A history of French literature - PDF book by Edward Dowden

A history of French literature

A history of French literature



French prose and French poetry had interested me for so many years that when Mr Gosse invited me to write this book I knew that I was qualified in one particular the love of my subject. Qualified in the knowledge I was not, and could not be.

 No one can pretend to know the whole of vast literature. He may have opened many books and turned many pages; he cannot have penetrated to the soul of all books from the Song of Roland to Toute la Lyre. Without reaching its spirit, to read a book is little more than to amuse the eye with printed type. An adequate history of great literature can be written only by collaboration. Professor Petit de Julleville, in the excellent Histoire de la Langue et de la Literature Franqaise, at present in process of publication, has his well -instructed specialist for each chapter.

 In this small volume I too, while constantly exercising my own judgment, have had my collaborators the ablest and most learned students of French literature who have written each a part of my book, while somehow it seems that I have written the whole. My collaborators are on my shelves. 

Without them I could not have accomplished my task; here I give them credit for their assistance. Some have written general histories of French literature; some have written histories of periods the Middle Ages, the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth centuries; some have studied special literary fields or forms the novel, the drama, tragedy, comedy, lyrical poetry, history, philosophy; many have written monographs on great authors; many have written short critical studies of books or groups of books. I have accepted from each a gift. But my assistants needed to be controlled; they brought me twenty thousand pages, and that was too much. Some were accurate in a statement of fact, but lacked ideas; some had ideas, but disregarded the accuracy of the statement; some unjustly depreciated the seventeenth century, some the eighteenth. For my purposes, their work had to be rewritten, and so it happens that this book is mine as well as theirs. 

The sketch of mediaeval literature follows the arrangement of matter in the two large volumes of M. Petit de Julleville and his fellow labourers, to whom and to the writings of M. Gaston Paris, I am on almost every page indebted. Many matters in dispute have here to be briefly stated in one way; there is no space for discussion. Provencal literature does not appear in this volume. 

The limitation of space has made me desire to say no word that does not tend to bring out something essential or characteristic. M. Lanson has ventured to trace French literature to the present moment. I have thought it wiser to close my survey with the decline of the romantic movement. With the rise of naturalism a new period opens.

CONTENTS


BOOK THE FIRST THE MIDDLE AGES
CHAPTER PAGE
I. NARRATIVE RELIGIOUS POETRY THE NATIONAL EPIC THE
EPIC OF ANTIQUITY ROMANCES OF LOVE AND COURTESY. 3
II. LYRICAL POETRY FABLES, AND RENARD THE FOX FABLIAUX
THE ROMANCE OF THE ROSE 24
III. DIDACTIC LITERATURE SERMONS HISTORY .... 40
IV. LATEST MEDIAEVAL POETS THE DRAMA 58
BOOK THE SECOND' THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
I. RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION 8l
II. FROM THE PLEIADE TO MONTAIGNE 96
BOOK THE THIRD THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
I. LITERARY FREEDOM AND LITERARY ORDER . . . .131
II. THE FRENCH ACADEMY PHILOSOPHY (DESCARTES) RELIGION
(PASCAL) 147
III. THE DRAMA (MONTCHRESTIEN TO CORNEILLE) . . . 160
IV. SOCIETY AND PUBLIC LIFE IN LETTERS 173
V. BOILEAU AND LA FONTAINE 183
VI. COMEDY AND TRAGEDY MOLIERE RACINE .... 196
VII. BOSSUET AND THE PREACHERS FENELON .... 219
VIII. TRANSITION TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY .... 235
BOOK THE FOURTH THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
CHAPTER PAGE
I. MEMOIRS AND HISTORY POETRY THE THEATRE THE NOVEL 251
II. MONTESQUIEU VAUVENARGUES VOLTAIRE .... 273
III. DIDEROT AND THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA PHILOSOPHERS, ECONO-
MISTS, CRITICS BUFFON 294
IV. ROUSSEAU BEAUMARCHAIS BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE
ANDRE CHENIER 311
BOOK THE FIFTH 1789-1850
I. THE REVOLUTION AND THE EMPIRE MADAME DE STAEL
CHATEAUBRIAND ......... 335
II. THE CONFLICT OF IDEAS 354
III. POETRY OF THE ROMANTIC SCHOOL 363
IV. THE NOVEL. 396
V. HISTORY LITERARY CRITICISM ' . 411
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . .429
INDEX 437


the book details :
  • Author: Edward Dowden
  • Publication date: 1897
  • Company: London: Heinemann

  • Download 14.2 MB

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