French by Theodore Zeldin
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French
By Theodore Zeldin

The French

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Format: Paperback

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French by Theodore Zeldin

Book Awards

  • Winner of Enid McLeod Literary Award 1983.

Book Description

This is a guide to France intended for the traveller who wants to get to know French people as individuals, for the negotiating businessman and for students who wishes to discover in-depth aspects of their lives. It looks at what makes up the national character of France.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860460753
ISBN-10: 1860460755
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 36mm)
Pages: 560
Imprint: The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 16-Jan-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...


Books By Author Theodore Zeldin

Hidden Pleasures of Life by Theodore Zeldin Hidden Pleasures of Life, Paperback (June 2016)

An indispensable guide to living a full life from the bestselling author of An Intimate History of Humanity

Intimate History of Humanity by Theodore Zeldin Intimate History of Humanity, Paperback (September 1995)

The author of "The French", "Happiness" and "A History of French Passions" writes about the history of human feelings, habits, emotions and perceptions across time. Zeldin looks at the dilemmas of ordinary life, exploring the intimate experience of men and women through the ages.

History of French Passions by Theodore Zeldin History of French Passions, Paperback (October 1993)

This is a history of the French, which tries to explain their idiosyncrasies, enthusiasms and prejudices. This first part scrutinizes the way of thinking and of talking adopted by the French, their sense of national identity, and their ambivalent feelings about foreigners.

» View all books by Theodore Zeldin

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » This is a book for anyone who has ever found the French elusive, obstinate, irritating, perplexing or simply enthralling. The French magazine L'Usine Nouvelle says that Zeldin, Oxford don and author of several brilliant thematic studies of French social history, 'understands us better than our politicians, our employers, our wives and our children'. And so he does. Unputdownable. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The French? Individuals. Diverse individuals - intricately related to one another and to the patchwork that is France. Thus, British historian Zeldin carries forth into the present the broad sweep and minute scrutiny of his magisterial, multi-volume social history, France 1848-1945. The book is set up, slyly, like a tourist guide. (It is also speckled with French cartoons of French foibles.) Under stock headings - "How to tell them apart," "How to make sense of their language" - Zeldin does more than spoof stereotypes, and expose stereotypical thinking: he draws forth the stories of individual Frenchmen (no gender-neutral equivalent exists) and thus bares what can only be called the human condition, its common qualities and local inflections. "The French probably have more interesting things to say about what it means to be human," Zeldin remarks, "than about what it means to be French." To their testimony, he brings microscopic historical knowledge - the beret marked the Frenchman only from 1923 to the 1950s, "the age of Renoir" - and transcending historical vision: 18th-century France "held a place in the world which was not altogether different from that later assumed by America, the asylum of free men, the source of amazing new opportunities. . . ." Today, lacking berets or universal ideals, what distinguishes the French? Their language; their food - though diminishingly; but not their chic ("there is French taste, and French good taste") or their sex lives (Brigitte Bardot, Yves Montand, the commonality). Far more intriguing is their nonconformity to type. One of Zeldin's most eloquent subjects is the drop-out diplomat, contented for some years as a carpenter (though his family round the conviviality trying), who "still feels the need for more adventure": the Utopian strain, and the restlessness, appears in others. There is much intercourse with things American, and fine adjustments to regionalism. It is a rich, nuanced portrait - peering into education, medical practices, religion, "the revolt of 1968." At the close, Zeldin considers the identity of Sanche de Gramont/Ted Morgan. Highly civilized, highly readable. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Theodore Zeldin

THEODORE ZELDIN is a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford. His two-volume history, France 1848-1945 (1973,1977) received international acclaim: The Times called it "brilliant, original, entertaining and inexhaustible"; Paris Match said that is was "the most perspicacious, the most deeply researched, the liveliest and the most enthralling panorama of French passions." His other books include the novel Happiness (1988). Theodore Zeldin has been awarded the Wolfson Prize and figures on Magazine Litteraire's list of the hundreds most important thinkers in the world today.

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