By David Coward
This excellent quantity offers a whole 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 photo fiction and cinema
• provides a definitive heritage of the literature of France from its origins to the current day.
• comprises assurance of Francophone writing in Europe, Canada, the West Indies and North and Sub-Saharan Africa.
• hyperlinks the improvement of literature to the mentalities and social stipulations which produced it.
• Takes us past “literature” to check image fiction, cinema and the bestseller.
• Maps the increase of the highbrow, and in so doing charts a development from literary doctrine to severe theory.
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Additional resources for A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema
Wives routinely deceive their husbands with a priest, monk or student, though not all these tales centre on adultery. A range of non-aristocratic types – churchmen, lawyers, doctors, merchants, students and peasants – trick and are tricked. The settings are urban and much of what is known of town life in the thirteenth century derives from their clearly described streets, costumes and customs. But their main purpose was to entertain (they appealed to the same audience as the romances they undermined) and they gave no quarter, least of all to women who, duplicitous and lustful, are ﬁrst in the line of satirical ﬁre.
Romance Just as hagiography had been diverted into the crusader chanson de geste, so the epic was modiﬁed after the middle of the twelfth century by the mutation of ﬁn’amor into amour courtois and by the rise of feudal ideals and customs. By 1100, heraldic devices and the code of chivalry were established in tournaments which grew more numerous after 1170. The ﬁrst steps in the new direction were signalled by the appearance of a number of verse adaptations (called romans THE MIDDLE AGES 13 because they were written in ‘romance’ vernacular) rooted in Greek history and mythology, not taken directly from Homer but from the Latin of Virgil and particularly Ovid.
But by then, their lyricism had migrated north. In 1137, Aliénor d’Aquitaine (1122–1204) married Louis VII of France and she attracted poets like Bernart de Ventadorn ( ﬂ. 1147–70) to the royal court. 1185). Capellanus analysed ‘pure’ (or platonic) love and ‘mixed’ (sensual) love before rounding on carnal love in Christian and misogynistic terms. By the 1170s a new generation of northern poets, the trouvères, had adopted the code and manner of the southern tradition, though they were less ﬂamboyant and sensual and their style less inventive and intricate.
A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema by David Coward