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

By David Coward

ISBN-10: 0631167587

ISBN-13: 9780631167587

This marvelous 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 area of the best-seller and, past phrases, to photograph fiction and cinema

• provides a definitive heritage of the literature of France from its origins to the current day.
• accommodates assurance 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 check picture 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

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At a time when there were no critics to steer its growth (the learned commentary was the nearest approximation to literary theory), it drew eclectically on multiple sources: antiquity, ecclesiastical writing and a range of oral traditions. The concept of imaginative literature was fluid and non-compartmentalized and the taste of the age was capable of accommodating both the crude and the highly sophisticated. Contemporary sensibilities were accustomed to coping with rapid changes from tragic to comic, noble to ignoble, and even exponents of courtly love mixed high idealism with frank obscenity.

Rome’s legionaries and traders had not spoken the classical Latin of Caesar or Cicero but a ‘vulgar’ tongue which, remaining in use over a long span of time and incorporating local influences, served as the basis of all the Romance vernaculars. In France, the progress of Gallo-Roman (fifth to ninth centuries) is first attested by the instruction given to clerics in 813, at the Council of Tours, to preach their sermons not in the Latin of the Vulgate, judged incomprehensible to congregations, but ‘in rusticam romanam linguam’.

She wrote of adulterous love, as courtly tradition required, but showed how easily it led to unhappiness. Yet she also wrote of herself and particularly of her reaction to the death of her husband. She generates an authentic sense of loss and she handles both her verse and her feelings with considerable delicacy. Fifteenth-century ‘modernism’ Though poets continued to rehearse courtly themes and styles, courtly love was in decline. As growing economic activity changed the social landscape from feudal to urban, literature turned away from exalted modes and addressed more immediate subjects.

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A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema by David Coward

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