In this Very Short Introduction, Vanessa Schwartz argues that modern France, as both a world stage and a global crossroads, is an essential actor in the development of contemporary culture. Indeed, French is the only language other than English spoken on five continents, and more people still visit France than anywhere else in the world. French fashion continues to dominate haute couture and, at the same time, French people are at the forefront of
international "style," which was as true in the first half of the twentieth century as it is today. This tension between "Frenchness" as both particular and transnational remains one of the most compelling qualities of the culture. If French culture and culture producers are working around the globe, if Paris is an
international capital, the marvel is that France still manages to attract visitors from all over the world seeking out the drama of its historic castles and significant battlefields, its more than 300 cheeses and the renowned wines grown in its rich soil.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 152
Weight: 120 g
Dimensions: 173 x 121 x 18 mm
"This quite brilliant 'introductory essay' has as its main point that the specificity of French collective identity and culture is - and has always been - in its ability to blend a very strong sense of national self with universalist values. Everyone who wants to know more about modern French culture and history should read this book." -Patrice Higonnet, Robert Walton Goelet Professor of French History, Harvard University
"How could anyone boil down modern France to, what, 30,000 words? It's impossible, of course. To approach the subject in the space of two journal articles, you'd have to make a series of strategic choices, settle on an angle of attack, discard strict chronology, and focus on what interests you the most. Vanessa Schwartz did all these things and more in this gem of an essay on modern France, a book that will be useful and enjoyable to specialists and general readers alike."--H-France Review