneously revealed the methods of Western intelligence services to the public and elevated the spy novel genre to high prestige. Unlike James Bond, imagined 10 years earlier by Ian Fleming, le Carré’s spy lives in a realistic world where Good doesn’t necessarily triumph over Evil. In 2006, Publishers Weekly named The Spy Who Came in from the Cold the best spy novel of all time.



René Gosciny et Albert Uderzo

It all started in 1959. Authors René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo were under pressure. They had to create an original comic book series based on French culture for the first edition of Pilote magazine, which was scheduled to come out only a few weeks later. They combed through French history on the lookout for their hero. Suddenly they burst into laughter: Eureka! They settled on the Gaulish period. Astérix made his first appearance on 29 October 1959. Before long, all of Gaul came to life, full of occupying Romans, magic potion, uproarious puns and enigmatic Latin quotes. Today The Adventures of Astérix series is a publishing sensation with 380 million copies sold worldwide in 110 languages and dialects.



180 years ago, in 1842, Louis-Nicolas Bescherelle published his Dictionnaire des huit mille verbes usuels de la langue française (Dictionary of 8,000 Common French Verbs). It was only the first in a long list of works on the French language which has made Bescherelle a cherished reference publisher for schoolchildren and their parents. Today, many people still reflexively reach for their Bescherelle to refresh forgotten grammatical rules in their memories, correct their conjugation mistakes, or perfect their French. But now Bescherelle is a whole world the reaches far beyond the field of language.



Founded in 1946 by teachers Edouard and Odette Bled, the Bled collection quickly became a major success thanks to the quality of its content and spelling exercises with answer keys. Popular with teachers, the practical and comprehensive reference guides proved themselves time and again with generations of pupils before expanding to target a wider audience, including adults. The collection slowly but surely grew to include volumes in fields beyond the French language (maths, foreign languages, reading, History, etc.). Today it comprises over 40 titles.