French literature - Khareen's Epademia

French literature - Khareen's Epademia

FRENCH LITERATURE Littrature franaise French Literature For centuries, an impressive facet of French civilization. An object of national pride, and a principal focus for feelings of national identity. A high proportion of European literary trends have originated in France.

French are literate people passionately interested in questions of language and in exploration of ideas. A knowledge of French literature is the key to an understanding of the French people The Middle Ages [Medieval Period] 10th Century

French literature began when writers started using dialects that had evolved from the Latin spoken in the Roman Empire that would become France. Eventually, the dialect in popular use around Paris gained supremacy over the others and by the 10th century was vying with Latin for prestige. The Middle Ages [Medieval Period] 11th Century Witnessed the emergence of a literature in the French language in the form of numerous epic poems called Chansons de Geste. Composed

in verse, these narrative poems of moderate length (averaging 4000 lines) were originally sung, or (later) recited, by minstrels or jongleurs. More than one hundred chansons de geste have survived in around three hundred manuscripts that date from the 12th to the 15th century. These poems told the heroic deeds of the knights fighting with or against Charlemagne. The Middle Ages [Medieval Period] 12th Century Of more than 100 chansons remaining, the

masterpiece is the Chanson de Roland, which narrates the death of Charlemagnes nephew, Roland, in a rearguard action against the Saracens at Roncesvalls in the Pyrnes. Exhibiting great skill in the differentiation of characters, this poem contributed to the awakening of a French national consciousness. Chanson de Roland The eight phases of The Song of Roland in one picture. The Middle Ages [Medieval Period] 12th Century (second half)

"romans courtois", or tales of courtly love, which were written in verse in the Romance tongue and were intended to be read aloud before aristocratic audiences. Celebrating the heroism of knights fighting in honor of their ladies Of particular importance was the Tristan and Iseult cycle, which, in its powerful, semimystical evocation of a love as strong as death, inspired poets in every part of Europe. Tristan and Iseult The tragic story of the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan (Tristram) and the Irish princess Iseult (Isolde, Yseult, etc.)

"You were right. I don't know if life is greater than death. But love was more than either. The Middle Ages [Medieval Period] 12th Century (second half) The greatest poet in this tradition was Chrtien de Troyes, author of Erec, Lancelot, and Perceval. The lais were very short romans courtois, a

genre to which Marie de France contributed many delightful examples. Lais are short (typically 6001000 lines), rhymed tales of love and chivalry, often involving supernatural and fairy-world Celtic motifs. Chrtien de Troyes was a late-12th-century French poet and trouvre known for his work on Arthurian subjects, and for originating the character Lancelot. Marie de France

a medieval poet author of the Lais of Marie de France. Her Lais, in particular, were and still are widely read and influenced the subsequent development of the romance/heroic literature genre. 12 Century th The single most significant medieval

poem was the ROMAN DE LA ROSE, whose first 4,000 lines were written by Guillaume de Lorris in the courtly tradition (1230); about 40 years later, Jean de Meung added 18,000 lines in a realistic, satirical vein. ROMAN DE LA ROSE

A medieval French poem styled as an allegorical dream vision. It is a notable instance of courtly literature work's stated purpose is to both entertain and to teach others about the Art of Love the "Rose" of the title is seen as the name of the lady, and as a symbol of female sexuality in general. The first 4,058 lines describe the attempts of a courtier to woo his beloved. The additional 17,724 lines describe allegorical personages (Reason, Genius, and so on) hold forth on love.

The Middle Ages [Medieval Period] Outside aristocratic circles a very different type of literature flourished: Fabliau (pl. Fabliaux) - short narratives in verse, simple, earthy, and bantering in tone, sparing no one, least of all women or clergy. are generally characterized by sexual and scatological obscenity, and by a set of contrary attitudescontrary to the church and to the nobility

Fables - allegorical stories in which animals were used to satirize human characteristics or to point to a moral, were equally popular, the most celebrated of this type being REYNARD THE FOX. Late Middle Ages 15th Century The greatest French poet of the late medieval period was Franois Villon -- thief, murderer, and prison inmate A ne'er-do-well who was involved in criminal behavior and had multiple encounters with law

enforcement authorities, Villon wrote about some of these experiences in his poems. Late Middle Ages In my own country I am in a far off land. I am strong but have no power. I win all yet remain a loser. At break of day I say goodnight. When I lie down I have great fear of falling. Franois Villon The French Renaissance

16th Century Literature gave expression to the feeling of rebirth popularization of printed books, which encouraged the translation of ancient texts and the development of precise critical methods humanism, was being forged a new ideal of humankind in relation to God and life Protestantism chief voice in France in The French Renaissance

th [16 Cent.] Michel de Montaigne best exemplified Humanism invented a genre, ESSAY, that proved ideally suited both as a showcase for his learning and urbanity and as a forum for the critical exploration of personality and ideas His essays were profoundly original and together constitute one of the most honest and ingratiating self-examinations ever

conducted in a literary work. The French Renaissance th [16 Cent.] Poetry The break with the past was more pronounced in poetry New forms like the sonnet imported from Italy, as well

as Greek and Latin odes, all enjoyed popularity. But French poets were also interested in making of their native language a more supple instrument Pierre de Ronsard The prince of Renaissance poets , the uncontested leader of the constellation of poets called the PLEIADE. he helped to free French poetry from the pedantry of the past The French Renaissance th [16 Cent.]

Les Amours de Cassandre: XX Id like to turn the deepest of yellows, Falling, drop by drop, in a golden shower, Into her lap, my lovely Cassandras, Id like then, the better to ease my pain, To be Narcissus, and she a fountain, Where Id swim all night, at my pleasure: And Id like it, too, if As sleep is stealing over her Aurora would never

brow. Light day again, or wake me ever, Then Id like to be a bull, white So that this night could as snow, last forever. Transforming myself, for Note: Jupiter, disguised as a shower of gold, raped Danae, and as a white bull carried off Europa. Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. Aurora was the goddess of dawn. Ronsards Cassandra, was Cassandra Salviati, the daughter of an Italian banker. The Triumph of Classicism

17th Century Golden Age of French literature France's political position as the most powerful nation in Europe during the reign of Louis XIV was reflected in the preeminence French literature Acadmie Franaise created by Cardinal Richelieu with the aim of regulating language and literary expression The Triumph of Classicism [17th Cent.]

Conflict between two literary tendencies: one toward greater creative freedom, which modern critics call baroque and the other toward an acceptance of literary rules--had been virtually resolved in favor of CLASSICISM by 1660 The Triumph of Classicism [17th Cent.] Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux the founder of French literary criticism in

which reason, proportion, and harmony were defined as the outstanding literary values. The Triumph of Classicism [17th Cent.] Drama France's greatest dramatists emerged during this period Pierre Corneille

wrote over 30 plays, most of them, after 1634, in accordance with the Aristotelian unities of time, place, and action whose tragic masterpiece The Cid (1637), dramatizing the conflict between duty and passion, remains unequaled in the grandeur of its conception. The Triumph of Classicism [17th Cent.] Jean Racine Surpassed Pierre Corneille in popularity and critical esteem by the simpler style and more realistic characters and plot structures, as in Andromache (1667) and Phaedra (1677), revealing a world of ferocious passions

beneath a veneer of elegant poetry The Triumph of Classicism [17th Cent.] Novel The French novel also came of age The Princess of Clves (1678) Authored by Comtesse de la Fayette

a concise psychological analysis of a moral problem in married life France's first historical novel and one of the earliest novels in literature. The French Enlightenment Late 17th Century to18th Century Age of Reason Rationalism an appeal to human reason as a

way of obtaining knowledge the decline in the authority of the French monarchy all social and political institutions came under question and, eventually, attack Ideas assumed sovereign power Probably no other country or century has witnessed such a concentration of intellectual talent as that represented by the French ENLIGHTENMENT The French Enlightenment Pierre Bayle a Protestant philosopher turned freethinker

who advocated religious toleration, set the tone of the century with his Dictionnaire historique et critique (1697). Dictionnaire historique et critique Historical and Critical Dictionary foreshadowed the aggressive strategy of religious and social criticism The French Enlightenment The great French rationalists of the Enlightenment Franois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieuproduced some of the most powerful and

influential political and philosophical writing in Western history. The French Enlightenment Franois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech and separation of church and state. used Bayles Dictionnaire historique et critique in his malicious but

amusing Dictionnaire philosophique (1764) The French Enlightenment Voltaire is chiefly remembered, however, for his philosophical tales, such as: Zadig (1747) Candide (1759)

Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man, whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that 'all is for the best'. But when his love for the Baron's rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own way in the world. Letters concerning the English Nation (1733) is philosophical in nature, and presents human life as in the hands of a destiny beyond human control. It is a story of religious and metaphysical orthodoxy, both of which Voltaire challenges with his presentation of the moral revolution taking place in Zadig himself. comparing English and French institutions (to the latter's disadvantage); Essai sur les moeurs et l'esprit des nations (1769)

an anthropologically organized comparative history of national characteristics. These works were the centerpiece of his lifelong battle against intolerance, injustice, and obscurantism. The French Enlightenment Jean Jacques Rousseau a Francophone Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century His political philosophy influenced the Enlightenment

in France and across Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the overall development of modern political and educational thought The French Enlightenment Rousseau's novel Emile, or On Education Julie or La Nouvelle Heloise (1761),

is a treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. a compendium of the major intellectual questions discussed at the time, was a forerunner of ROMANTICISM (the development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction) Rousseau's Confessions (1781) and Reveries (1782) were daring autobiographical works that helped to develop the romantic taste for the public display of the inner self. which initiated the modern autobiography

The French Enlightenment Denis Diderots Encyclopdie The biggest weapon leveled against prejudice and traditional authorities published in 35 volumes between 1751 and 1780 and incorporating most of the materialist, skeptical, and antireligious ideas of the day a collective enterprise to which the best minds of the age contributed: Jean d'Alembert, Baron d'Holbach, Etienne de Condillac, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Montesquieu,

Voltaire, and Rousseau. The French Enlightenment Poetry in the 18th century suffered from the desiccating influence of rational analysis, but one great poet emerged. Andr Chenier whose verse was inspired by the harmonies of classical Greek models and

by a love of liberty, became after his execution during the Terror an important influence on the early romantic school. The 19th Century concerns the developments in French literature during a dynamic period in French history that saw the rise of Democracy and the fitful end of Monarchy and Empire French literature enjoyed enormous international prestige and success Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism,

Parnassianism, and Symbolism and the birth of the Modern The 19th Century Romanticism French literature from the first half of the century was dominated by Romanticism, which is associated with such authors as Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, pre, Franois-Ren de Chateaubriand, Alphonse de Lamartine, Grard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Alfred de Musset, Thophile Gautier and Alfred de Vigny. characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past

and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. The 19 Century [Romanticism] th Franois-Ren (Auguste), vicomte de Chateaubriand a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian who is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature

Ren is a short novella by Franois-Ren de Chateaubriand, which first appeared in 1802. The work had an immense impact on early Romanticism, comparable to that of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Like the German novel, it deals with a sensitive and passionate young man who finds himself at odds with contemporary society. The 19th Century Realism when applied to literature of the 19th century, implies the attempt to depict

contemporary life and society. is linked to the development of science (especially biology), history and the social sciences and to the growth of industrialism and commerce was offered as a polar opposite to Romanticism The 19th Century [Realism] Marie-Henri Beyle (Stendhal) highly regarded for the acute analysis of his characters'

psychology and considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism. Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black) is a historical psychological novel in two volumes by Stendhal, published in 1830. It chronicles the attempts of a provincial young man to rise socially beyond his modest upbringing through a combination of talent, hard work, deception, and hypocrisy. He ultimately allows his passions to betray him. The Charterhouse of Parma chronicles the adventures of the young Italian nobleman Fabrice del Dongo from his birth in 1798 to his death. The 19th Century

Naturalism The expression is imprecise, and was frequently used disparagingly to characterize authors whose chosen subject matter was taken from the working classes and who portrayed the misery and harsh conditions of real life. every human being was determined by the forces of heredity and environment and by the time in which he lived Hippolyte Taine The 19 Century [Naturalism] th

mile Zola Les Rougon-Macquart is the collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by French writer mile Zola. Subtitled Histoire naturelle et sociale d'une famille sous le Second Empire (Natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire), it follows the lives of the members of the two titular branches of a fictional family living during the Second French Empire (18521870) and is one of the most prominent works of the French naturalism literary movement. The 19th Century Parnassianism (or Parnassism)

was a French literary style that began during the positivist period of the 19th century, occurring after romanticism and prior to symbolism. named after Mount Parnassus, home of the Muses of Greek mythology. Parnassians strove for exact and faultless workmanship, selecting exotic and classical subjects that they treated with rigidity of form and emotional detachment The 19th Century

Symbolism Symbolists believed that art should represent absolute truths that could only be described indirectly. Thus, they wrote in a very metaphorical and suggestive manner, endowing particular images or objects with symbolic meaning In literature, the style originates with the 1857 publication of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal. symbolism was hostile to "plain meanings, declamations, false sentimentality and matter-of-fact description", and that its goal instead was to "clothe the Ideal in a perceptible form" whose "goal was not in itself, but whose sole purpose was to express the Ideal. Moras

The 19 Century [Symbolism] th Charles Pierre Baudelaire His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire's highly original style of prosepoetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stphane Mallarm among many others.

The 19 Century [Symbolism] th The Symbolist Manifesto Symbolist Manifesto names Charles Baudelaire, Stphane Mallarm, and Paul Verlaine as the three leading poets of the movement. The 19 Century [Symbolism] th

Ainsi, dans cet art, les tableaux de la nature, les actions des humains, tous les phnomnes concrets ne sauraient se manifester eux-mmes ; ce sont l des apparences sensibles destines reprsenter leurs affinits sotriques avec des Ides primordiales The 19 Century [Symbolism] th In this art, scenes from nature, human activities, and all other real world phenomena will not be described for their own sake; here, they are

perceptible surfaces created to represent their esoteric affinities with the primordial Ideals. The 20th Century

characterized by a tremendous expansion in literary output and the ever-faster pace of experimentation with new means of expression Marxism and Freudianism have left a deep imprint on literature, as on all the arts In poetry, symbolism continued to serve as an inspiration Surrealism Existentialism Nouveau Roman The 20th Century Andr Breton defined Surrealism as:

"psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express - verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner - the actual functioning of thought." What Breton is proposing is that artists bypass reason and rationality by accessing their unconscious mind. In practice, these techniques became known as automatism or automatic writing, which allowed artists to forgo conscious thought and embrace chance when creating art. The 20th Century

EXISTENTIALISM Any of several philosophic systems, all centered on the individual and his relationship to the universe or to God. Jean Paul Sartre, leader of the movement, had previously explained its tenets (namely, the human freedom to choose and to forge one's own values) His novel Nausea (1938), the play No Exit (1944), and a trilogy of novels dealing with World War II. The 20th Century

Albert Camus in The Stranger (1942) and The Plague (1947), in which the absurdity, or meaninglessness, of life is stressed. Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre's lifelong friend and disciple, also dealt with existentialist problems in her novels but is probably best known for her massive treatise on the status of women, The Second Sex (1949), and a series of distinguished memoirs. The 20th Century

The New Novel or Nouveau Roman is a type of 1950s French novel that diverged from classical literary genres. mile Henriot coined the term in an article in the popular French newspaper Le Monde on May 22, 1957 to describe certain writers who experimented with style in each novel, creating an essentially new style each time. represented by Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Butor, and Alain Robbe-Grillet. Their work, allied with new insights provided initially by the adherents of STRUCTURALISM, has had a marked effect on literary expression, analysis, and criticism

The 20th Century The New Novel or Nouveau Roman Alain Robbe-Grillet rejected many of the established features of the novel to date Robbe-Grillet regarded many earlier novelists as old-fashioned in their focus on plot, action, narrative, ideas, and character. Instead, he put forward a theory of the novel as focused on objects: the ideal nouveau roman would be an individual version and vision of things, subordinating plot and character to the details of the world rather than enlisting the world in their service


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