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A History of French Literature

Short Histories of the Literatures of the World: Vol. II.

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Author: Edward Dowden
Published: 1897
Language: English
Wordcount: 118,314 / 377 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 34.8
LoC Category: PQ
Downloads: 491
Added to site: 2008.02.28
mnybks.net#: 20177
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genres: Non-fiction, History
Excerpt

>Great events and persons, a religious and national spirit, and a genius for heroic narrative being given, epic literature arises, as it were, inevitably. Short poems, partly narrative, partly lyrical, celebrate victories or defeats, the achievements of conquerors or defenders, and are sung to relieve or to sustain the passion of the time. The French epopee had its origin in the national songs of the Germanic invaders of Gaul, adopted from their conquerors by the Gallo-Romans. With the baptism of Clovis at Reims, and the acceptance of Christianity by the Franks (496), a national consciousness began to exist--a national and religious ideal arose. Epic heroes--Clovis, Clotaire, Dagobert, Charles Martel--became centres for the popular imagination; an echo of the Dagobert songs is found in Floovent, a poem of the twelfth century; eight Latin lines, given in the Vie de Saint Faron by Helgaire, Bishop of Meaux, preserve, in their ninth-century rendering, a fragment of the songs which celebrated Cl

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