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French and Francophone History   Tags: french france francophone history  

A guide to resources for French and Francophone history
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Primary vs Secondary

Library Guide explaining primary and secondary resources from the History, Philosphy and Newspaper Library


Introductory Books

Chronique de la France et des Français. Edited by Jean Favier et al. Paris: Larousse, 1987.

Uses a journalistic approach to explain the history of France from prehistoric times to 1986. The year-by-year order of articles and their newspaper-like arrangement on the page accompanied by multiple images create the journalistic effect. At the end of the volume there are a series of short articles on each of the French provinces and territories, as well as genealogical charts of the royal houses and a one-page list of governments since the Revolution.

Dictionnaire d'histoire de France Perrin. Edited by Alain Decaux and André Castelot. Paris: Librairie Académique Perrin, 1981.

This is a hefty volume of nearly 1100 large-format pages. The articles are arranged alphabetically and are encyclopedic in length, with many drawings, diagrams and photos (mostly black and white). An aid to situating an historical event or figure before undertaking more extensive research.

Dictionnaire de l'Ancien Régime: royaume de France, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Edited by Lucien Bély. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1996.

The focus of the entries in this volume is on concepts and institutions of the Ancien Régime rather than on individual persons. Indexes allow the reader to relate specific persons, places and ideas that do not receive separate treatment to the established entries, which are arranged alphabetically. The 1-2 page articles are scholarly and without illustrations, signed by university professors. They include bibliographical references and cross-references to related articles in the volume.

Français!  notre histoire, nos passions Carl Aderhold and Renaud Thomazo, directors.  Larousse/Vuef, Oct. 2003.

A wonderful introduction to French history as well as contemporary culture, with beautiful illustrations and photographs. Includes a general index of topics, events, and historical figures.

Encyclopaedia universalis. 23 vols. + 4 vol. "Thésaurus-Index" + 1 vol. "Chiffres du Monde". Paris: Encyclopaedia Universalis, 1996.

A standard encyclopedia (not just of France), it is organized very much like the popular Encyclopedia Britannica. The Thésaurus-Index provides brief articles and references to longer treatments in the 23 main volumes. Illustrations are mostly black and white. The "Chiffres du Monde" volume is like a yearbook:  the first section gives economic summaries for countries in essay form, while the second section has entries for each country with small black and white maps and the kinds of information ordinarily found in a gazetteer.

Twentieth Century

The Cambridge Companion to Modern French Culture. Edited by Nicholas Hewitt.  Cambridge University Press, 2003.

A collection of essays on the history and culture of France in the 20th and early 21st centuries.  Begins with a chronology of historical events from 1900 to 2002.  Includes such topics as architecture, the mass media, consumerism, language, religion and politics, literature, music, the visual arts, and cinema.  The index lists topics, events, and historical figures.

Contemporary French Cultural Studies. Edited by William Kidd and Siân Reynolds. London: Arnold, 2000.

A series of essays discussing such issues as "How the French present is shaped by the past," French cultural policy, French education, culture and identity in France today, and French media at the turn of the 21st century.

La culture de masse en France : de la Belle Epoque à aujourd'hui. Paris: Fayard, 2002.

French culture and society: a glossary.  Edited by Michael Kelly.  London: Arnold, 2001.

An alphabetically-arranged guide to historical, social and political topics, and ideas and movements in culture from A.B.C., "the most successful PARIS MUSIC-HALL venue from the 1930s to the 1950s," to ZINEDINE ZIDANE, "currently France's most famous and popular FOOTBALL (soccer) player."  Within entries, words in all-caps indicate cross-listings.  Includes a fairly extensive bibliography.

La vie quotidienne des français au xx e siècle: un siècle d'émotions et de passions . Paris: Booster, 1999.

Traces French history and culture throughout the 20th century, with essays and about 2,000 photos and illustrations.  Following an introduction to the general trends and developments of the century, there is a chapter for each decade divided into four sections:  "Émotion," "Actualitées," "Petit journal de la vie quotidienne," and "Événements et tendances."  Concludes with a chronology of major events.

Literatures and Languages Librarian

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Paula Carns
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