Francois Mauriac started as a poet, publishing his first volume of verse in 1909. It is as a novelist, however, that he is most well known. Most of Mauriac's novels are set in his birthplace, Bordeaux. They reflect his classical culture and his meditation on the gospels and the Catholic contemplative writers. He is a moralist, presenting always the eternal conflict of the world and the flesh against Christian faith and charity. "Every one of his novels is a fresh attempt and an adventure into the unknown, though every one of them ends monotonously with the gift of grace that the novelist insists upon imparting to his sinners" (Henri Peyre). Mauriac is best at describing the anguish of suffering rather than suggesting solutions for human striving. Some of his most successfully drawn characters cannot achieve either earthly happiness or divine salvation. Mauriac resisted the Nazi invaders and the Vichy regime consistently and courageously during World War II. He was elected to the French Academy in 1933 and received the Nobel Prize in 1952.