Carrot Top


Poil de carotte (Carrot Top) is a collection of short scenes that recount the daily life of a young redheaded boy whose mother continually humiliates and teases him, to which his other family members remain indifferent. This maternal hostility, the source of which the author does not explain, sometimes causes Carrot Top to be cruel (especially towards animals), as he cannot express his desire for love and recognition and lives a life of loneliness and bitterness. The tone of the novel is short, sharp, and sometimes ironic. There is no structured narration and the characters and situations do not evolve. Rather, a series of scenes illustrate moments, create an atmosphere, and depict the daily life of a family in the countryside. The author, Jules Renard (1864−1910), explained that his novel could “easily be shortened or lengthened.” It was first published in 1894, along with 43 short stories (some of which already had been published in 1890). The 1902 edition, presented here, is the final edition. It was illustrated by Félix Valloton (1865−1925) and includes five additional stories as well as the Album de Poil-de-Carotte (Carrot Top album). Renard adapted his story into a play in 1900. The book became a classic of French literature and Carrot Top the emblem of the child who is unloved although not physically abused.

Date Created

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Publication Information

E. Flammarion, Paris


Title in Original Language

Poil de carotte


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Physical Description

326 pages ; 19.5 centimeters

Last updated: January 8, 2018