Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture

By Alex Hughes; Keith Reader | Go to book overview

See also: song/chanson


Major works

b
Brassens, G. (1993) Les Chansons d'abord (collected song lyrics).

Further reading

c
Calvet, L.-J. (1993) Georges Brassens, Paris: Payot (biographically oriented study).

Braudel, Fernand

b. 1902, France;

d. 1985, Paris

Intellectual

Perhaps France's most influential postwar historian, Braudel was from 1956 the editor of the journal Annales, was instrumental in the setting-up of the sixth section of the École Pratique des Hautes Études (later the institutional bastion of structuralism), and founded the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, later to be the power-base of Bourdieu. His institutional importance is fully matched by that of his writing. La Méditerranée of 1947 (on the sixteenth century) and 1979's Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme (XVe-XVIIIe siècle) are two of the century's major works of history. Braudel was elected to the Academic Française shortly before his death.

KEITH READER

Brel, Jacques

b. 1929, Brussels;

d. 1978, Paris

Singer-songwriter

Brel, together with Brassens, is regarded as one of the great icons of postwar chanson. Following a middle-class Catholic education in Brussels, Brel escaped his father's cardboard-box factory, to make his debut in 1953 at the Théatre des Trois Baudets in Paris. He initially adopted a lyrical voice in the songs of the 1950s, combining religious and moral zeal with youthful romanticism, typified in 'Quand on n'a que l'amour' (If We Only Have Love), earning from Brassens the nickname l'Abbé Brel (Abbot Brel).

Following a heightened sense of pessimism and disillusionment towards the end of the 1950s, especially where women and love were concerned, as in 'Ne me quitte pas' (If You Go Away), Brel's lyricism was eclipsed by the development of two additional voices. The first satirized middle-class society in songs such as 'Les Bourgeois' (The Bourgeois), and 'Les Flamandes' (The Flemish Women) which made him unpopular in Flanders. Brel's attack was, however, of more universal significance, addressing those who fall into immobility, deny their intelligence and individuality, and refuse to be existentially committed in life. The second voice was developed in a series of invented characters which served to renew his hope of finding the perfect love ('Madeleine', 'Titine', 'Les Bonbons').

The optimism generated in these dramatic songs faded by 1968 with the triumph of death and time, as in 'J'arrive' (I'm Coming). Songs such as 'Les Bonbons 67', the sequel to 'Les Bonbons', degenerated into parody and the burlesque, as characters could no longer hold on to any serious goal in life. Resigned to a more realistic notion of love, as in 'La Chanson des vieux amants' ('The Song of the Old Lovers'), the lyrical narrator returned, escaping nostalgically back towards an idealized childhood. Given the pessimism and escapism of his 1967-8 work, it is perhaps not coincidental that Brel decided to stop his concert tours.

During the 1970s, he went on to star as Don Quixote in the musical Homme de la Mancha (Man of La Mancha), produced and acted in several films, and developed a passion for sailing and flying, all before settling in the

-79-

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Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface x
  • Introduction xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Classified Contents List xiv
  • A 1
  • Further Reading 3
  • Further Reading 13
  • Further Reading 18
  • Further Reading 26
  • Further Reading 27
  • Further Reading 30
  • B 44
  • Further Reading 66
  • Further Reading 70
  • Major Works 79
  • C 85
  • Further Reading 91
  • Further Reading 99
  • Further Reading 111
  • Further Reading 113
  • D 135
  • Further Reading 144
  • Further Reading 150
  • Major Works 152
  • E 168
  • Further Reading 194
  • F 197
  • Further Reading 200
  • Further Reading 207
  • Major Works 214
  • Further Reading 245
  • G 252
  • Further Reading 279
  • Further Reading 280
  • H 283
  • I 290
  • Further Reading 297
  • J 302
  • Further Reading 303
  • Major Works 307
  • K 310
  • Further Reading 317
  • L 318
  • Major Works 324
  • Major Works 325
  • M 350
  • Further Reading 352
  • Further Reading 354
  • Major Works 364
  • Further Reading 379
  • Further Reading 380
  • N 388
  • Further Reading 397
  • O 401
  • P 404
  • Further Reading 419
  • Major Works 424
  • Q 449
  • R 450
  • Further Reading 462
  • Further Reading 469
  • Major Works 470
  • Major Works 472
  • Further Reading 474
  • S 478
  • Further Reading 484
  • Further Reading 508
  • T 515
  • U 540
  • V 544
  • Further Reading 549
  • Further Reading 554
  • W 555
  • Further Reading 560
  • X 568
  • Y 569
  • Index 572
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