French Literature: A Cultural History

French Literature: A Cultural History

by Alison Finch
     
 

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This book is the first to offer a cultural history of French literature from its very beginnings, analysing the relationship between French literature and France's evolving power structures from the Middle Ages through to the present day. It shows the political connections between the elite literature of France and other aspects of its culture, from racism, misogyny,… See more details below

Overview

This book is the first to offer a cultural history of French literature from its very beginnings, analysing the relationship between French literature and France's evolving power structures from the Middle Ages through to the present day. It shows the political connections between the elite literature of France and other aspects of its culture, from racism, misogyny, tolerance and liberal reform to song, street performance, advertising and cinema. The nation's literature contributed to these and was shaped by them. The book highlights the continuities and the unique fault-lines in the society that, over a millennium, has produced 'French culture'. It looks at France's early and continuing struggle for a national identity through both its language and its literature, and it shows that this struggle co-exists with openness to other cultures and a bawdy or subtle rebelliousness against the Church and other forms of authority. En route it takes in cuisine, gardens and the French tradition in mathematics. The survey provides an accessible approach to key issues in the history of French culture as well as a wide context for specialists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Written in a fresh and vivid style, Finch's cultural history - anadmirable feat of compression and unfolding - speak compellinglyboth to specialists and to newcomers."
French Studies

"This is a book to read for pleasure and self-enlightenment, to useas a model of a cultural approach to literary studies, and - mostcertainly - to recommend to students."
Modern Language Review

"Alison Finch's superbly written book brings the culturaldimension of French literature fully into focus. While revealinghow the agenda of literary study has changed, she demonstrates thatwe can engage with the great canonical texts of French literaturein new and exciting ways. The book is to be commended for itsclarity, its shrewd analyses, and its sheer readability."
Tim Unwin, Bristol University

"Written with great panache, this book locates French literaturein the wider culture of the Western world. Finch shows how, fromMarie de France to MC Solar, literature in France has alwaysintertwined with politics, history, geography, money, sex,language, gender, class and race. Women writers and the newFrancophone literatures receive welcome recognition. A remarkableachievement."
Michael Sheringham, Oxford University

"The depth and range of this book are astonishing, as itdescribes the cultural conditions out of which French literaturehas emerged as a vital component of Western civilisation from theMiddle Ages to the present day. Informative and immensely readable,it makes a compelling and humane case for the continued study ofliterature in a changing world."
Colin Davis, Royal Holloway, University of London

"French Literature – A Cultural History by AlisonFinch, offers a chronologically brilliant introduction to a subjectmatter simply steeped in risk and heritage, as well as culturaldimension. And as a result of its linearity, it enables the readerto dip in and out whilst simultaneously being informed andinspired."
David Marx Books Reviews

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745628394
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
08/23/2010
Series:
PCHL-Polity Cultural History of Literature Series, #13
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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