The French Critic, 1549-1967

The French Critic, 1549-1967

The French Critic, 1549-1967

The French Critic, 1549-1967

Excerpt

French literature, massive and complex, has in the last two centuries produced a massive and complex literature of criticism. Although generally concerned with French writing, this criticism is often philosophical, and in a way that becomes universal. In the present book Wallace Fowlie investigates its nature, and it is good to have a work of serious scholarship that is so readable.

He begins in 1549, withJoachim du Bellay Défense et illustration de la langue française, but he spends only a dozen pages on critics before the nineteenth century. These dozen pages are, however, a valid and important treatment, Gallic in its forceful conciseness. Mr. Fowlie then presents a chapter on "Creative Criticism," ranging from Charles Baudelaire to André Gide and discussing the frequent occurrence, in French literature, of the imaginative writer who is also a critic. He also takes up the professional critics, the men who were critics alone, such as Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, as well as the Catholic critics, the existentialists, and others, coming right up to the moment with discussions of Claude Lévi-Strauss and other "structuralists" whose work is so influential today.

Mr. Fowlie's method is one of exposition, analysis, and evaluation. He does little quoting, but his paraphrastic sharpness serves him well in projecting the ideas of all these critics; again he is Gallic in his epigrammatic force. We have long needed just such a book in English.

Henri Peyre has rightly spoken of Wallace Fowlie as the leading American-born critic of French literature. He . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.