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In this lucid and innovative volume, three distinguished scholars trace this history of French literature from its beginnings to the present day. From the oral, unstable anonymous works of the early Middle Ages via the emergence of a print culture in the Renaissance, through to the attempted codification of genres and styles in the nineteenth century and the resourceful experimentation of the twentieth, A Short History of French Literature demonstrates the world importance of French literature, and the extraordinary richness of its range. The three main parts of the volume cover the Middle Ages, the Early Modern period, and the Modern period, and offer wide-ranging, personal, and detailed coverage of major writers and movements. Writing for the interested general reader as much as for students, the authors range expertly between authors and their works, historical events, and literary movements, offering as a whole an authoritative and innovative account of the history of French literature.