An Introduction to the French Poets : Villon to the Present Day book cover
1st Edition

An Introduction to the French Poets
Villon to the Present Day

ISBN 9781032252902
Published April 8, 2022 by Routledge
334 Pages

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Book Description

The French poetry of some five centuries is here surveyed in a series of studies of the work and personality of individual poets from Villon to the present day. Each chapter is primarily concerned with establishing the ‘literary identity’ of the poet or poets with whom it deals: the work of each is outlined and related to the historical and biographical circumstances in which it was written; and its characteristics are then examined critically in terms relevant to the modern reader. Comparisons are made between different poets, and more general topics – such as the concepts of ‘classic’ and ‘baroque’ – are discussed.

This book, first published in 1956, had become a standard introductory work for students of French poetry and general readers alike. For this revised edition, originally published in 1973, new chapters have been added on ‘irregular’ seventeenth-century poets and on various modern poets whose work now enables the Surrealist movement to be seen in clearer perspective. The bibliography has been revised extensively.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition, 1. François Villon, 2. Pierre de Ronsard, 3. Joachim Du Bellay, 4. Other Sixteenth-Century Poets, 5. François Malherbe: the Baroque and the Classic, 6. Irregular Seventeenth-Century Poets, 7. Jean Racine, 8. Jean de La Fontaine, 9. André Chénier, 10. Alphonse de Lamartine, 11. Alfred de Vigny, 12. Victor Hugo, 13. Alfred de Musset, 14. Charles Baudelaire, 15. Leconte de Lisle and Heredia, 16. Paul Verlaine, 17. Arthur Rimbaud, 18. Stéphane Mallarmé, 19. Other Nineteenth-Century Poets, 20. Claudel and Apollinaire, 21. Paul Valéry, 22. The Impact of Surrealism, 23. Some Other Modern Poets, Bibliography, Index

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Geoffrey Brereton


Review for the original 1973 edition:

‘Any reader who, like myself, enjoys French poetry without being an expert on it, will be enlightened and stimulated… Enjoying the works that he discusses, he makes his enjoyment infectious. I believe this to be the first duty of the critic, and I firmly recommend this book.’

Raymond Mortimer, Sunday Times