Read e-book online A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to PDF

By David Coward

This fabulous quantity presents 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 photograph fiction and cinema

• offers a definitive historical past of the literature of France from its origins to the current day.
• contains insurance 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 review picture 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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Additional info for A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema

Sample text

He was exploited by later writers for more serious ends. 1251–88) he becomes king and inaugurates a reign of vice. 1260) uses him to attack the mendicant orders. 1320–40), a comprehensive attack on universal corruption. The fabliau If the Reynard saga is the burlesque obverse of the chivalric epic, the verse fabliau (‘little fable’) is the antidote to romance which, as it grew more fantastic, invited criticism and mockery. Charlemagne and Arthur might represent authority, but their actions at times fell well short of the ideals they enshrined.

Among the 275 known trouvères who flourished between the mid-twelfth and fourteenth centuries were nobles like Conon de Béthune (d. 1220) and Gace Brulé, a leavening of churchmen and larger numbers of professional and semi-professional poets who frequented the courts of Lorraine and Champagne. Yet by 1200 or so, poetic activity was increasingly part of the literary life of the growing towns of northern France which challenged the monopoly 12 THE MIDDLE AGES of the courts and helped diversify the lyric tradition.

Farce dealt more generally with human failings and used plots and characters from the fabliau tradition: deceitful wives and biters bit. ) has solid characterization, a consistent if patchwork narrative structure and a level of psychological observation which points to later developments. Later lyric poetry If theatre remained attached to its Christian mission and history clung to the glamour of chivalry, lyric poetry after Rutebeuf kept faith with courtly love and built on its semi-fixed forms.

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