Historical Dictionary of French Literature

«It only takes a glance at the chronology that begins this volume to acknowledge the remarkable breadth and depth of French literature. Beginning in 842 with Serments de Strasbourg and continuing through 2012 when Je´roˆme Ferrari received the Prix Goncourt for his novel Le Sermon de la chute de Rome, the body of literature written in the French language over the past 12 centuries is an outstandingly rich one.Whether it is the classic plays of Molie`re, the poems of Apollinaire, the essays of Simone de Beauvoir or the existential novels of Boris Vian, France has produced some of the finest and most original pieces of imaginative writing the world has ever known. ... The dictionary is. . . an excellent reference resource and guide.»

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Almost all of us know French literature, even if we don’t know French, because it is probably the second largest and certainly the most translated into English. And, even if we don’t read, we would have seen film and television versions (think Count of Monte-Cristo) and even a musical rendition (Les Mis). Les mer
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Almost all of us know French literature, even if we don’t know French, because it is probably the second largest and certainly the most translated into English. And, even if we don’t read, we would have seen film and television versions (think Count of Monte-Cristo) and even a musical rendition (Les Mis). So this is a particularly interesting volume in the literature series, since it covers French literature from the earliest times to the present. It is also a particularly rich literature, espousing ever genre from poetry, to novel, to biography, to drama, and adopting every style, including realism and surrealism, and expressing the views of all classes and political stands, with recently strong feminist and gay strains.

Obviously, the core dictionary section includes among its panoply of often substantial and detailed entries, hundreds of authors, dozens of significant works, the various styles mentioned above and many others, events that have impacted literature such as the Dreyfus Affair and the Algerian War, and literary prizes. The chronology manages to cover about 1,200 years of literary output. And the introduction sets it all out neatly from one historical and literary period to the next. The bibliography, broken down by period and author, directs us to further reading in both French and English.

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Anmeldelser

«It only takes a glance at the chronology that begins this volume to acknowledge the remarkable breadth and depth of French literature. Beginning in 842 with Serments de Strasbourg and continuing through 2012 when Je´roˆme Ferrari received the Prix Goncourt for his novel Le Sermon de la chute de Rome, the body of literature written in the French language over the past 12 centuries is an outstandingly rich one.Whether it is the classic plays of Molie`re, the poems of Apollinaire, the essays of Simone de Beauvoir or the existential novels of Boris Vian, France has produced some of the finest and most original pieces of imaginative writing the world has ever known. ... The dictionary is. . . an excellent reference resource and guide.»

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«[T]here are many useful and delightful insights to be gained. . . .[W]riters will find much of value in this volume.»

Modern Language Review

«This title provides historical literary information covering 842 CE (when the Strasbourg Oaths were written) to 2012. Flower (emer., Univ. of Kent, UK) focuses solely on literature written and published in France. Francophone literature from other areas of the globe is not covered, though some authors, such as Belgium's Georges Simenon and Senegal's Ousmane Sembène, made the cut. The alphabetically arranged entries include brief author biographies, synopses of major literary works, significant French historical events (the 1789 revolution, the Dreyfus Affair, May 1968, the two world wars, and the Algerian wars), literary definitions, themes, and other relevant terms. Entries also provide hundreds of boldface cross-references. This dictionary examines a variety of literary genres, ranging from comic strips to poetry and drama. It also features entries related to now-defunct French literary magazines and publishing houses. Feminist writers such as Hélene Cixous and Monique Wittig appear in these pages as well. »

CHOICE

«Readers interested primarily in twentieth-century literature may find it rewarding to peruse this volume.»

French Studies

«A reader’s note acknowledges that this dictionary, in which entries cover major authors and their works; literary movements; and relevant social, historic, and philosophical developments, can’t provide the kind of “contextualization” found in such narrative works as David Coward’s A History of French Literature (LJ 2/1/2004). Still, the introductory chronology and an overview essay by Flowers (professor emeritus, French, Univ. of Kent, UK), sufficiently set the framework for the entries that follow, which serve to demonstrate that France, as Flowers notes, “can justifiably lay claim to the richest literary history of any country in western Europe.” VERDICT A delicious amuse-bouche for French literature fans.»

Library Journal

«[T]his work’s currency and coverage of prose and poetry provide a useful introduction to French literature. . . .The dictionary is appropriate for academic and public libraries[.]»

American Reference Books Annual

«This dictionary focuses on works published in France, not Francophone countries, and emphasizes twentieth-century writers. Nearly 500 alphabetical entries describe authors, major works, artistic and political movements, and events that shaped the creative landscape. Varying in length from a paragraph to a few pages, most entries concern authors, briefly discussing their lives and publications. An earlier volume in this series covers French theater. The work concludes with a bibliography of print resources in French and English. Consider for academic or large public libraries in need of a quick reference more current than The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French (1995).»

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Om forfatteren

John Flower who is now emeritus spent a long and fruitful career as professor of French at the University of Kent and previously the University of Exeter, ever since 1976. He has published widely on French literature, with a focus on Francois Mauriac, on whom he is an international authority. He has published numerous articles and several books, the most recent of which is Francois Mauriac, journaliste. He is an Officier des Palmes académiques.