This book explores literature in its role as a sacred text within the confines of 19th-century French primary and secondary education, helping the school to take over the role of spiritual authority from the Catholic Church.
The emergence of national education in France is often viewed as a struggle between spiritual and secular authorities, church and state. When one looks at the role of literature in education, however, a different picture appears. By assuming control over the teaching of French language and literature, the state claimed spiritual guardianship over the nation. The issue was therefore not so much of conflict between spiritual and secular forces, as the attempt by one institution to appropriate the spiritual authority of another. Situated at the intersection of history and literary criticism, this book casts new light on literary pedagogy, canon formation, and the relationship between culture and the modern French state.
The articles assembled in Culture Wars and Literature in the French Third Republic describe and analyze the ever-widening attempts in the early years of the Third Republic (1870-1914) to mobilize literary phenomena for the purposes of political and social warfare. Literature became the preferred site in which the human implications of the fiercest and most widespread of these culture wars, the battles over national identity waged between proponents of secular and religious education, were articulated, dramatized and appraised. In studies of Erckmann-Chatrian and Vallès, Rachilde and Colette, the Goncourt brothers and Marcelle Tinayre, La Fontaine and Corneille, the song-writer Jules Jouy and the theater critic Francisque Sarcey among others, some of these essays open up new perspectives on well-known issues such as education, the definition of national classics, Boulangism and women’s liberation, while others bring to light hitherto unsuspected connections between apparently disparate problems like decadence, anarchism and feminism, the mystery of literariness and the ban on Muslim headscarves, or the posthumous publication of private letters and the State’s interest in cultural and literary heroes. The final piece crystallizes the fundamental conflict of democratization: the tension between the republican desire for popular participation and the fear of the consequences of that participation by an uncultured public.
Engaging with recent thinking about performance, political theory and canon formation, this study addresses the significance of the formal changes in seventeenth-century French theater. Each chapter takes up a particularity of seventeenth-century theatrical style and staging”for example, the clearing of violence from the stage”and shows how the conceptualization of these French stylistic shifts appropriates a rich body of Italian political writing on questions of action, temporality, and law. The theater's appropriation of political concerns and vocabularies, the author argues, proffers an astute reflection on the practices of government that draws attention to questions obscured in reason of state, such as the instrumentalization of women's bodies. In a new reading of tragedies about government, the author shows how the canonical figure of Pierre Corneille is formally engaged with the political strategizing he often appears to repudiate, and in so doing challenges a literary history that has read neoclassicism largely as a display of pure French style.
In France's Third Republic, secularism was, for its adherents, a new faith, a civic religion founded on a rabid belief in progress and the Enlightenment conviction that men (and women) could remake their world. And yet with all of its pragmatic smoothing over of the supernatural edges of Catholicism, the Third Republic engendered its own fantastical ways of seeing by embracing observation, corporeal dynamism, and imaginative introspection. How these republican ideals and the new national education system of the 1870s and 80s - the structure meant to impart these ideals - shaped belle époque popular culture is the focus of this book. The author reassesses the meaning of secularization and offers a cultural history of this period by way of an interrogation of several fraught episodes which, although seemingly disconnected, shared an attachment to the potent moral and aesthetic directives of French republicanism: a village's battle to secularize its schools, a scandalous novel, a vaudeville hit featuring a nude celebrity, and a craze for female boxing. Beginning with the writer and performer Colette (1873-1954) as a point of entry, this re-evaluation of belle époque popular culture probes the startling connections between republican values of labor and physical health on the one hand, and the cultural innovations of the decades preceding World War I on the other.
This special issue of SubStance (2007) celebrates the centennial of Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution, published in 1907. Since evolution is a living process and not a completed history, any understanding of it must necessarily be open-ended. If no one can have the last word, Bergson writes, the project of understanding evolution “will only be built up by the collective and progressive effort of many thinkers, of many observers also, completing, correcting and improving one another.” Included in the issue are articles from Bergson scholars from the United States, Japan, France and Great Britain. Topics in the issue range from Bergson’s encounters with Darwin, Nietzsche, Derrida and Deleuze, and from the analytical to the metaphysical.
Publisher: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures
Our Civilizing Mission is at once an exploration of colonial education, and a response to current anxieties about the historical and conceptual foundations of the 'humanities'. On the one hand, focusing in detail on the example of Algeria, it treats colonial education as a facet of colonialism, exploring work by 'colonized' writers that attests to the suffering inflicted by colonialism, to the shortcomings of colonial education, and to the often painful mismatch between the world of the colonial school and students' home cultures. On the other hand, it asks what can be learned by treating colonial education not just as an example of colonialism but as a provocative, uncomfortable example of education. Placing writers' literary and personal accounts of their transformative and often alienating experiences of colonial education in historical context, it raises difficult questions - about languages, literatures, ways of thinking, nationalism and national cultures - that need to be reconsidered by anyone teaching subjects such as French, or English, especially through literature.
Scholars of Russian culture have always paid close attention to texts and their authors, but they have often forgotten about the readers. These volumes illuminate encounters between the Russians and their favorite texts, a centuries-long and continent-spanning “love story” that shaped the way people think, feel, and communicate. The fruit of thirty-one specialists’ research, Reading Russia represents the first attempt to systematically depict the evolution of reading in Russia from the eighteenth century to the present day. The second volume of Reading Russia considers the evolution of reading during the long nineteenth century (1800-1917), particularly in relation to the emergence of new narrative and current affairs publications: novels, on the one hand, and daily newspapers, weekly magazines and thick journals, on the other. The volume examines how economic and social transformations, technological progress and the development of the publishing industry taking place in Russia gradually led to a significant expansion of the reading public. At the same time, in part due to the influence of new literature reading policies in schools, there was a greater cultural standardisation of Russian society, which was partially opposed by new forms of poetic reading.
"The major changes in French linguistic and literary education are intimately linked to the debate over French cultural identity. Addressing that topic from a range of disciplinary perspectives, this commemorative volume on French education-in France, in the ex-colonies, and in America-aims to sensitize scholars of French studies to unexplored aspects of the institutional history of our discipline."--BOOK JACKET.
This book argues for the importance of literature studies using the historical debate between the disinterested disciplines (“art for art’s sake”) and utilitarian or productive disciplines. Forgoing the traditional argument that literature is a unique spiritual resource, as well as the utilitarian thought that literary pedagogy promotes skills that are relevant to a post-industrial economy, Guiney suggests that literary pedagogy must enable mutual access between the classroom and the outside world. It must recognize the need for every human being to become a conscious producer of culture rather than a consumer, through an active process of literary reading and writing. Using the history of French curricular reforms as a case study for his analysis, Guiney provides a contextualized redefinition of literature’s social value.
Provides a listing available of books, articles, and book reviews concerned with French literature since 1885. This work is a reference source in the study of modern French literature and culture. The bibliography is divided into three major divisions: general studies, author subjects (arranged alphabetically), and cinema.