This book, first published in 1987, complements the author's earlier volume on Culture and Society in France 1848-1898. It deals with the interaction of social history and cultural history, covering in succession the Revolutionary period, the Napoleonic Empire, the Restoration and the July Monarchy. The scope of the book embraces literature (the drama, poetry and the novel), the art of the Revolution and of Romanticism, and to a lesser extent music (including the opera), sculpture and architecture.
Influential figures such as Jacques-Louis David, Stendhal, Berlioz, Victor Hugo and others have their place in the survey, together with others prominent in their time hut less well known today. Attention is drawn to phenomena such as the rise of the commercial theatre, and the assembling under Napoleon's aegis of the first public art gallery in Europe, the Musée du Louvre. The survey brings together all the disparate strands to present a coherent picture of the cultural life of France as it evolved during the sixty momentous years between the French Revolution and the upheaval of 1848.
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About the Author
Frederick William John Hemmings (1920-1997) was born in Southampton. Hemmings did war service decrypting German codes in the Army Intelligence Corps but in 1946 he returned to academic life in Oxford, completing his DPhil in 1949, a groundbreaking study that was published the following year by Oxford University Press, The Russian Novel in France 1884-1914.
Hemmings really made his mark as a pioneer of Zola studies and is known as the foremost Zola critic in the English-speaking world. Further studies on Zola and Stendhal unfailingly appeared in later years, as did books on two other major 19th-century French writers: The King of Romance: A Portrait of Alexandre Dumas (1979) and Baudelaire the Damned (1982). This project of Balzacian and Zolaesque proportions was realized all the more remarkably during a busy nine-year term of office as head of the French department at Leicester University. Hemmings was a hugely respected literary scholar and Professor of French Literature, Leicester University 1963-85; twice married (one son, one daughter); died Leicester 9 May 1997.