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

By David Coward

This superb quantity offers an entire background 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

• provides a definitive historical past 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 improvement of literature to the mentalities and social stipulations which produced it.
• Takes us past “literature” to check photograph 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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After the Albigensian crusade against the Cathar heretics (1209–44), the langue d’oc lost ground to the tongues of the more powerful north, specifically to francien, which was spoken in Paris and the Île de France, geographically the heart of the langue d’oïl area. Literature Throughout the period, literature was shaped by specific historical traditions and a firmly circumscribed code of priorities, ecclesiastical THE MIDDLE AGES 3 and secular. The dominance of the Church ensured that literary expression was informed by a strong didactic spirit, while feudalism provided a common, if loose, framework of values until it was challenged in the thirteenth century by the growth of towns and a less courtly and more bourgeois public.

He is no 22 THE MIDDLE AGES analyst of the events he describes and yet he does project an attitude to wars which are seen as an effect of dynastic rivalry, personal ambition and money, the only patrie of the mercenary soldiers who fight them. Though Froissart’s Chroniques were continued more reliably but less interestingly by Enguerran de Monstrelet in the first half of the fifteenth century, the focus had by then begun to shift from the events of war to its social and economic consequences. Knightly heroes like Du Guesclin (d.

It showed the chain of feudal obligation reaching up to the throne; by upgrading local wars between feudal overlords into an international, holy war, it championed the true faith. Harnessed by loyalty to a lord and the office he represented, and pressed into the defence of Christendom, chivalry, a code of honour and military valour, was redefined in terms of the Christian ethic. The feudal, crusader epic expressed an alliance of politics and religion and promoted a new collective ideal of service.

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