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The culture of France

France - French language pages - French erotica - French "high" culture - French literature - French "low" culture - French music - French film

Favourite people: Georges Bataille - Charles Baudelaire - Catherine Breillat - Guy Bourdin - Céline - Gilles Deleuze - Marquis de Sade - Marcel Duchamp - Serge Gainsbourg - Alain Robbe-Grillet - Michel Houellebecq - Eric Losfeld - Georges Pichard - Pauline Réage - Jacques Tati

Related: Barbarella - cabaret - Cinéma vérité - Cahiers du Cinéma - Cinémathèque - Emmanuelle - Fascination (magazine) - le fantastique - Fantômas - femme fatal - Moulin Rouge - film noir - L'Histoire d'O - May 1968 - négritude - Midi Minuit Fantastique - Nouvelle Vague - noir - Obelisk Press - Olympia Press - Paris - Radio Nova - Salon des Réfusés - Série Noire - Le Sexe Qui Parle - fin de siècle - French Revolution - vaudeville


The culture of France is diverse, reflecting regional differences as well as the influence of recent immigration. France has played an important role for centuries as a cultural center, with Paris as a world center of high culture. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_France [May 2005]

French philosophy [...]

[...] The big names now are Bataille, Deleuze, Derrida, and Baudrillard: the fab four of postmodernism. Generally, the French pomo thinkers succeed at two things: They offer a hysterical (read paranoid) but insightful perspective on the cruel and schizophrenic nature of late 20th century techno-culture, and they engage in linguistic sophistry to try to save Marxism's irrelevant ass. Trendy French thinkers deal with language and reality in techno-terms; in other words, they view it all as a big machine or a complex system. And they therefore exert great influence on the cybercrit (genus academia) segment of cyberculture.

Reading any of these guys is exhausting, and it takes valuable time away from watching television advertising, which generally communicates the pomo experience with that American kind of immediacy that we all crave -- even when it's on behalf of Trendy French Perfumes. This is why I'm providing you with this handy guide to Trendy French Intellectuals.-- RU Sirius [...]

French Sadean tradition

'... the French tradition represented by Sade, Lautreamont, Bataille, and the authors of Story of O and The Image... [Catherine Robbe-Grillet] suggests that "the obscene" is a primal notion of human consciousness, something much more profound than the backwash of a sick society's aversion to the body. Human sexuality is, quite apart from Christian repressions, a highly questionable phenomenon, and belongs, at least potentially, among the extreme rather than the ordinary experiences of humanity. Tamed as it may be, sexuality remains one of the demonic forces in human consciousness - pushing us at intervals close to taboo and dangerous desires, which range from the impulse to commit sudden arbitrary violence upon another person to the voluptuous yearning for the extinction of one's consciousness, for death itself." --Susan Sontag

French Popular Culture: An Introduction (2003) - Hugh Dauncey

French Popular Culture: An Introduction (2003) - Hugh Dauncey [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Setting out the key issues for understanding French popular culture, this introductory textbook looks at topics such as the media, music and fashion. It provides a structured and coherent analysis of the economics and politics behind popular culture, as well as a discussion of its social and cultural significance. Bringing together an international team of experts in French Studies, the book focuses on the period 1945-2000, and supports its discussion with a range of pedagogic tools such as a series of case studies, topics for discussion and further study, and an annotated reading list.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture (1998) - Alex Hughes (Editor), Keith Reader (Editor)

Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture (1998) - Alex Hughes (Editor), Keith Reader (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Library Journal
Although broad in scope, this rudimentary guide to post-1945 French and Francophone culture offers a respectable amount of authoritative information for the lay reader. The more than 700 entries include economy, fashion and design, food and drink, media, the arts, politics, sport, and more. Entries range from the brief and factual to lengthy, essay-type contributions. For instance, the description and analysis of the riots of May 1968 extend over almost four pages, whereas people usually get much briefer coverage (four or five lines). It is not always clear what criteria the editors used to determine the amount of information: Marc Chagall's entry is slightly shorter than that of Mehdi Charef, a young writer/director. Typically, entries begin with factual information and end with suggestions for further reading and numerous cross references to other related topics. An extensive index makes information easily accessible and seems more useful than the list of subject headings at the start of the book. This encyclopedia, prepared and edited by English-speaking academics, presupposes no knowledge of French or contemporary French history and institutions. Understandably, it is not comprehensive; there is no entry for the Eiffel Tower or other French monuments, for instance. Recommended especially for public libraries.AAli Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

From Booklist
This encyclopedia, current through 1997, presents "over 700 alphabetical entries on key aspects of French culture since 1945 . . . [covering] topics which traditional reference works often neglect." The editors are university based, as are the contributors, though no subjects of specialty nor prior publications are given for any. Emphasizing cross-disciplinary concerns, and a movement "away from the . . . duo of language and canonical literature . . . to incorporate cinema, political and social institutions, gender-based studies, and critical theory," this work would be of utility to college and university students not only in French programs but in areas such as cinema studies, literary theory, or political science.

Some examples of entries are AIDS, cinema, detective fiction, gastronomy, legal system, Pompidou Centre and the Forum des Halles, poststructuralism, racism/anti-Semitism, and student revolt of 1986. People covered in biograpical entries have contributed to the culture in a variety of ways and include, among others, Isabelle Adjani, Roland Barthes, Christian Dior, Le Corbusier, and Jean-Marie Le Pen. Lengthy articles (up to four pages) are generally reserved for such broad topics as architecture, feminist thought, and psychoanalysis. Most articles have useful cross-references either embedded or appended. Longer articles also include annotated suggestions for further reading. Many of the cited works are in French, making the book most useful as a starting point for in-depth research for those with at least reading fluency in that language. There are, however, enough English-language sources to help the monolingual researcher. In addition to the index, there is a "classified contents list" that groups topics by subject.

Coverage is generally quite thorough, especially in cultural, political, and arts-related fields. Factually correct and balanced in presentation, the encyclopedia gives a multidimensional, if pedantically written, view of current French culture. More comprehensive, if less readable, than James Corbett's nonencyclopedic Through French Windows: An Introduction to France in the Nineties (Univ. of Michigan, 1994), this fills a niche in cross-disciplinary studies. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

From the erotic writing lemma:
Deforges is not the only specialist publisher whose name springs to mind in the context of literary erotica. Éditeurs in this field include Éric Losfeld, a Surrealist who published erotic works clandestinely (`sous le manteau') and officially; Claude Tchou, whose Circle du Livre Précieux series included erotic `classics' and new texts; and Jean-Jacques Pauvert, whose efforts to bring out new editions of the works of Sade encountered legal obstacles in the 1950s. Yet other publishers specializing in the erotico-literary domain are are Christian Bourgois, La Jeune Parque, Spengler, and Zulma. As Brécourt-Villars indicates, after 1964 mainstream maisons d'édition such as Gallimard also began to publish erotic fiction (Brécourt-Villars 1985).

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