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The Literary Culture of France: Studies in the Essential Character and Permanent Values of French Literature from the Earliest Times to the Present Paperback – March 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


This work of Dr. Dixon is impressive, solid, sound, and reliable both in its contents and in its presentation. I want also to emphasize the need for this collection of writings: accessible to English-speaking students and to a larger audience, this book serves a valuable purpose in demonstrating the diversity of literary and cultural approaches as well as reminding the modern reader of traditional and long-acclaimed theories. Universalism has been challenged only in recent decades and this collection of studies underlines its former strength and grandeur. As a professor of French in an English-speaking University, I would be happy to use this book for studies in culture and civilization. 

 - Hélène Cazès, University of Victoria

As a believer in Europe’s civilization and varied cultures as prime movers in the progress of humanity I warmly welcome Jack Dixon’s broad and enriching surveys through the eyes of the most prominent experts as well as his own of one of Europe’s great literatures. Through her literature we can evaluate France’s distinctive culture and measure her, in some ways disproportionately large, contribution to Europe’s literary art and thought. A timely and outstanding introduction to French literature.

- Frederic Delouche, Editor of Europe, A History of its Peoples and Illustrated History of Europe

The reader wonders, at first glance, how it is that a work such as this has not been published before. Since the springtime known as the Renaissance, French writers have toiled passionately over the very characteristics which, to their minds, define the literature which they themselves are busily making illustrious. We consider this undertaking both original and needed, for this collection of studies is impressive by virtue of both the coherence and the diversity of the texts, drawn as they are from a period of one hundred years.

These reflections bring out the essential moral and intellectual values that direct French literary creation not only in search of wisdom, but also within each literary genre. These permanent virtues are insisted on by the defenders of “tradition,” and equally for the “ruptures” which, paradoxically, work on behalf of the persistence of the French genius.

The French-speaking reader will appreciate the elegance and clarity of the translations which allow him to read and re-read texts some of which are not easy to obtain. This work is dedicated specifically to all those who, by their words as by their deeds, take up the cause of freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth.

- Guy Demerson, Clermont-Ferrand

Critics play a role in the growth and development of many facets of the human enterprise, but one cannot overestimate their importance for the vitality of cultural and intellectual renewal. Literary critics in particular are crucial for analysing a work and for detecting the values and ideas that constitute its specificity. In terms of French literature, for example, critics have taught us what is distinctive (for instance, seventeenth-century classicism), and what is part of a wider European movement (eighteenth-century romanticism). In short, they have contributed to defining the quintessential spirit of French literature.

The present work reflects Dr Dixon’s lifelong interest in both the literature of France and its critical tradition. He is eminently qualified to undertake this work of synthesizing the critics’ view of French literature through the ages...

- Carol J. Harvey, University of Winnipeg

--New English Review

About the Author

Jack Dixon was born in England and following school joined the Royal Air Force to begin aircrew training in 1943. He gained his pilot's 'wings' too late for active combat and left the Service shortly after. He studied in France for a year before going to Merton College Oxford in 1949, graduating with an honours degree in Modern Languages. During his time at Oxford he flew with the University Air Squadron for 3 years. He emigrated to Canada in 1952, and after five years with the Royal Canadian Air Force, he took his PhD at Stanford, in 1963-65, and taught French Language and Literature at the University of Winnipeg for 31 years, retiring to Victoria, on Vancouver Island in 1991. He has published four previous books, of which may be mentioned Concordance des Œuvres complètes de François Rabelais (Genève, Droz, 1992) and Dowding and Churchill. The Dark Side of the Battle of Britain (Barnsley, Pen and Sword, 2008). In 1959 he married his wife, Rika who, was born in Arnhem, Holland. They have a daughter, Jacqueline, a water resource management officer in Manitoba. The author is currently finishing a Memoir of his wife's and her family's ordeals in Holland during the War; and is preparing a book on disobeying orders in war.

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