By David Coward
This superb quantity presents an entire historical past of the literature of France from its origins to the current day, taking us past conventional definitions of ‘literature' into the realm of the best-seller and, past phrases, to image fiction and cinema
• provides a definitive heritage of the literature of France from its origins to the current day.
• comprises insurance of Francophone writing in Europe, Canada, the West Indies and North and Sub-Saharan Africa.
• hyperlinks the advance of literature to the mentalities and social stipulations which produced it.
• Takes us past “literature” to review photograph fiction, cinema and the bestseller.
• Maps the increase of the highbrow, and in so doing charts a development from literary doctrine to serious theory.
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Extra resources for A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema
Lyric poetry, at ﬁrst associated with the aristocratic courts of Languedoc, acquired a more bourgeois following when it was taken up in the thirteenth century by northern confréries and towns which organized poetry competitions and staged plays. Theatre outgrew its liturgical beginnings and, in addition to the miracle and passion plays performed by the Confrérie de la Passion, offered secular morality plays, farces and soties to a wide social mix. Its diffusion In the pre-book age, the written word was preserved by scribes and clercs inside and outside the monastic establishments where most had trained.
The reaction against courtly values is clear in the polemic surrounding Le Roman de la Rose THE MIDDLE AGES 27 launched by Christine de Pizan in her Epistre au Dieu d’amours (1399) and the querelle des femmes which followed. Christine was a ‘modern’ woman, a widow who made her living as a ‘vray homme’ and an early exponent of the new literature of information. Between 1400 and 1410, she wrote commissioned works on a variety of subjects – government and law, peace, history, war and faith – which drew on her considerable erudition.
An oath, sworn at Strasbourg in 842 by one of the two grandsons of Charlemagne, is the ﬁrst written trace of this modiﬁed Latin. Thereafter, the development of the language is broadly classiﬁed as Early Old French (about 950–1100), Old French (twelfth and thirteenth centuries) and Middle French (fourteenth and ﬁfteenth centuries). Progress was, however, far from uniform. Languages related, sometimes very distantly, to ‘French’ were established in provinces surrounding the royal domain but also served as the lingua franca of the south, from Catalonia to Northern Italy, and in the Holy Land.
A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema by David Coward