French Literature: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199568727

John D. Lyons
152 ページ
110 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions



  • Focuses on texts that concern protagonists whose adventures and conflicts reveal shifts in literary and social practices
  • Explores the notion of the 'problematic hero'
  • Introduces a number of major works from a wide variety of periods, styles, genres, and themes
  • Examines how each work fits into society and its concerns and values

The heritage of literature in the French language is rich, varied, and extensive in time and space; appealing both to its immediate public, readers of French, and also to a global audience reached through translations and film adaptations. 
The first great works of this repertory were written in the twelfth century in northern France, and now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, include authors writing in many parts of the world, ranging from the Caribbean to Western Africa. 
French Literature: A Very Short Introduction introduces this lively literary world by focusing on texts - epics, novels, plays, poems, and screenplays - that concern protagonists whose adventures and conflicts reveal shifts in literary and social practices. 
From the hero of the medieval Song of Roland to the Caribbean heroines of I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem or the European expatriate in Japan in Fear and Trembling, these problematic protagonists allow us to understand what interests writers and readers across the wide world of French.


1: Werewolves, Saints, Knights, and a Poète Maudit
2: The Last Roman, "Cannibals", Heroines of Modern Life, and Giants
3: Society and Its Demands
4: Nature and its Possibilities
5: Around the Revolution
6: The Hunchback, the Housewife, and the Stroller
7: From Marcel to Rrose Sélavy
8: Self-Centered Consciousness
9: French-speaking heroes without borders?


John D. Lyons received his B.A. in French from Brown University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He has taught at Dartmouth College and at the University of Virginia, where he has been head of the Department of French. He has also been visiting professor at the Sorbonne Nouvelle and is a former director of the American Centre for Film and Critical Studies in Paris. John Lyons has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the J.S. Guggenheim Foundation.