By David Coward
This superb 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 photo fiction and cinema
• offers a definitive background of the literature of France from its origins to the current day.
• accommodates 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 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 info for A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema
His Art de dictier et de faire chansons (1392), the ﬁrst treatise of versiﬁcation in the vernacular, distinguished between ‘natural’ and ‘artiﬁcial’ music, that is, between poetry and music proper. The future development of French verse would depend on efforts to distance words from music. 1431) whose ﬁrst writings included ballades, rondeaux and virelais. 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.
The works performed by the itinerant jongleurs were not normally their own creations but revisions of old materials drawn from sources as different as the Bible, Greek and Roman authors and oral traditions which were constantly reworked. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, author and performer could be the same person – most troubadours wrote the poems they performed – though no text was sacrosanct, a ﬁnished creation, but an exploitable resource. Any work could be continued, augmented and even buried beneath the weight of new accretions.
Although her choice here falls on the Virgin and well-born ﬁgures from classical antiquity and French history, Le Livre des trois vertus (1405) is a compendium of duties offered to women of all classes. She also diagnosed the moral decline of France in L’Avision Christine (1405) and after 1410 commented more directly on the state of the nation, ending her career with a Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc (1429) who brought ‘honneur au feminin sexe’. Chartier Christine’s apology for women must be set against a larger quantity of misogynistic verse of which Deschamps’s long poem, Le Miroir de mariage, written around the turn of the century, is an example.
A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema by David Coward