French Literature: A Very Short Introduction and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
French Literature: A Very... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 4 images

French Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 22 Apr 2010

1 customer review

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£7.99
£2.26 £2.24
£7.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

French Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) + Modern France: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Price For Both: £14.38

Buy the selected items together


Free One-Day Delivery for six months with Amazon Student


Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (22 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199568723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199568727
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.3 x 11.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

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.

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
1
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on 31 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
The blurb on the cover tells us "The first great works of this repertory were written in the twelfth century", from which we move to the Introduction, which informs us, "The first great works of this repertory were written in the 11th century". No matter. After this slightly false start, we are into a first class survey of one of the World's greatest literary traditions.

Lyons employs a clear, rather plain style, blessedly free from the jargon of literary theory. The illustrations are helpful and apposite, which is not always the case in this VSI series. The end result is a solid introduction to the subject.

I hesitate to complain about omissions in what is after all a very short introduction, but I must mention a couple that surprised me: Firstly, neither Dumas - père nor fils - appears. They may well be too middlebrow for a survey of Literature with a capital L, but I would have thought that the most widely-read French author ever, whose works are routinely described as 'classics', and the author of La Dame aux Camélias would both have deserved at least a mention. More troubling is the absence of Jean Genet and Jean Cocteau. Lyons talks of "...the grand old men of the Second World War generation..." yet omits to mention either of those authors. Given the attention Lyons gives to cinema, the omission of Cocteau is particularly strange.

On the other hand, a large amount of space is devoted to Samuel Becket. I understand that France was Becket's adopted country and that he turned the self-imposed discipline of writing in a foreign language to what he saw as his advantage, but he nonetheless remains much more part of the Irish tradition than the French. He warrants a mention here certainly, but not the relatively extensive coverage given.

Despite these caveats, this book can be wholeheartedly recommended as an excellent introduction to an extraordinarily rich cultural heritage.
[PeterReeve]
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
One of the best introductions to literature 4 Jun. 2010
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is exactly what books in the "Very Short Introduction" series ought to be like - concise, informative, to the point, told from a point of view of someone who is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about his or her area of expertise, etc., etc. I don't often get to read books in this series where I am almost completely unfamiliar with the subject matter, so when I started reading this one I really didn't know what to expect. What I did find was a very readable and interesting introduction to one of the World's oldest and richest literary traditions. It exposed me to many works of literature over the last thousand of years that I had either never heard of before, or was only superficially familiar with. This introduction emphasizes the historical circumstances under which those literary works were written, and how themes in those works were influenced by those circumstances. However, and to the author's credit, this introduction does not try to make literature into something that is predominantly concerned with social criticism. In particular, you will not find any references to any of the -isms that have come to dominate literary theories in recent decades. This is a book about literature first and foremost, written for people who want to learn more about it.

In a book of this length it is not possible to give any longer excerpts from literary works. Nonetheless, there are quite a few quotes, in both French and English, that help reader get a better sense of those works. A few shorter poems are even included in their entirety. These excerpts, short that they are, really help one get a better sense about the works that they come from.

This was an eminently readable book and I was unable to put it down. After finishing it I immediately put several of the books that were mentioned herein on my reading list. This is exactly what the best of there "short introduction" books should do - want to go out and read more about the topic that they cover.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An excellent introduction 31 Oct. 2010
By Peter Reeve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The blurb on the cover tells us "The first great works of this repertory were written in the twelfth century", from which we move to the Introduction, which informs us, "The first great works of this repertory were written in the 11th century". No matter. After this slightly false start, we are into a first class survey of one of the World's greatest literary traditions.

Lyons employs a clear, rather plain style, blessedly free from the jargon of literary theory. The illustrations are helpful and apposite, which is not always the case in this VSI series. The end result is a solid introduction to the subject.

I hesitate to complain about omissions in what is after all a very short introduction, but I must mention a couple that surprised me: Firstly, neither Dumas - père nor fils - appears. They may well be too middlebrow for a survey of Literature with a capital L, but I would have thought that the most widely-read French author ever, whose works are routinely described as 'classics', and the author of La Dame aux Camélias would both have deserved at least a mention. More troubling is the absence of Jean Genet and Jean Cocteau. Lyons talks of "...the grand old men of the Second World War generation..." yet omits to mention either of those authors. Given the attention Lyons gives to cinema, the omission of Cocteau is particularly strange.

On the other hand, a large amount of space is devoted to Samuel Becket. I understand that France was Becket's adopted country and that he turned the self-imposed discipline of writing in a foreign language to what he saw as his advantage, but he nonetheless remains much more part of the Irish tradition than the French. He warrants a mention here certainly, but not the relatively extensive coverage given.

Despite these caveats, this book can be wholeheartedly recommended as an excellent introduction to an extraordinarily rich cultural heritage.
[PeterReeve]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Decent introduction, though like many Very Short Introductions it can't avoid rushing through recent developments 29 Sept. 2013
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
John D. Lyons's FRENCH LITERATURE: A Very Short Introduction aims to acquaint us with the general course of writing in French. It starts with The Life of St. Alexis (written circa 1050) and ends with J.M.G. Le Clézio's winning of the Nobel Prize in 2008. Lyons delineates the French canon into various stages (the medieval era, the dramatic 17th century, the Enlightenment, the Revolution, etc.) and in each describes the major writers and one of their representative works. This alone will prove valuable to readers like myself, who have a hard time remembering if Moliere came before Rabelais or vice versa. Lyons also likes making comparisons between the different eras in order to identify perennial concerns of French literature. Most, though not all, titles and quotations are given both in English and the original French.

One cannot expect every "great writer" to be covered in a book of this size: Saint-John Perse and Georges Perec get no mention, for example. But one can bemoan that, like many volumes in the Very Short Introduction series, this one gives far too little space to the last themes to be discussed. Though Lyons aims to include Arab and Sub-Saharan African writing in French in his survey, there is not enough space to give more than a paragraph to one or two big names. Nor does Lyons end with a mention that the belles lettres that he focuses on are of rapidly declining interest to the French population, which are content with romans policiers (crime novels) etc., sharing the same trend of becoming a post-literary culture like much of the West.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback