A History of French Literature: From the Earliest Times to the Great War (Classic Reprint)by William Albert Nitze
The present History of French Literature, intended both for the general reader and for students, does not aim to be exhaus tive. It is divided into three parts: Medieval, Renaissance and Modern; and within these parts it emphasizes in turn the chief literary movements and
Excerpt from A History of French Literature: From the Earliest Times to the Great War
The present History of French Literature, intended both for the general reader and for students, does not aim to be exhaus tive. It is divided into three parts: Medieval, Renaissance and Modern; and within these parts it emphasizes in turn the chief literary movements and writers, leaving minor tendencies and figures out of consideration or mentioning them only inci dentally. Mere lists of names and dates, valuable as they are for reference, belong rather to bibliography than to literary his tory as such. Thus our aim has been to give a connected ao count of the main curren of French literature from the earliest times down to the present day.
In this attempt we have had several further considerations to guide us. In the first place, the book is written primarily for American and English readers. The one key to literary treasures is not erudition but sympathy. Needless to say, we would instill in our readers a liking for French literature; but such sympathy will come only through an appreciation of the French, as distinguished from the anglo-saxon, point of view. Hence the introductory chapter on the Spirit of French Letters and, in the body of the book, the frequent references to What appear to be dominant French traits. Another result of this method is the attention we give to the historical and social background. Whether we have succeeded or not, we have consistently tried to depict for each age the historical and social elements that produced it; brieﬂy of course, with the ex pectation that the reader will complete the outline by reference to works dealing directly with these subjects.
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