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See also: Rulers of France since 987 (table)Rulers of France since 987
(including dates of reign)
Hugh Capet, 987–96
Robert II (the Pious), son of Hugh Capet, 996–1031
Henry I, son of Robert II, 1031–60
Philip I, son of Henry I, 1060–1108
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France(frăns, Fr. fräNs), officially French Republic, republic (2015 est. pop. 64,457,000), 211,207 sq mi (547,026 sq km), W Europe. France is bordered by the English Channel (N), the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay (W), Spain and Andorra (SW), the Mediterranean Sea (S; the location of the island of CorsicaCorsica
, Fr. Corse, island (1990 pop. 251,000), 3,352 sq mi (8,682 sq km), a region of metropolitan France, SE of France and N of Sardinia, in the Mediterranean Sea. Ajaccio, the capital, and Bastia are the chief towns and ports.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Switzerland and Italy (SE), and Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium (NE). The natural land frontiers are the Pyrenees, along the border with Spain; the Jura Mts. and the Alps, along the border with Switzerland and Italy; and the Rhine River, which is part of the border with Germany. France's capital and largest city is ParisParis
, city (1999 pop. 2,115,757; metropolitan area est. pop. 11,000,000), N central France, capital of the country, on the Seine River. It is the commercial and industrial focus of France and a cultural and intellectual center of international renown.
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Although France's old historic provinces were abolished by the Revolution, they remain the country's basic geographic, cultural, and economic divisions. These provinces mirror France's natural geographic regions and, despite modern administrative centralization, retain their striking diversity. The heart of France N of the Loire River is the province of Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France
, region and former province, N central France, in the center of the Paris basin, a fertile depression where the Marne and Ouse rivers join the Seine.
..... Click the link for more information. , which occupies the greater part of the Paris basin, a fertile depression drained by the Seine and Marne rivers. The basin is surrounded by the provinces of ChampagneChampagne
, historic region and former province, NE France, consisting mainly of Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne, and Ardennes depts., which formed the modern administrative region of Champagne-Ardenne from 1972–2016, when it was merged, with Alsace and Lorraine, into the region
..... Click the link for more information. and LorraineLorraine
, Ger. Lothringen, former province and former administrative region, NE France, bordering in the N on Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany, in the E on Alsace, in the S on Franche-Comté, and in the W on Champagne.
..... Click the link for more information. in the east; ArtoisArtois
, region and former province, in Pas-de-Calais dept., N France, near the English Channel, between Picardy and Flanders. Arras is the chief city. Largely agricultural, it contains diverse industries, and occupies part of the once-productive Franco-Belgian coal basin.
..... Click the link for more information. , PicardyPicardy
, Fr. Picardie, region and former province, N France, on the English Channel, part of the French administrative region of Hauts-de-France. It includes the Somme, Oise, and Aisne depts.
..... Click the link for more information. , French Flanders (see NordNord
, department (1990 pop. 2,533,000), N France, bordering on the North Sea and Belgium. Lille is the capital.
..... Click the link for more information. dept.), and NormandyNormandy
, Fr. Normandie , region and former province, NW France, bordering on the English Channel. It now includes five departments—Manche, Calvados, Eure, Seine-Maritime, and Orne. Normandy is a region of flat farmland, forests, and gentle hills.
..... Click the link for more information. in the northeast and north; BrittanyBrittany
, Breton Breiz, Fr. Bretagne, region and former province, NW France. It is a peninsula between the English Channel (N) and the Bay of Biscay (S) and comprises four departments, Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d'Armor, Finistère, and Morbihan.
..... Click the link for more information. , MaineMaine
, region and former province, NW France, S of Normandy and E of Brittany. It now comprises the departments of Mayenne and Sarthe and parts of Loire-et-Cher, Eure-et-Loir, and Orne. Le Mans, the historic capital, is an important industrial and commercial center.
..... Click the link for more information. , and AnjouAnjou
, region and former province, W France, coextensive roughly with Maine-et-Loire and parts of Indre-et-Loire, Mayenne, and Sarthe depts. Angers, the historic capital, and Saumur are the chief towns.
..... Click the link for more information. in the west; and TouraineTouraine
, region and former province (until the French Revolution), W central France, centering around Tours (the historic capital) and drained by the Loire, Cher, and Vienne rivers. Roughly coextensive with Indre-et-Loire dept.
..... Click the link for more information. , OrléanaisOrléanais
, region and former province, N central France, on both sides of the Loire River. Orléans, the historic capital, Chartres, and Blois are the chief cities. The region includes Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, and parts of Eure-et-Loir and Yonne depts.
..... Click the link for more information. , NivernaisNivernais
, region and former province, central France. It roughly coincides with Nièvre dept. Drained by the Loire and the Yonne, it is a hilly plateau, rising to the Morvan Mts. in the east. It has metallurgical, chemical, and livestock industries.
..... Click the link for more information. , and BurgundyBurgundy
, Fr. Bourgogne , historic region, E France. The name once applied to a large area embracing several kingdoms, a free county (see Franche-Comté), and a duchy.
..... Click the link for more information. in the south. Further south are BerryBerry
, former province, central France. Bourges, the capital, and Châteauroux are the chief towns. Cattle are raised on the Champagne Berrichonne, a semiarid plateau that covers most of the region. The valleys of the Indre and the Cher rivers are rich farming areas.
..... Click the link for more information. and BourbonnaisBourbonnais
, former province, central France, in the northern part of the Massif Central. It was approximately the same area as today's Allier dept. It is a largely arid plateau (except for the fertile Limagne area in the west).
..... Click the link for more information. . Further east, between the Vosges Mts. and the Rhine, is AlsaceAlsace
, Ger. Elsass, former province and former administrative region, E France. It is separated from Germany by a part of the Rhine River. It comprises the departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and the Territory of Belfort (a department created after the Franco-Prussian
..... Click the link for more information. ; S of Alsace, along the Jura, is Franche-ComtéFranche-Comté
or Free County of Burgundy,
former province and former administrative region, E France. It is coextensive with Haute-Saône, Doubs, and Jura depts.
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South-central France is occupied by the rugged mountains of the Massif Central, one of the country's major natural features. It comprises the provinces of MarcheMarche
, region and former province, central France, on the NW margin of the Massif Central. It is coextensive with Creuse dept., much of the Haute-Vienne dept., and parts of Vienne, Indre, and Charente depts. Guéret is the chief town.
..... Click the link for more information. , Limousin, Auvergne, and LyonnaisLyonnais
, region and former province, E central France, now divided into the Rhône and Loire depts. It included Lyonnais proper (the region around Lyons, its capital), which Philip IV acquired c.
..... Click the link for more information. . To the E of the Rhône River, which divides the Massif Central from the Alps, are SavoySavoy
, Fr. Savoie, Alpine region of E France. The boundaries of old Savoy have changed with time, but presently the region comprises the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie.
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, region and former province, SE France, bordering on Italy. It is now divided into three departments, Haute-Alpes, Isère, and Drôme. In the east the Alps culminate in the Barre des Écrins; their magnificent scenery attracts many tourists.
..... Click the link for more information. , and ProvenceProvence
, region and former province, SE France. It encompasses what now are Var, Vaucluse, and Bouches-du-Rhône depts. and (in part) Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes depts.
..... Click the link for more information. . The French Alps have some of the highest peaks in Europe, including Mont Blanc. The Rhône valley widens into a plain near its delta on the Mediterranean; part of the coast of Provence forms the celebrated French RivieraRiviera
, narrow coastal strip between the Alps and the Mediterranean, extending, roughly, from La Spezia (Italy) to Hyères (France). Famous for its scenic beauty and for its mild winter climate, and dotted with fashionable resorts, hotels, and villas, the Riviera is a
..... Click the link for more information. . LanguedocLanguedoc
, region and former province, S France, bounded by the foot of the Pyrenees, the upper Garonne River, the Auvergne Mts., the Rhône, and the Mediterranean.
..... Click the link for more information. extends from the Cevennes Mts. to the Mediterranean coast W of the Rhône. Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast. The southwestern part of France comprises the small Pyrenean provinces of RoussillonRoussillon
, small region and former province, S France, bordering on Spain along the Pyrenees and on the Mediterranean, part of the administrative region of Occitania. It is now roughly coextensive with Pyrénées-Orientales dept. Perpignan is the historical capital.
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, town (1990 pop. 10,466), capital of Ariège dept., S France, on the Ariège River at the foot of the Pyrenees. It is an administrative and tourist center with some small industry.
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, former province, SW France, in the Pyrenees. It is now the inland part of Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept. Its valleys are well cultivated, and cattle are bred. Pau replaced Orthez as the capital in the 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , and French NavarreNavarre
, Span. Navarra , autonomous community and province (2011 pop. 640,129), 4,012 sq mi (10,391 sq km), N Spain, bordering on France, between the W Pyrenees and the Ebro River. Pamplona is the capital.
..... Click the link for more information. and the vast provinces of GasconyGascony
, Fr. Gascogne, region of SW France. It is now coextensive with the departments of Landes, Gers, and Hautes-Pyrénées and parts of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haute-Garonne, Gironde, and Ariège.
..... Click the link for more information. and GuienneGuienne,
Fr. Guyenne , region of SW France. The name referred to different territories at different times. Guienne as it existed from the time of Henry IV (late 16th–early 17th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. . The last two constitute the great Aquitanian plain, drained by the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, which flow into the Bay of Biscay. The central section of the west coast, between the Gironde estuary and the Loire, is occupied by the provinces of SaintongeSaintonge
, region of W France, on the Bay of Biscay. It is now part of the Charente-Maritime dept. Cattle and sheep raising, dairying, and the manufacture of cognac from grapes grown along the Charente River are the major occupations; oysters are harvested along the coast.
..... Click the link for more information. , AngoumoisAngoumois
, region and former province, W France, now coextensive with most of Charente dept. Angoulême is the historic capital and chief city. In the region is the Charente valley, with its excellent vineyards; the brandy made from their grapes is named for Cognac, the
..... Click the link for more information. , AunisAunis
, small region and former province, W France, on the Atlantic coast. It is now part of the Charente-Maritime and Deux-Sèvres depts. and includes the islands of Ré and Oléron.
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, region and former province, W France, stretching from the Atlantic coast eastward beyond the Vienne River. The former province encompassed three modern departments—Vendée in the west, Deux-Sèvres in the center, and Vienne in the east—as well as
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Since 1972 France has been administratively divided into regions, which now number 18 as a result of consolidation. The 13 that metropolitan France is divided into are Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Brittany, Burgundy–Franche-Comté, Center–Val de Loire, Corsica, Grand Est, Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, New Aquitaine, Normandy, Occitania, Pays de la Loire, and Provence–Alpes–Côte d'Azur.
France also has a number of overseas departments, territories, and countries which, legally, are part of the French Republic. The overseas departments, which also are regions, are MartiniqueMauritania
, officially Islamic Republic of Mauritania, republic (2015 est. pop. 386,000), 397,953 sq mi (1,030,700 sq km), NW Africa. Fort-de-France is the capital. The department and the island of Martinique are coextensive.
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, overseas department and administrative region of France (2015 est. pop. 450,000), 687 sq mi (1,779 sq km), in the Leeward Islands, West Indies. The department comprises the neighboring islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre (Guadeloupe proper) as well as
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, island and overseas department of France (2015 est. pop. 863,000), c.970 sq mi (2,510 sq km), one of the Mascarene Islands, in the Indian Ocean c.430 mi (690 km) E of Madagascar. Saint-Denis (the capital) and Le Port (the leading port) are the chief cities.
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, Fr. La Guyane française, officially Department of Guiana, French overseas department (2015 est. pop. 269,000), 35,135 sq mi (91,000 sq km), NE South America, on the Atlantic Ocean.
..... Click the link for more information. . The overseas countries and territories are New CaledoniaNew Caledonia,
Fr. Nouvelle Calédonie, officially Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies, internally self-governing dependency of France (2015 est. pop. 269,000), land area 7,241 sq mi (18,760 sq km), South Pacific, c.700 mi (1,130 km) E of Australia.
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officially Overseas Lands of French Polynesia, internally self-governing dependency (2015 est. pop. 278,000) of France, consisting of 118 islands in the South Pacific. The capital is Papeete, on Tahiti.
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, officially Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, French overseas territory (2015 est. pop. 12,000), 106 sq mi (274 sq km), S Pacific, W of Samoa and NE of Fiji.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. MayotteMayotte
, island (2015 est. pop. 240,000), 144 sq mi (374 sq km), French departmental collectivity, Indian Ocean, in the Comoro chain. Mamoudzou is the capital and largest city. The land is gently rolling, with some mountains of ancient volcanic origin and deep ravines.
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, French territorial collectivity (2015 est. pop. 6,000), 93 sq mi (241 sq km), consisting of nine small islands S of Newfoundland, Canada, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The capital is Saint Pierre on the island of the same name.
..... Click the link for more information. is a territorial collectivity.
About 75% of the population live in urban areas. Until the end of World War II the population increase in France was perhaps the lowest in Europe, but in postwar decades the rate has increased. The mingling of peoples over the centuries as well as immigration in the 20th and 21st cent. has given France great ethnic diversity. A large influx of predominantly North African immigrants has had a great effect on the cities, especially Paris and Marseille.
French is the nation's language. There are also a number of regional dialects, which are largely declining in usage. Alsatian, a German dialect, is spoken in Alsace and in parts of Lorraine. A small number speak Flemish, a Dutch dialect, in French Flanders. In Celtic Brittany, Breton is still spoken, as is Basque in the BayonneBayonne
, town (1990 pop. 41,846), Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept., SW France, in Gascony, on the Adour River near its entrance into the Bay of Biscay. Despite a shifting sandbar at the mouth of the Adour, it is a seaport, exporting sulfur, oil, and natural gas.
..... Click the link for more information. region, Provençal in Provence, Catalan at the eastern end of the Pyrenees, and Corsican on the island of Corsica.
Roman Catholicism is by far the largest religion in France, nominally professed by about 85% of the population, although only an estimated 5% are churchgoers. With growing immigration from Asia, Turkey, and North Africa, France also has a large Muslim population, estimated at 3 to 5 million. There are smaller numbers of Protestants and Jews. Separation of church and state was made final by law in 1905.
France is one of the world's major economic powers. Agriculture plays a larger role than in the economies of most other industrial countries. A large proportion of the value of total agricultural output derives from livestock (especially cattle, hogs, poultry, and sheep). The mountain areas and NW France are the livestock regions. The country's leading crops are wheat, sugar beets, corn, barley, and potatoes, with the most intensive cultivation N of the Loire; the soil in the Central Massif is less fertile. Fruit growing is important in the south. France is among the foremost producers of wine in the world. The best-known vineyards are in Burgundy, Champagne, the Rhône and Loire valleys, and the BordeauxBordeaux
, city (1990 pop. 213,274), capital of Gironde dept., SW France, on the Garonne River. Bordeaux is a major economic and cultural center, and a busy port accessible to oceangoing ships from the Atlantic through the Gironde River.
..... Click the link for more information. region. The centers of the wine trade are Bordeaux, ReimsReims
, city (1990 pop. 185,164), Marne dept., NE France, in Champagne. The center of the champagne industry, Reims is situated amid large vineyards. Before the champagne industry took on its present proportions in the 18th cent.
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, town (1990 pop. 27,738), Marne dept., NE France, on the Marne River. It is, next to Reims, the largest manufacturing center for champagne wine and the headquarters of some of the oldest firms, notably Moët.
..... Click the link for more information. , DijonDijon
, city (1990 pop. 151,636), capital of Côte-d'Or dept., E France, the old capital of Burgundy. It is a transportation hub and industrial center with food, metal-products, and electronics industries.
..... Click the link for more information. , and CognacCognac
, city (1990 pop. 19,932), Charente dept., W France, in Angoumois, on the Charente River. The French brandy to which Cognac gives its name has been manufactured and exported from the city since the 18th cent.
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France's leading industries produce machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metals, aircraft, electronics equipment, textiles, and foods (especially cheeses). Advanced technology industries are also important. Coal, iron ore, bauxite, and other minerals are mined. Tourism is an important industry, and Paris is famous for its luxury goods. Nuclear energy furnishes 75% of all electricity produced in France. In addition to the Paris area, important industrial cities are, in the northeast, MetzMetz
, city (2010 est. pop. 127,000), capital of Moselle dept., NE France, on the Moselle River. It is a cultural, commercial, and transportation center of Lorraine, an industrial city producing metals, machinery, tobacco, clothing, and food products, and the home of one of
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, Ger. Strassburg, city (1990 pop. 255,931), capital of Bas-Rhin dept., NE France, on the Ill River near its junction with the Rhine. It is the intellectual and commercial capital of Alsace.
..... Click the link for more information. , RoubaixRoubaix
, city (1990 pop. 98,179), Nord dept., N France, in French Flanders. Part of the Lille urban area, Roubaix, with adjacent Tourcoing, was one of the largest textile (chiefly wool) centers in France, but it greatly declined economically in the late 20th cent.
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, city (1990 pop. 178,301), capital of Nord dept., N France, near the Belgian border. With its central position in NW Europe, Lille became a great commercial, cultural, and manufacturing center, long known for its textile products—notably lisle (the name is derived
..... Click the link for more information. ; in the southeast, LyonsLyons,
Fr. Lyon , city (1990 pop. 422,444), capital of Rhône dept., E central France, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. As an economic center and a densely populated metropolis it is second only to Paris.
..... Click the link for more information. , Saint-ÉtienneSaint-Étienne
, city (1990 pop. 201,569), capital of Loire dept., SE France, in the Massif Central. The metropolitan region occupies much of what was once a major coal-mining and steelmaking district. Manufactures include ribbons (famous since the 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , Clermont-FerrandClermont-Ferrand
, city (1990 pop. 140,167), capital of Puy-de-Dôme dept., central France, in Auvergne, on the Tiretaine River. One of the population and industrial centers of the Massif Central, it is home of the Michelin and other tire factories, and of important
..... Click the link for more information. , and GrenobleGrenoble
, city (1990 pop. 153,973), capital of Isère dept., SE France, at the foot of the Alps on the Isère River at the confluence of Drac River. It is the hydroelectric center of France and has an important nuclear-research center.
..... Click the link for more information. ; in the south, MarseillesMarseilles
, Fr. Marseille, city (1990 pop. 807,726), capital of Bouches-du-Rhône dept., SE France, on the Gulf of Lions, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second largest city of France and one of its most important seaports; an underground canal (see Rove
..... Click the link for more information. , ToulouseToulouse
, city (1990 pop. 365,933), capital of Haute-Garonne dept., S France, on the Garonne River. France's fastest growing region, it is one of France's great cultural and commercial centers.
..... Click the link for more information. , NiceNice
, city (1990 pop. 345,674), capital of Alpes-Maritimes dept., SE France, on the Mediterranean Sea. Nice is the most famous resort on the French Riviera. Although the economy depends mainly on the tourist trade, the electronics industry as well as other manufactures are
..... Click the link for more information. , and NîmesNîmes
, city (1990 pop. 133,607), capital of Gard dept., S France, in Cévennes. An important market town and rail hub, its products include machinery, textiles and clothing, and tinware. An old Gallic town, it became Roman c.120 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. ; and in the west, Bordeaux and NantesNantes
, city (1990 pop. 252,029), capital of Loire-Atlantique dept., W France, on the Loire River. It is an important industrial and shipping center with its ocean port at Saint-Nazaire.
..... Click the link for more information. . Other important cities are OrléansOrléans,
city (1990 pop. 107,965), capital of Loiret dept., N central France, on the Loire River. A commercial and transportation center, it has food-processing, tobacco, machine-building, electrical, pharmaceutical, chemical, and textile industries.
..... Click the link for more information. , ToursTours
, city (1990 pop. 133,403), capital of Indre-et-Loire dept., W central France, in Touraine, on the Loire River. It is a wine market and a tourist center, with metallurgical, chemical, electrical, clothing, and printing industries.
..... Click the link for more information. , TroyesTroyes
, city (1990 pop. 60,755), capital of Aube dept., NE France, on the Seine River. It is an industrial town. Hosiery is the main product. Troyes became an episcopal see in the 4th cent. and the capital of Champagne in the 11th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , and ArlesArles
, city (1990 pop. 52,543), Bouches-du-Rhône dept., S central France, in Provence, on the Rhône River delta. Arles is an important railroad, shipping, agriculture, and industrial center with varied manufactures.
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France has an extensive railway system, the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF). The first of a number of high-speed rail lines (TGVs) was completed in 1983, linking Paris and Lyons. Subsequent lines connected Paris to several other French cities, as well as Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and, via the Channel TunnelChannel Tunnel,
popularly called the "Chunnel," a three-tunnel railroad connection running under the English Channel, connecting Folkestone, England, and Calais, France. The tunnels are 31 mi (50 km) long. There are two rail tunnels, each 25 ft (7.
..... Click the link for more information. , Great Britain.
The government at one time had majority ownership in many commercial banks, some key industries, and various utilities, including the telephone system. The government has since reduced its holdings in many companies, although it still controls energy production, public transportation, and defense industries.
Leading exports are machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, and beverages. Leading imports are machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, and chemicals. Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States are the main trading partners. The chief ports are RouenRouen
, city (1990 pop. 105,470), capital of Seine-Maritime dept., N France. Situated on the Seine near its mouth at the English Channel, Rouen functions as the port of Paris, handling an enormous volume of traffic.
..... Click the link for more information. , Le HavreHavre, Le
, city (1990 pop. 195,932), Seine-Maritime dept., N France, in Normandy, at the mouth of the Seine River on the English Channel. It was founded in 1517 as Le Havre-de-Grâce by Francis I. Le Havre became a major seaport in the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , CherbourgCherbourg
, city (1990 pop. 28,773), Manche dept., NW France, in Normandy, on the English Channel, at the tip of the Cotentin peninsula. It is a naval base and seaport, and a major industrial center where submarines, oil tankers and platforms, electronics, and metals are
..... Click the link for more information. , BrestBrest
, city (1990 pop. 153,099), Finistère dept., NW France, on an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a commercial port, an important naval station, and the seat of the French Naval Academy.
..... Click the link for more information. , Saint-NazaireSaint-Nazaire
, city (1990 pop. 66,087), Loire-Atlantique dept., W France, at the mouth of the Loire River on the Bay of Biscay. Saint-Nazaire is an important seaport (mainly for trade with the Antilles and Central America) and a great shipbuilding and industrial center with
..... Click the link for more information. , Nantes, Bordeaux, ToulonToulon
, city (1990 pop. 170,167), Var dept., SE France, in Provence, on the Mediterranean Sea. An important commercial port and industrial center, Toulon is France's principal naval center on the Mediterranean; shipbuilding and ship repairing are major industries.
..... Click the link for more information. , DunkirkDunkirk
, Fr. Dunkerque, town (1990 pop. 71,071), Nord dept., N France, on the North Sea. It is a leading French port with daily ferry service to Ramsgate and Dover, England.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Marseilles.
Since the Revolution of 1789, France has had an extremely uniform and centralized administration, although constitutional changes in 2003 now permit greater autonomy to the nation's regions and departments. The country is governed under the 1958 constitution (as amended), which established the Fifth French Republic and reflected the views of Charles de Gaullede Gaulle, Charles
, 1890–1970, French general and statesman, first president (1959–69) of the Fifth Republic. The World Wars
During World War I de Gaulle served with distinction until his capture in 1916. In The Army of the Future (1934, tr.
..... Click the link for more information. . It provides for a strong president, directly elected for a five-year term; an individual is limited to two terms as president. A premier and cabinet, appointed by the president, are responsible to the National Assembly, but they are subordinate to the president. The bicameral legislature consists of the National Assembly and the Senate. Deputies to the 577-seat National Assembly are elected for five-year terms from single-member districts. The 348 senators are elected for six-year terms from each department by an electoral college composed of the deputies, district council members, and municipal council members from the department, with one half of the Senate elected every 3 years.
France's 22 administrative regions (see above under Land) each have a directly elected regional council, primarily responsible for stimulating economic and social activity. The regions are further divided into 96 departments (not including the four overseas departments), which are governed by a locally elected general council, with one councilor per canton. Further subdivisions are districts (arrondisements), cantons, and communes. The districts and cantons have little power. The communes, however, are more powerful because they are responsible for municipal services and are represented in the national government by the mayor.
Ancient Gaul to Feudalism
Some of the earliest anthropological and archaeological remains in Europe have been found in France, yet little is known of France before the Roman conquest (1st cent. B.C.). The country was known to the Romans as GaulGaul
, Lat. Gallia, ancient designation for the land S and W of the Rhine, W of the Alps, and N of the Pyrenees. The name was extended by the Romans to include Italy from Lucca and Rimini northwards, excluding Liguria.
..... Click the link for more information. . It was inhabited largely by CeltsCelt
. 1 One who speaks a Celtic language or who derives ancestry from an area where a Celtic language was spoken; i.e., one from Ireland, the Scottish Hebrides and Highlands, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, or Brittany.
..... Click the link for more information. , or Gauls, who had mingled with still older populations, and by BasquesBasques
, people of N Spain and SW France. There are about 2 million Basques in the three Basque provs. and Navarre, Spain; some 250,000 in Labourd, Soule, and Lower Navarre, France; and communities of various sizes in Central and South America and other parts of the world.
..... Click the link for more information. in what became the region of Gascony. Some of the Gallic tribes undoubtedly were Germanic. Settlements on the Mediterranean coast, notably Marseilles, were established by Greek and Phoenician traders (c.600 B.C.), and Provence was colonized by Rome in the 2d cent. B.C. The conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar (58–51 B.C.; see Gallic WarsGallic Wars
, campaigns in Gaul led by Julius Caesar in his two terms as proconsul of Cisalpine Gaul, Transalpine Gaul, and Illyricum (58 B.C.–51 B.C.). Caesar's first campaign was to prevent the Helvetii (who lived N of the Lake of Geneva) from crossing the Roman
..... Click the link for more information. ) became final with the defeat of VercingetorixVercingetorix
, d. 46 B.C., leader of the Gauls, a chieftain of the Arverni. He was the leader of the great revolt against the Romans in 52 B.C. Julius Caesar, upon hearing of the trouble, rushed to put it down.
..... Click the link for more information. . Early in the course of the following five centuries of Roman rule Gaul accepted Latin speech and Roman law, developed a distinct Gallo-Roman civilization, and produced many large and prosperous cities. Lugdunum (Lyons) was the Roman capital.
Christianity, introduced in the 1st cent. A.D., spread rapidly. From the 3d cent., however, the internal decline of the Roman Empire invited barbarian incursions. Among the Germanic tribes that descended upon fertile Gaul, the VisigothsVisigoths
(West Goths), division of the Goths, one of the most important groups of Germans. Having settled in the region W of the Black Sea in the 3d cent. A.D., the Goths soon split into two divisions, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths.
..... Click the link for more information. , FranksFranks,
group of Germanic tribes. By the 3d cent. A.D., they were settled along the lower and middle Rhine. The two major divisions were the Salian Franks in the north and the Ripuarian Franks in the south.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Burgundii were the most important. Rome and its governors in Gaul sought, by alliances, to play the barbarians off against each other. Thus Aetius defeated (A.D. 451) the Huns under Attila with the help of the Franks. But in 486 (10 years after the traditional date for the fall of Rome) the Franks, under Clovis IClovis I
, c.466–511, Frankish king (481–511), son of Childeric I and founder of the Merovingian monarchy. Originally little more than a tribal chieftain, he became sole leader of the Salian Franks by force of perseverance and by murdering a number of relatives.
..... Click the link for more information. , routed Syagrius, last Roman governor of Gaul. Clovis, who had made himself ruler of all the Franks, then defeated the Visigoths and, after accepting Christianity (496), conquered the Alemanni. He extinguished the Arian heresy (see ArianismArianism
, Christian heresy founded by Arius in the 4th cent. It was one of the most widespread and divisive heresies in the history of Christianity. As a priest in Alexandria, Arius taught (c.
..... Click the link for more information. ) and founded the dynasty of the MerovingiansMerovingians,
dynasty of Frankish kings, descended, according to tradition, from Merovech, chief of the Salian Franks, whose son was Childeric I and whose grandson was Clovis I, the founder of the Frankish monarchy.
..... Click the link for more information. —but he failed to provide for the unity of Gaul when, as was customary, he divided his lands among his sons at his death.
Throughout the 6th and 7th cent., Gaul was torn by fratricidal strife between the Merovingian kings of NeustriaNeustria
, western portion of the kingdom of the Franks in the 6th, 7th, and 8th cent., during the rule of the Merovingians. It comprised the Seine and Loire country and the region to the north; its principal towns were Soissons and Paris.
..... Click the link for more information. and of AustrasiaAustrasia
, northeastern portion of the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks in the 6th, 7th, and 8th cent., comprising, in general, parts of E France, W Germany, and the Netherlands, with its capital variously at Metz, Reims, and Soissons.
..... Click the link for more information. , the two realms that ultimately emerged from Clovis's division and were united only for brief periods under a sole ruler. Especially after Dagobert IDagobert I
, c.612–c.639, Frankish king, son and successor of King Clotaire II. His father was forced to appoint Dagobert king of the East Frankish kingdom of Austrasia at the request of Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace, and Arnulf, bishop of Metz, who effectively
..... Click the link for more information. (d. 639), Merovingian rule sank into indolence, cruelty, and dissipation. Gaul was depopulated, the cities were left in ruins, commerce was destroyed, and the arts and sciences were ignored. In the 8th cent. the only remnant of Roman civilization, the church, was threatened by extinction when the Saracens invaded Gaul.
In the meantime a more rigorous dynasty, the CarolingiansCarolingians
, dynasty of Frankish rulers, founded in the 7th cent. by Pepin of Landen, who, as mayor of the palace, ruled the East Frankish Kingdom of Austrasia for Dagobert I.
..... Click the link for more information. , had come to rule Austrasia as mayors of the palace in the name of the decadent Merovingian kings, and had united (687) Austrasia with Neustria. In 732, the Carolingian Charles MartelCharles Martel
[O.Fr.,=Charles the Hammer], 688?–741, Frankish ruler, illegitimate son of Pepin of Heristal and grandfather of Charlemagne. After the death of his father (714) he seized power in Austrasia from Pepin's widow, who was ruling as regent for her grandsons, and
..... Click the link for more information. decisively defeated the Saracens between Poitiers and Tours. His son, Pepin the ShortPepin the Short
(Pepin III), c.714–768, first Carolingian king of the Franks (751–68), son of Charles Martel and father of Charlemagne. Succeeding his father as mayor of the palace (741), he ruled Neustria, Burgundy, and Provence, while his brother Carloman (d.
..... Click the link for more information. , dethroned the last Merovingian in 751 and proclaimed himself king with the sanction of the pope. Pepin's son was CharlemagneCharlemagne
(Charles the Great or Charles I) [O.Fr.,=Charles the great], 742?–814, emperor of the West (800–814), Carolingian king of the Franks (768–814).
..... Click the link for more information. .
Crowned emperor of the West in 800, Charlemagne expanded his lands by conquest. He gave his subjects an efficient administration, created an admirable legal system, and labored for the rebirth of learning, piety, and the arts. But his son, Emperor Louis ILouis I
or Louis the Pious,
Fr. Louis le Pieux or Louis le Débonnaire, 778–840, emperor of the West (814–40), son and successor of Charlemagne. He was crowned king of Aquitaine in 781 and co-emperor with his father in 813.
..... Click the link for more information. , could not maintain the empire he inherited. At Louis's death (840), his three sons were fighting each other. In 843 the brothers, Charles IICharles II
or Charles the Bald,
823–77, emperor of the West (875–77) and king of the West Franks (843–77); son of Emperor Louis I by a second marriage.
..... Click the link for more information. (Charles the Bald), king of the West Franks, Louis the GermanLouis the German,
c.804–876, king of the East Franks (817–76). When his father, Emperor of the West Louis I, partitioned the empire in 817, Louis received Bavaria and adjacent territories.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Emperor Lothair ILothair I
, 795–855, emperor of the West (840–55), son and successor of Louis I. In 817 his father crowned him coemperor. He was recrowned (823) at Rome by the pope and issued (824) a constitution, proclaiming his right to confirm papal elections.
..... Click the link for more information. , redivided their territories (see Verdun, Treaty ofVerdun, Treaty of,
the partition of Charlemagne's empire among three sons of Louis I, emperor of the West. It was concluded in 843 at Verdun on the Meuse or, possibly, Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, Soâne-et-Loire dept., E France.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Charles was recognized as the ruler of the lands that are now France.
The Carolingians had only superficially transcended the economic, social, and political fragmentation of the land. The weakness of central authority was a major reason for the development of feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
..... Click the link for more information. and the manorial systemmanorial system
or seignorial system
, economic and social system of medieval Europe under which peasants' land tenure and production were regulated, and local justice and taxation were administered.
..... Click the link for more information. . Raids by NorsemenNorsemen,
name given to the Scandinavian Vikings who raided and settled on the coasts of the European continent in the 9th and 10th cent. They are also referred to as Northmen or Normans.
..... Click the link for more information. , beginning in the late 8th cent., contributed to the decline of royal authority; in 885–86, the Norsemen even besieged Paris. The authority of the kings was increasingly usurped by feudal lords. Among the most powerful of these were the dukes of AquitaineAquitaine
, Lat. Aquitania, former duchy and kingdom in SW France. Julius Caesar conquered the Aquitani, an Iberian people of SW Gaul, in 56 B.C. The province that he created occupied the territory between the Garonne River and the Pyrenees; under Roman rule it was
..... Click the link for more information. and of Burgundy and the counts of FlandersFlanders
, former county in the Low Countries, extending along the North Sea and W of the Scheldt (Escaut) River. It is divided among East Flanders and West Flanders provs., Belgium; Nord and Pas-de-Calais depts., France; and (to a small extent) Zeeland prov., the Netherlands.
..... Click the link for more information. , of Toulouse, of BloisBlois
, town (1990 pop. 51,549), capital of Loir-et-Cher dept., central France, in Orléanais, on the Loire River. A commercial and industrial center with an outstanding trade in wines and brandies, it is also one of the most historic towns of France.
..... Click the link for more information. , and of Anjou. In 911 the Norse leader RolloRollo
, c.860–c.932, first duke of Normandy. As leader of the Norman pirates settled at the mouth of the Seine, he attacked (910) Paris and Chartres.
..... Click the link for more information. was recognized as duke of Normandy.
The Birth of France
When the Carolingian dynasty died out in France, the nobles chose (987) Hugh CapetHugh Capet
, c.938–996, king of France (987–96), first of the Capetians. He was the son of Hugh the Great, to whose vast territories he succeeded in 956. After the death of Louis V, last Carolingian king of France, the nobles and prelates elected him king, setting
..... Click the link for more information. as king. It is from this date that the history of France as a separate kingdom is generally reckoned (see table entitled Rulers of France since 987Rulers of France since 987
(including dates of reign)
Hugh Capet, 987–96
Robert II (the Pious), son of Hugh Capet, 996–1031
Henry I, son of Robert II, 1031–60
Philip I, son of Henry I, 1060–1108
..... Click the link for more information. for a listing of the kings of France and subsequent French leaders). The early CapetiansCapetians
, royal house of France that ruled continuously from 987 to 1328; it takes its name from Hugh Capet. Related branches of the family (see Valois; Bourbon) ruled France until the final deposition of the monarchy in the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. were dukes of Francia, a small territory around Paris, and were without power in the rest of France. By unremitting effort they gradually extended their domain, razed the castles of robber barons, and held their own against the great feudatories. Louis VILouis VI
(Louis the Fat), 1081–1137, king of France (1108–37). He succeeded his father, Philip I, with whom he was associated in government from c.1100. He firmly established his authority within the royal domain, suppressing brigandage by robber barons and besieging
..... Click the link for more information. (reigned 1108–37) brought this process into full force, and it was continued by Louis VIILouis VII
(Louis the Young), c.1120–1180, king of France (1137–80), son and successor of King Louis VI. Before his accession he married Eleanor of Aquitaine.
..... Click the link for more information. (1137–80).
In the 11th cent. the towns had begun regaining population and wealth. Drawing together for their common defense (see communecommune
, in medieval history, collective institution that developed in continental Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Because of the importance of the commune in municipal government, the term is also used to denote a town itself to which a charter of liberties was
..... Click the link for more information. ), the townspeople won increasingly advantageous charters from the king and from their feudal lords. Commerce revived, and the great fairs of Champagne made France a meeting place for European merchants. The Cluniac orderCluniac order
, medieval organization of Benedictines centered at the abbey of Cluny, France. Founded in 910 by the monk Berno and Count William of Aquitaine, the abbey's constitution provided it freedom from lay supervision and (after 1016) from jurisdiction of the local bishop.
..... Click the link for more information. and the revival of theological learning at Paris (which was to make the SorbonneSorbonne
, first endowed college in the Univ. of Paris, founded by Robert de Sorbon (1201–74), chaplain of Louis IX, and opened in 1253 for the purpose of providing quarters for theology students who were not friars.
..... Click the link for more information. the fountainhead of scholasticismscholasticism
, philosophy and theology of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages. Virtually all medieval philosophers of any significance were theologians, and their philosophy is generally embodied in their theological writings.
..... Click the link for more information. ) gave France tremendous prestige in Christendom. This rebirth reached its height in the 13th cent. and was aided by the leading role that France played in the CrusadesCrusades
, series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade
In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar.
..... Click the link for more information. . The crusaders established the French ideal of chivalry—personified in Louis IXLouis IX
or Saint Louis,
1214–70, king of France (1226–70), son and successor of Louis VIII. His mother, Blanche of Castile, was regent during his minority (1226–34), and her regency probably lasted even after Louis reached his majority; she was his
..... Click the link for more information. (St. Louis)—in most of Europe. French courtly poetry and manners became European models.
In England, French manners and culture also predominated among the nobles because of the Norman Conquest (1066). The fact that the Norman English kings were also French nobles, holding or claiming vast fiefs in France, brought the two nations into centuries of conflict. When Henry IIHenry II,
1133–89, king of England (1154–89), son of Matilda, queen of England, and Geoffrey IV, count of Anjou. He was the founder of the Angevin, or Plantagenet, line in England and one of the ablest and most remarkable of the English kings.
..... Click the link for more information. , king of England and duke of Normandy, married (1152) Eleanor of AquitaineEleanor of Aquitaine
, 1122?–1204, queen consort first of Louis VII of France and then of Henry II of England. Daughter and heiress of William X, duke of Aquitaine, she married Louis in 1137 shortly before his accession to the throne.
..... Click the link for more information. , the divorced wife of Louis VII of France, Eleanor brought as her dowry extensive areas in France. Louis's successor, Philip IIPhilip II
or Philip Augustus,
1165–1223, king of France (1180–1223), son of Louis VII. During his reign the royal domains were more than doubled, and the royal power was consolidated at the expense of the feudal lords.
..... Click the link for more information. (Philip Augustus; 1180–1223), clashed repeatedly with Henry's sons, Richard I and John. Defeating John in 1204 and again, resoundingly, at BouvinesBouvines
, village, Nord dept., N France, in Flanders. In a battle there in 1214, Philip II of France defeated the joint forces of King John of England, Emperor Otto IV, and the count of Flanders, establishing the power of the French monarchy.
..... Click the link for more information. (1214), Philip soundly established the military prestige of France.
During Philip's reign a greater France emerged. The crusade against the AlbigensesAlbigenses
[Lat.,=people of Albi, one of their centers], religious sect of S France in the Middle Ages. Beliefs and Practices
Officially known as heretics, they were actually Cathari, Provençal adherents of a doctrine similar to the Manichaean dualistic
..... Click the link for more information. (begun 1208) netted the crown the huge fiefs of the counts of Toulouse in S France, and the royal domain (directly subject to the king) now formed the larger part of the kingdom. Philip made the royal authority felt throughout the land. Paris was rebuilt. Louis IX (1226–70) organized an efficient and equitable civil and judicial system. Under Philip IVPhilip IV
(Philip the Fair), 1268–1314, king of France (1285–1314), son and successor of Philip III. The policies of his reign greatly strengthened the French monarchy and increased the royal revenues.
..... Click the link for more information. (1285–1314), the royal administration was improved even more. Philip failed to incorporate Flanders into his holdings, as the Flemish crushed the French at Courtrai (1302). To meet his revenue needs Philip taxed the clergy, summoning the first national States-GeneralStates-General
diet or national assembly in which the chief estates (see estate) of a nation—usually clergy, nobles, and towns (or commons)—were represented as separate bodies.
..... Click the link for more information. (1302) to support his policy. He also destroyed the wealthy Knights TemplarsKnights Templars
, in medieval history, members of the military and religious order of the Poor Knights of Christ, called the Knights of the Temple of Solomon from their house in Jerusalem.
..... Click the link for more information. . Papal objections to these moves led to the Babylonian Captivity (1309–77) of the popes (see papacypapacy
, office of the pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church. He is pope by reason of being bishop of Rome and thus, according to Roman Catholic belief, successor in the see of Rome (the Holy See) to its first bishop, St. Peter.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
Philip's son, Louis XLouis X,
Fr. Louis le Hutin
[the quarrelsome], 1289–1316, king of France (1314–16), son and successor of Philip IV. His reign was dominated by his uncle, Charles of Valois, and was distinguished by his concessions to the barons in the form of charters.
..... Click the link for more information. , ruled briefly (1314–16); he was succeeded by two brothers, Philip VPhilip V
(Philip the Tall), c.1294–1322, king of France (1317–22), son of King Philip IV. He became regent in 1316 on the death of his brother Louis X, who was survived by his pregnant wife and infant daughter.
..... Click the link for more information. (1317–22) and Charles IVCharles IV
(Charles the Fair), 1294–1328, king of France (1322–28), youngest son of Philip IV, brother and successor of Philip V. Charles continued his brother's work of strengthening the royal power.
..... Click the link for more information. (1322–28). Within a few years after the death of Charles IV, who was also without a male heir, progress toward national unification was halted, and for more than a century France was rent by warfare and internal upheaval.
The Making of a Nation
In 1328, Philip VIPhilip VI,
1293–1350, king of France (1328–50), son of Charles of Valois and grandson of King Philip III. He succeeded his cousin Charles IV, invoking the Salic law to set aside both Charles's daughter and King Edward III of England, the son of Charles's sister.
..... Click the link for more information. (1328–50), of the house of ValoisValois
, royal house of France that ruled from 1328 to 1589. At the death of Charles IV, the last of the direct Capetians, the Valois dynasty came to the throne in the person of Philip VI, son of Charles of Valois and grandson of Philip III.
..... Click the link for more information. , a younger branch of the Capetians, succeeded to the throne. The succession was contested by Philip's remote cousin, Edward IIIEdward III,
1312–77, king of England (1327–77), son of Edward II and Isabella. Early Life
He was made earl of Chester in 1320 and duke of Aquitaine in 1325 and accompanied his mother to France in 1325.
..... Click the link for more information. of England (grandson of Philip IV), who in 1337 proclaimed himself king of France. Thus began the dynastic struggle known as the Hundred Years WarHundred Years War,
1337–1453, conflict between England and France. Causes
Its basic cause was a dynastic quarrel that originated when the conquest of England by William of Normandy created a state lying on both sides of the English Channel. In the 14th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. (1337–1453), actually a series of wars and truces. It was complicated by many secondary issues, notably civil troubles in Flanders and the War of the Breton SuccessionBreton Succession, War of the,
1341–65, an important episode of the Hundred Years War. Duke John III of Brittany died in 1341 without heirs. The succession was contested by his half-brother, John de Montfort, who was backed by Edward III of England, and by Charles of
..... Click the link for more information. .
The French defeats at CrécyCrécy
, officially Crécy-en-Ponthieu
, village, Somme dept., N France. A nearby forest is popular for camping. At Crécy, on Aug. 26, 1346, Edward III of England defeated Philip VI of France in the Hundred Years War.
..... Click the link for more information. (1346) and PoitiersPoitiers
, city (1990 pop. 82,507), capital of Vienne dept., W central France, on the Clain River. The ancient capital of Poitou, it is now an industrial, agricultural, and communications center.
..... Click the link for more information. (1356), the epidemic of the Black Death, the Parisian insurrection under Étienne MarcelMarcel, Étienne
, d. 1358, French bourgeois leader, provost of the merchants of Paris. In the States-General of 1355 he and Robert Le Coq bargained for governmental reforms with the French king, John II, who needed funds for the English war.
..... Click the link for more information. (1357–58), the JacquerieJacquerie
[Fr.,=collection of Jacques, which is, like Jacques Bonhomme, a nickname for the French peasant], 1358, revolt of the French peasantry. The uprising was in part a reaction to widespread poverty during the Hundred Years War.
..... Click the link for more information. (peasant revolt) of 1358, and the pillaging bands of écorcheurs plunged France into anarchy and forced John IIJohn II
(John the Good), 1319–64, king of France (1350–64), son and successor of King Philip VI. An inept ruler, he began his reign by executing the constable of France (whose office he gave to his favorite, Charles de La Cerda) and by appointing dishonest and
..... Click the link for more information. (1350–64) to accept the humiliating Treaty of BrétignyBrétigny, Treaty of
, 1360, concluded by England and France at Brétigny, a village near Chartres, France. It marked a low point in French fortunes in the Hundred Years War.
..... Click the link for more information. (1360). Under Charles VCharles V
(Charles the Wise), 1338–80, king of France (1364–80). Son of King John II, Charles became the first French heir apparent to bear the title of dauphin after the addition of the region of Dauphiné to the royal domain in 1349.
..... Click the link for more information. (1364–80), however, Bertrand Du GuesclinDu Guesclin, Bertrand
, c.1320–80, constable of France (1370–80), greatest French soldier of his time. A Breton, he initially served Charles of Blois in the War of the Breton Succession.
..... Click the link for more information. recovered (1369–73) all lost territories except Calais and the Bordeaux region. Charles VICharles VI
(Charles the Mad or Charles the Well Beloved), 1368–1422, king of France (1380–1422), son and successor of King Charles V. During his minority he was under the tutelage of his uncles (particularly Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy), whose policies drained
..... Click the link for more information. (1380–1422) became insane in 1392, although he had lucid intervals. Rivalry for power at court led to the terrible strife between Armagnacs and BurgundiansArmagnacs and Burgundians,
opposing factions that fought to control France in the early 15th cent. The rivalry for power between Louis d'Orléans, brother of the recurrently insane King Charles VI, and his cousin John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, led to Louis's murder
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1415, Henry VHenry V,
1387–1422, king of England (1413–22), son and successor of Henry IV. Early Life
Henry was probably brought up under the care of his uncle, Henry Beaufort.
..... Click the link for more information. of England revived the English claim, renewed the war, and crushed the French—unaided by the Burgundians—at AgincourtAgincourt
, modern Fr. Azincourt, village, Pas-de-Calais dept., N France. There, during the Hundred Years War, Henry V of England with some 6,000 men defeated a French army six times that size on Oct. 25, 1415.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1420, Charles VI made Henry V his heir, disinheriting his son, the dauphin, later Charles VIICharles VII
(Charles the Well Served), 1403–61, king of France (1422–61), son and successor of Charles VI. His reign saw the end of the Hundred Years War. Although excluded from the throne by the Treaty of Troyes, Charles took the royal title after his father's death
..... Click the link for more information. (see Troyes, Treaty ofTroyes, Treaty of,
1420, agreement between Henry V of England, Charles VI of France, and Philip the Good of Burgundy. Its purpose, ultimately unsuccessful, was to settle the issues of the Hundred Years War.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The dauphin nevertheless assumed the royal title in 1422, but his authority extended over only a small area.
The English now held most of France, including Paris. Powerful Burgundy, under Philip the GoodPhilip the Good,
1396–1467, duke of Burgundy (1419–67); son of Duke John the Fearless. After his father was murdered (1419) at a meeting with the dauphin (later King Charles VII of France), Philip formed an alliance with King Henry V of England.
..... Click the link for more information. , was allied with England. In 1428 the English besieged the key city of Orléans. At this hour appeared Joan of ArcJoan of Arc,
Fr. Jeanne D'Arc (zhän därk), 1412?–31, French saint and national heroine, called the Maid of Orléans; daughter of a farmer of Domrémy on the border of Champagne and Lorraine.
..... Click the link for more information. , who helped relieve Orléans, rallied the dauphin's followers, and in 1429 stood by the dauphin's side as he was crowned at Reims. In 1435, Burgundy, although exacting exorbitant concessions, allied itself with France (see Arras, Treaty ofArras, Treaty of.
1 Treaty of 1435, between King Charles VII of France and Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy. Through it, France and Burgundy became reconciled. Philip deserted his English allies and recognized Charles as king of France.
..... Click the link for more information. ). In 1453 the English lost their last hold on French soil outside CalaisCalais
, city (1990 pop. 78,836), Pas-de-Calais dept., N France, in Picardy, on the Straits of Dover. An industrial center with a great variety of manufactures, it has been a major commercial seaport and a communications center with England since the Middle Ages.
..... Click the link for more information. .
It was left for Louis XILouis XI,
1423–83, king of France (1461–83), son and successor of Charles VII. Early Life
As dauphin Louis was almost constantly in revolt against his father.
..... Click the link for more information. (1461–83) to destroy the power of the last great feudal lords and to incorporate into the royal domain almost all of present France. He was aided by the downfall (1477) of Charles the BoldCharles the Bold,
1433–77, last reigning duke of Burgundy (1467–77), son and successor of Philip the Good. As the count of Charolais before his accession, he opposed the growing power of King Louis XI of France by joining (1465) the League of Public Weal.
..... Click the link for more information. of Burgundy and by the extinction of the AngevinAngevin
[Fr.,=of Anjou], name of two medieval dynasties originating in France. The first ruled over parts of France and over Jerusalem and England; the second ruled over parts of France and over Naples, Hungary, and Poland, with a claim to Jerusalem.
..... Click the link for more information. dynasty. Brittany was united with France shortly afterward (see Anne of BrittanyAnne of Brittany,
1477–1514, queen of France as consort of Charles VIII from 1491 to 1498 and consort of Louis XII from 1499 until her death. The daughter of Duke Francis II of Brittany, she was heiress to his duchy.
..... Click the link for more information. ), and the larger part of the fiefs held by the BourbonBourbon
, European royal family, originally of France; a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty (see Capetians). One branch of the Bourbons occupies the modern Spanish throne, and other branches ruled the Two Sicilies and Parma.
..... Click the link for more information. family was confiscated in 1527.
Under the reigns (1483–1560) of Charles VIIICharles VIII,
1470–98, king of France (1483–98), son and successor of Louis XI. He first reigned under the regency of his sister Anne de Beaujeu. After his marriage (1491) to Anne of Brittany, he freed himself from the influence of the regency and prepared to conquer
..... Click the link for more information. , Louis XIILouis XII,
1462–1515, king of France (1498–1515), son of Charles, duc d'Orléans. He succeeded his father as duke. While still duke, he rebelled against the regency of Anne de Beaujeu and was imprisoned (1488), but was released (1491) by his cousin King Charles
..... Click the link for more information. , Francis IFrancis I,
1494–1547, king of France (1515–47), known as Francis of Angoulême before he succeeded his cousin and father-in-law, King Louis XII. Wars with the Holy Roman Emperor
..... Click the link for more information. , Henry IIHenry II,
1519–59, king of France (1547–59), son of King Francis I. His robust physique contrasted with his weak and pliant disposition. Throughout his reign he was governed by Anne de Montmorency, by his mistress Diane de Poitiers, and by François and Charles
..... Click the link for more information. , and Francis IIFrancis II,
1544–60, king of France (1559–60), son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. He married (1558) Mary Queen of Scots (Mary Stuart), and during his brief reign the government was in the hands of her uncles, François and Charles de Guise.
..... Click the link for more information. , France proved its amazing recuperative powers despite the heavy drain imposed on its resources by the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
..... Click the link for more information. (1494–1559). The superficially brilliant reign of Francis I (1515–47) was taken up with almost constant warfare against the Hapsburg Charles V; however, this period also saw the spread of the Italian Renaissance into France (see French artFrench art,
the artistic production of the region that constitutes the historic nation of France. See also French architecture. Early History
Artistic remains in France date back to the Paleolithic age (see Paleolithic art), and abundant examples attest to the art
..... Click the link for more information. ; French literatureFrench literature,
writings in medieval French dialects and standard modern French. Writings in Provençal and Breton are considered separately, as are works in French produced abroad (as at Canadian literature, French).
..... Click the link for more information. ). The first phase of the struggle between France and the house of Hapsburg ended with the triumph of Hapsburg Spain in the Treaty of Cateau-CambrésisCateau-Cambrésis, Treaty of
, 1559, concluded at Le Cateau, France, by representatives of Henry II of France, Philip II of Spain, and Elizabeth I of England. It put an end to the 60-year conflict between France and Spain, begun with the Italian Wars, in which Henry VIII
..... Click the link for more information. (1559).
The Reformation and its Aftermath
Beginning in the reign of Francis I, the Reformation gained many adherents in France (see HuguenotsHuguenots
, French Protestants, followers of John Calvin. The term is derived from the German Eidgenossen, meaning sworn companions or confederates. Origins
Prior to Calvin's publication in 1536 of his Institutes of the Christian Religion,
..... Click the link for more information. ). In 1560 religious conflict flared up in the first of the ferocious civil wars (see Religion, Wars ofReligion, Wars of,
1562–98, series of civil wars in France, also known as the Huguenot Wars.
The immediate issue was the French Protestants' struggle for freedom of worship and the right of establishment (see Huguenots).
..... Click the link for more information. ) that tore France asunder during the reigns (1560–89) of the last Valois kings, Charles IXCharles IX,
1550–74, king of France. He succeeded (1560) his brother Francis II under the regency of his mother, Catherine de' Medici. She retained her influence throughout his reign.
..... Click the link for more information. and Henry IIIHenry III,
1551–89, king of France (1574–89); son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. He succeeded his brother, Charles IX. As a leader of the royal army in the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of) against the French Protestants, or Huguenots, Henry, then
..... Click the link for more information. . The Catholics, led by the ambitious GuiseGuise
, influential ducal family of France. The First Duke of Guise
The family was founded as a cadet branch of the ruling house of Lorraine by Claude de Lorraine, 1st duc de Guise, 1496–1550, who received the French fiefs of his father, René II, duke
..... Click the link for more information. family, eventually formed the Catholic LeagueLeague
or Holy League,
in French history, organization of Roman Catholics, aimed at the suppression of Protestantism and Protestant political influence in France.
..... Click the link for more information. and obtained Spanish support against the Protestant Henry of Navarre, the legal heir of Henry III. Navarre was supported by some moderate Catholics as well as by the Protestants. He defeated the League but had to accept Catholicism before being allowed to enter (1594) Paris. Ruling as Henry IVHenry IV,
1553–1610, king of France (1589–1610) and, as Henry III, of Navarre (1572–1610), son of Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d'Albret; first of the Bourbon kings of France.
..... Click the link for more information. , he became the first Bourbon king of France. With his great minister, SullySully, Maximilien de Béthune, duc de
, 1560–1641, French statesman. Born and reared a Protestant, he fought in the Wars of Religion under the Huguenot leader Henry of Navarre (later King Henry IV of France). Before 1606 he was known as baron de Rosny.
..... Click the link for more information. , he made France prosperous once again and encouraged French explorers in Canada.
Religious freedom and political security for Protestants were promulgated in the Edict of Nantes (1598; see Nantes, Edict ofNantes, Edict of,
1598, decree promulgated at Nantes by King Henry IV to restore internal peace in France, which had been torn by the Wars of Religion; the edict defined the rights of the French Protestants (see Huguenots).
..... Click the link for more information. ), but after Henry's assassination (1610) by a Catholic fanatic the rights of the Huguenots were steadily reduced. Under his successor, Louis XIIILouis XIII,
1601–43, king of France (1610–43). He succeeded his father, Henry IV, under the regency of his mother, Marie de' Medici. He married Anne of Austria in 1615.
..... Click the link for more information. (1610–43), and in the minority of Louis XIV, two great statesmen successively shaped the destiny of the kingdom—Cardinal RichelieuRichelieu, Armand Jean du Plessis, duc de
(Cardinal Richelieu) , 1585–1642, French prelate and statesman, chief minister of King Louis XIII, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
..... Click the link for more information. and Cardinal MazarinMazarin, Jules
, 1602–61, French statesman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, b. Italy. His original name was Giulio Mazarini. After serving in the papal army and diplomatic service and as nuncio at the French court (1634–36), he entered the service of France
..... Click the link for more information. . They led France to victory in the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War
There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
..... Click the link for more information. (1618–48), which France entered openly in 1635, joining the Protestant allies against the Hapsburg powers, Austria and Spain. Austria was defeated in 1648 (see Westphalia, Peace ofWestphalia, Peace of,
1648, general settlement ending the Thirty Years War. It marked the end of the Holy Roman Empire as an effective institution and inaugurated the modern European state system.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Spain in 1659 (see Pyrenees, Peace of thePyrenees, Peace of the,
1659, treaty ending the warfare between France and Spain that, continuing after the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, had been complicated by French intervention in the revolt of the Catalans (1640–52) and by Spanish
..... Click the link for more information. ). At home, Richelieu destroyed the political power of the Huguenots, and Mazarin overcame the nobles in the wars of the FrondeFronde
, 1648–53, series of outbreaks during the minority of King Louis XIV, caused by the efforts of the Parlement of Paris (the chief judiciary body) to limit the growing authority of the crown; by the personal ambitions of discontented nobles; and by the grievances of
..... Click the link for more information. .
Louis XIVLouis XIV,
1638–1715, king of France (1643–1715), son and successor of King Louis XIII. Early Reign
After his father's death his mother, Anne of Austria, was regent for Louis, but the real power was wielded by Anne's adviser, Cardinal Mazarin.
..... Click the link for more information. (1643–1715), aided by the genius of Jean Baptiste ColbertColbert, Jean Baptiste
, 1619–83, French statesman. The son of a draper, he was trained in business and was hired by Cardinal Mazarin to look after his financial affairs.
..... Click the link for more information. (d. 1683) and François LouvoisLouvois, François Michel Le Tellier, marquis de
, 1641–91, French statesman, minister during the reign of King Louis XIV. After 1654 he was associated in office with his father, Michel Le Tellier, and from 1666 he functioned as war minister, officially replacing his
..... Click the link for more information. , completed Richelieu's and Mazarin's work of centralization. Raising the position of the king to a dignity and prestige hitherto unknown in France, Louis XIV made France the first power in Europe and his court at VersaillesVersailles
, city (1990 pop. 91,029), capital of Yvelines dept., N central France. It was an insignificant rural hamlet when Louis XIII constructed a small retreat there in 1623.
..... Click the link for more information. the cynosure of Europe. But his many wars undermined French finances, and his persecution of the Huguenots (the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685) caused serious harm to the economy as thousands of merchants and skilled workers left France. His successes in the War of DevolutionDevolution, War of,
1667–68, undertaken by Louis XIV for the conquest of the Spanish Netherlands. On her marriage to Louis, Marie Thérèse, daughter of Philip IV of Spain, had renounced her rights of inheritance in return for a large dowry.
..... Click the link for more information. (1667–68) against Spain and the Dutch War (see Dutch WarsDutch Wars,
series of conflicts between the English and Dutch during the mid to late 17th cent. The wars had their roots in the Anglo-Dutch commercial rivalry, although the last of the three wars was a wider conflict in which French interests played a primary role.
..... Click the link for more information. ) of 1672–78 inspired all Europe with fear of French hegemony and resulted in the diplomatic isolation of France. The War of the Grand AllianceGrand Alliance, War of the,
1688–97, war between France and a coalition of European powers, known as the League of Augsburg (and, after 1689, as the Grand Alliance).
..... Click the link for more information. (1688–97) against Louis XIV began to turn the tide; the War of the Spanish SuccessionSpanish Succession, War of the,
1701–14, last of the general European wars caused by the efforts of King Louis XIV to extend French power. The conflict in America corresponding to the period of the War of the Spanish Succession was known as Queen Anne's War (see French and
..... Click the link for more information. (1701–14), although it did not end with a clear victory over France, marked the end of French expansion in Europe. The reign of Louis XIV saw the height of French power in America. France, at the end of Louis's reign, was exhausted from its attempt at primacy; yet its latent strength and wealth were so great that it recovered prosperity within a few years.
The Ancien Régime and Attempts at Reform
Louis XVLouis XV,
1710–74, king of France (1715–74), great-grandson and successor of King Louis XIV, son of Louis, titular duke of Burgundy, and Marie Adelaide of Savoy.
..... Click the link for more information. (1715–74) inherited a unified France, but a France still burdened by the remnants of feudalism. The "absolute" power of the king was hedged in by a stupendous multitude of dusty charters and special privileges—often granted to remove the recipients from national politics—held by families, guilds, monopolies, communes, and provinces, and by the clergy and nobles. Taxes, although onerous, were raised inefficiently and inequitably, partly by the farmers general (see farmingfarming,
in the history of taxation, collection of taxes through private contractors. Usually, the tax farmer paid a lump sum to the public treasury; the difference between that sum and the sum actually collected represented his profit or loss.
..... Click the link for more information. , in taxation), partly by the state. Commerce, based on mercantilismmercantilism
, economic system of the major trading nations during the 16th, 17th, and 18th cent., based on the premise that national wealth and power were best served by increasing exports and collecting precious metals in return.
..... Click the link for more information. , was hampered by restrictive regulations, monopolies, and internal tariff barriers. Rural overpopulation outstripped the stagnant agricultural productivity. Colbert had reorganized the administration by curtailing the power of the provincial governors and by reestablishing the administrative units called intendancies, originated by Richelieu. The intendants were trusted civil servants who carried out the policies of the central government, but their capacity to break down local privilege was limited. In several provinces, notably Brittany, the local assemblies of the three estates retained the power to thwart reforms.
A more significant stronghold of aristocratic privilege and vested interests was the parlementparlement
, in French history, the chief judicial body under the ancien régime. The parlement consisted of a number of separate chambers: the central pleading chamber, called the Grand-Chambre; the Chambre des Requêtes
..... Click the link for more information. ; the parlements skillfully related their special interests to the still popular ideal of local liberty. The ever-expanding bourgeoisie as well as the large body of landowning farmers, however, were finding the remnants of feudal dues, services, and other customs increasingly intolerable. Economic reform became the rallying cry of the physiocratsphysiocrats
, school of French thinkers in the 18th cent. who evolved the first complete system of economics. They were also referred to simply as "the economists" or "the sect." The founder and leader of physiocracy was François Quesnay.
..... Click the link for more information. and their disciples such as TurgotTurgot, Anne Robert Jacques
, 1727–81, French economist, comptroller general of finances (1774–76). The son of a rich merchant, he showed precocious ability at school and at the Sorbonne.
..... Click the link for more information. . Many philosophers of the EnlightenmentEnlightenment,
term applied to the mainstream of thought of 18th-century Europe and America. Background and Basic Tenets
The scientific and intellectual developments of the 17th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , notably VoltaireVoltaire, François Marie Arouet de
, 1694–1778, French philosopher and author, whose original name was Arouet. One of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history, Voltaire personifies the Enlightenment.
..... Click the link for more information. , looked hopefully to the monarchy for administrative rationalization, but the crown's sporadic attempts at reform, particularly of finances, were hindered by the parlements. Operating under a system of outworn privilege, the wealthiest country in Europe was ruled by a government perennially on the verge of bankruptcy.
The honest administration (1726–43) of Cardinal FleuryFleury, André Hercule de
, 1653–1743, French statesman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Tutor of the young Louis XV, he became, at the age of 73, chief adviser to the king and virtual ruler of France (1726–43).
..... Click the link for more information. had barely extricated France from the disastrous failure of the Mississippi SchemeMississippi Scheme,
plan formulated by John Law for the colonization and commercial exploitation of the Mississippi valley and other French colonial areas. In 1717 the French merchant Antoine Crozat transferred his monopoly of commercial privileges in Louisiana to Law, who, with
..... Click the link for more information. (1720), when Louis XV plunged into the War of the Austrian SuccessionAustrian Succession, War of the,
1740–48, general European war. Causes of the War
The war broke out when, on the strength of the pragmatic sanction of 1713, the Austrian archduchess Maria Theresa succeeded her father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, as ruler
..... Click the link for more information. (1740–48) and the Seven Years WarSeven Years War,
1756–63, worldwide war fought in Europe, North America, and India between France, Austria, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and (after 1762) Spain on the one side and Prussia, Great Britain, and Hanover on the other.
..... Click the link for more information. (1756–63). Not only was the treasury drained, but France lost its empire in India and North America. Turgot's reforms, instituted early in the reign of Louis XVILouis XVI,
1754–93, king of France (1774–92), third son of the dauphin (Louis) and Marie Josèphe of Saxony, grandson and successor of King Louis XV. In 1770 he married the Austrian archduchess Marie Antoinette.
..... Click the link for more information. (1774–92), were cut short in 1776, when he was dismissed. Seeking to avenge its defeat by Britain in the Seven Years War, France supported the American Revolution (1775–83). Financially, however, the war was a disaster for France.
The Revolution and Napoleon I
In 1788, after neither CalonneCalonne, Charles Alexandre de
, 1734–1802, French statesman, controller general of finances (1783–87). Faced with a huge public debt and a steadily deteriorating financial situation, Calonne adopted a spending policy to inspire confidence in the nation's financial
..... Click the link for more information. nor Loménie de BrienneLoménie de Brienne, Étienne Charles
, 1727–94, French statesman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was archbishop of Toulouse (1763–88) and of Sens (1788) and a member of the French Academy.
..... Click the link for more information. could get the necessary financial measures enacted, NeckerNecker, Jacques
, 1732–1804, French financier and statesman, b. Geneva, Switzerland. In 1750 he went to Paris and entered banking. He rose rapidly to importance, established a bank of his own, and became a director of the French East India Company.
..... Click the link for more information. was called back to office to attempt to repair the irreparable, and the States-General were convoked for the first time since 1614. Thus began the upheaval that shook Europe from 1789 to 1815 (see French RevolutionFrench Revolution,
political upheaval of world importance in France that began in 1789. Origins of the Revolution
Historians disagree in evaluating the factors that brought about the Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information. ; French Revolutionary WarsFrench Revolutionary Wars,
wars occurring in the era of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Napoleonic era, the decade of 1792–1802. The wars began as an effort to defend the Revolution and developed into wars of conquest under the empire.
..... Click the link for more information. ; DirectoryDirectory,
group of five men who held the executive power in France according to the constitution of the year III (1795) of the French Revolution. They were chosen by the new legislature, by the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients; each year one director, chosen
..... Click the link for more information. ; ConsulateConsulate,
1799–1804, in French history, form of government established after the coup of 18 Brumaire (Nov. 9–10, 1799), which ended the Directory. Three consuls were appointed to rule France—Napoleon Bonaparte (see Napoleon I), Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès,
..... Click the link for more information. ; Napoleon INapoleon I
, 1769–1821, emperor of the French, b. Ajaccio, Corsica, known as "the Little Corporal." Early Life
The son of Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte (or Buonaparte; see under Bonaparte, family), young Napoleon was sent (1779) to French military schools at
..... Click the link for more information. ). The States-General were transformed into the National Assembly (1789); a constitutional monarchy was created (1791); war with much of Europe began, accompanied by violence and the growth of radical factions in France (1792); the king and queen were beheaded (1793); RobespierreRobespierre, Maximilien Marie Isidore
, 1758–94, one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. Early Life
A poor youth, he was enabled to study law in Paris through a scholarship.
..... Click the link for more information. presided over the Reign of TerrorReign of Terror,
1793–94, period of the French Revolution characterized by a wave of executions of presumed enemies of the state. Directed by the Committee of Public Safety, the Revolutionary government's Terror was essentially a war dictatorship, instituted to rule the
..... Click the link for more information. (1793–94) until his own execution.
A reaction ushered in the Directory (1795–99), terminated by Napoleon Bonaparte's coup. Napoleon made himself emperor (1804) and led his armies as far as Moscow. After his defeat at Waterloo (1815) virtually nothing remained for France from the Napoleonic conquests except the basis for a powerful legend. But Napoleonic administration and law (see Code NapoléonCode Napoléon
or Code Civil
, first modern legal code of France, promulgated by Napoleon I in 1804. The work of J. J. Cambacérès and a commission of four appointed by Napoleon I in 1800 was important in making the final draft.
..... Click the link for more information. ) left a permanent impact on France. From the ancien régime there reemerged the church (1801 Concordat with the Vatican) and an aristocracy less affluent and shorn of its feudal privileges but still influential.
Royalism, Reform, and the Birth of Modern France
The French Revolution and Napoleon established a uniform, modern administrative system, gave land tenure to the peasants, and left to the bourgeoisie a political heritage that they quickly reclaimed. The Congress of Vienna (1814–15; see Vienna, Congress ofVienna, Congress of,
Sept., 1814–June, 1815, one of the most important international conferences in European history, called to remake Europe after the downfall of Napoleon I.
..... Click the link for more information. ) restored the borders of 1790 and recognized Louis XVIIILouis XVIII,
1755–1824, king of France (1814–24), brother of King Louis XVI. Known as the comte de Provence, he fled (1791) to Koblenz from the French Revolution and intrigued to bring about foreign intervention against the revolutionaries.
..... Click the link for more information. as France's legitimate sovereign. The king granted a moderately liberal charter but took France into the reactionary Holy AllianceHoly Alliance,
1815, agreement among the emperors of Russia and Austria and the king of Prussia, signed on Sept. 26. It was quite distinct from the Quadruple Alliance (Quintuple, after the admission of France) of Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, arrived at first in
..... Click the link for more information. . His successor, Charles XCharles X,
1757–1836, king of France (1824–30); brother of King Louis XVI and of King Louis XVIII, whom he succeeded. As comte d'Artois he headed the reactionary faction at the court of Louis XVI.
..... Click the link for more information. (1824–30), was the champion of the ultraroyalists.
Charles's efforts to restore absolutism led to the July RevolutionJuly Revolution,
revolt in France in July, 1830, against the government of King Charles X. The attempt of the ultraroyalists under Charles to return to the ancien régime provoked the opposition of the middle classes, who wanted more voice in the government.
..... Click the link for more information. of 1830, which enthroned Louis PhilippeLouis Philippe
, 1773–1850, king of the French (1830–48), known before his accession as Louis Philippe, duc d'Orléans. The son of Philippe Égalité (see Orléans, Louis Philippe Joseph, duc d'), he joined the army of the French Revolution,
..... Click the link for more information. . The July Monarchy was a frank plutocracy run by the upper bourgeoisie. Under the "citizen king," France conquered Algeria (1830–38). The regime became increasingly autocratic, disregarding the plight of the new urban proletariat. Brought low by the unpopularity of the ministry of GuizotGuizot, François
, 1787–1874, French statesman and historian. The son of a Protestant family of Nîmes, he was educated at Geneva. He began a legal career in Paris in 1805, but soon took up literary work and later became a professor of modern history at the
..... Click the link for more information. and by economic depression (1846–47), it fell in the February RevolutionFebruary Revolution,
1848, French revolution that overthrew the monarchy of Louis Philippe and established the Second Republic. General dissatisfaction resulted partly from the king's increasingly reactionary policy, carried out after 1840 by François Guizot, and partly
..... Click the link for more information. of 1848. The revolution was at first distinctly radical, but the bourgeoisie triumphed in the June DaysJune Days,
in French history, name usually given to the insurrection of workers in June, 1848. The working classes had played an important role in the February Revolution of 1848, but their hopes for economic and social reform were disappointed.
..... Click the link for more information. .
In Dec., 1848, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon I, was elected president of the Second Republic. In 1852, by a coup, he extended his term and then proclaimed himself emperor as Napoleon IIINapoleon III
(Louis Napoleon Bonaparte), 1808–73, emperor of the French (1852–70), son of Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family), king of Holland. Early Life
..... Click the link for more information. . He emulated his uncle's autocratic regime at home and carried on a confused foreign policy with unrewarding wars (in Russia, Italy, and Mexico). The Second Empire was, however, a period of colonial expansion (in Senegal and Indochina) and of material prosperity. In 1869, Napoleon instituted a more liberal regime with a parliamentary government. But the empire ended disastrously in the Franco-Prussian WarFranco-Prussian War
or Franco-German War,
1870–71, conflict between France and Prussia that signaled the rise of German military power and imperialism. It was provoked by Otto von Bismarck (the Prussian chancellor) as part of his plan to create a unified German
..... Click the link for more information. (1870–71), in which Alsace and Lorraine were lost to Germany until 1918.
The Third Republic (1870–1940) was proclaimed after Napoleon III was captured by the Prussians. After the bloody suppression of the Commune of ParisCommune of Paris,
insurrectionary governments in Paris formed during (1792) the French Revolution and at the end (1871) of the Franco-Prussian War. In the French Revolution, the Revolutionary commune, representing urban workers, tradespeople, and radical bourgeois, engineered
..... Click the link for more information. (1871) by the right-wing provisional government under Adolphe ThiersThiers, Adolphe
, 1797–1877, French statesman, journalist, and historian.
After studying law at Aix-en-Provence, Thiers went (1821) to Paris and joined the group of writers that attacked the reactionary government of King Charles X.
..... Click the link for more information. , Marshal MacMahonMacMahon, Marie Edmé Patrice de
, 1808–93, president of the French republic (1873–79), marshal of France. MacMahon, of Irish descent, fought in the Algerian campaign, in the Crimean War, and in the Italian war of 1859.
..... Click the link for more information. , a royalist sympathizer, was elected president (1873). But for the intransigence of Henri, comte de Chambord (the legitimist pretender), France might again have become a monarchy. A republican constitution was finally adopted in 1875. As the various parties combined, separated, and recombined into political blocs, new cabinets followed in quick succession.
The 1880s witnessed the expansion of railroads and public education; the latter revived the age-old quarrel in France between church and state. In 1905, after other issues had been added to the dispute, church and state were separated by law. After the rapid rise and fall (1888–89) of General BoulangerBoulanger, Georges Ernest
, 1837–91, French general and reactionary politician. He served in North Africa and Indochina, and in the Franco-Prussian War. Later, he was briefly commander of French troops in Tunisia.
..... Click the link for more information. , the stability of France was once more shaken by the Dreyfus AffairDreyfus Affair
, the controversy that occurred with the treason conviction (1894) of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus (1859–1935), a French artillery officer and graduate of the French military academy.
..... Click the link for more information. (begun 1894), which discredited monarchists and reactionaries and brought anticlerical, moderate leftists to power. Socialism, led by GuesdeGuesde, Jules
, 1845–1922, French socialist, whose original name was Basile. Exiled for his support of the Paris commune, he became a confirmed Marxist after 1876 and, with Paul Lafargue, led in advocating socialism in France and a policy of noncompromise with the existing
..... Click the link for more information. and JaurèsJaurès, Jean
, 1859–1914, French Socialist leader and historian. A brilliant student and teacher, he entered the chamber of deputies in 1885 and subsequently became a Socialist.
..... Click the link for more information. , was now a major political force but was weakened by internal dissensions. In foreign policy the years before 1914 were marked by continued colonial expansion in Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, West Africa, Madagascar) and Indochina, bringing conflict with Great Britain (see Fashoda IncidentFashoda Incident
, 1898, diplomatic dispute between France and Great Britain. Toward the end of the 19th cent., while Britain was seeking to establish a continuous strip of territory from Cape Town to Cairo, France desired to establish an overland route from the Red Sea to the
..... Click the link for more information. ) and with Germany (see MoroccoMorocco
, officially Kingdom of Morocco, kingdom (2015 est. pop. 34,803,000), 171,834 sq mi (445,050 sq km), NW Africa. Morocco is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea (N), the Atlantic Ocean (W), Western Sahara (S), and Algeria (S and E).
..... Click the link for more information. ). Eventually, France, England, and Russia allied themselves to balance the German-Austrian-Italian combination (see Triple Alliance and Triple EntenteTriple Alliance and Triple Entente
, two international combinations of states that dominated the diplomatic history of Western Europe from 1882 until they came into armed conflict in World War I.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
The World Wars
In World War I, France bore the brunt of the ground fighting in the west. ClemenceauClemenceau, Georges
, 1841–1929, French political figure, twice premier (1906–9, 1917–20), called "the Tiger." He was trained as a doctor, but his republicanism brought him into conflict with the government of Napoleon III, and he went to the United States,
..... Click the link for more information. was France's outstanding leader. At the Paris Peace Conference (see Versailles, Treaty ofVersailles, Treaty of,
any of several treaties signed in the palace of Versailles, France. For the Treaty of Versailles of 1783, which ended the American Revolution, see Paris, Treaty of, 1783.
..... Click the link for more information. ) France obtained heavy German reparations and the right to occupy the left bank of the Rhine for 15 years. When reparations payments were defaulted, France occupied the RuhrRuhr
, region, c.1,300 sq mi (3,370 sq km), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany; a principal manufacturing center of Germany. The Ruhr lies along, and north of, the Ruhr River (145 mi/233 km long), which rises in the hills of central Germany and flows generally west to the
..... Click the link for more information. (1923–25).
Outstanding among French political figures of the 1920s were PoincaréPoincaré, Raymond
, 1860–1934, French statesman, president of France (1913–20); cousin of Jules Henri Poincaré. A member of the chamber of deputies from 1887, he held numerous cabinet posts from 1893 to 1906.
..... Click the link for more information. , HerriotHerriot, Édouard
, 1872–1957, French statesman and man of letters. After beginning an academic career he turned to politics. A moderate leftist, anticlerical, and antimilitarist, he rose to leadership of the Radical Socialist (Radical) party, a dominant party in
..... Click the link for more information. , and BriandBriand, Aristide
, 1862–1932, French statesman. A lawyer and a Socialist, he entered (1902) the chamber of deputies and helped to draft and pass the law (1905) for separation of church and state.
..... Click the link for more information. . By the middle of the decade relations with Germany had improved (see Locarno PactLocarno Pact,
1925, concluded at a conference held at Locarno, Switzerland, by representatives of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The depression of the 1930s was aggravated by the immobile economic policies of the government, and political complacency was rocked by the Stavisky AffairStavisky Affair
, financial and political scandal that shook France in 1934. Serge Alexandre Stavisky, a swindler associated with the municipal pawnshop of Bayonne, sold huge quantities of worthless bonds.
..... Click the link for more information. (1934). The Popular Front, a coalition led by Léon BlumBlum, Léon
, 1872–1950, French Socialist leader and writer. Well established in literary circles, he entered politics during the Dreyfus Affair and rose to party leadership.
..... Click the link for more information. , of Socialists, Radical Socialists, and Communists, won the elections of 1936; Popular Front governments (1936–38) enacted important social and labor reforms before being overturned by conservative opposition.
After Blum's fall, Édouard DaladierDaladier, Édouard
, 1884–1970, French politician, a Radical Socialist. After World War I he was a member of successive French cabinets. He was premier from Jan. to Oct., 1933, and again from Jan. to Feb.
..... Click the link for more information. assented to the appeasement policy toward Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Spain favored by Britain and made France a party to the Munich PactMunich Pact,
1938. In the summer of 1938, Chancellor Hitler of Germany began openly to support the demands of Germans living in the Sudetenland (see Sudetes) of Czechoslovakia for an improved status. In September, Hitler demanded self-determination for the Sudetenland.
..... Click the link for more information. (1938). After the outbreak (1939) of World War II he was replaced by Paul ReynaudReynaud, Paul
, 1878–1966, French statesman and lawyer. He held several cabinet posts, and after Nov., 1938, as minister of finance in the cabinet of Édouard Daladier, he pursued an extremely deflationary policy.
..... Click the link for more information. . In May–June, 1940, France was ignominiously defeated by Germany. Marshal PétainPétain, Henri Philippe
, 1856–1951, French army officer, head of state of the Vichy government (see under Vichy). In World War I he halted the Germans at Verdun (1916), thus becoming the most beloved French military hero of that conflict.
..... Click the link for more information. became head of the Vichy government (see under VichyVichy
, city (1990 pop. 28,048), Allier dept., central France, on the Allier River. Vichy's hot mineral springs made it one of the foremost spas in Europe, with a casino (now a convention center) and grand hotels.
..... Click the link for more information. ) of unoccupied France (other Vichy leaders were LavalLaval, Pierre
, 1883–1945, French politician. Elected (1914) to the chamber of deputies as a Socialist, he held various cabinet posts and in 1926 became a senator as an Independent, moving away from his leftist affiliations.
..... Click the link for more information. and DarlanDarlan, Jean François
, 1881–1942, French admiral. A career naval officer, he became commander of the French navy in 1939 and joined the Vichy government (see under Vichy) in 1940 as minister of the navy. After the fall of Pierre Laval, Darlan was made (Feb.
..... Click the link for more information. ), which became a German tool, while Gen. Charles de Gaulle proclaimed, from London, the continued resistance of the "Free French." The Allied invasion (Nov., 1942) of North Africa resulted (1943) in the establishment of a provisional Free French government at Algiers and in the complete German occupation of metropolitan France. De Gaulle's government moved to Paris after the city was liberated (Aug., 1944).
By the end of 1944 the Allies, with heroic aid from the French resistance, had expelled the Germans from France. German occupation had been costly and oppressive. Thousands had been executed and hundreds of thousands made slave laborers in Germany. The liberation campaign itself caused much destruction. Although reduced in power and prestige, France became one of the five great powers in the United Nations and shared in the occupation of Germany. De Gaulle became provisional president.
The Fourth Republic and Postwar France
The Fourth Republic was officially proclaimed in 1946; the new constitution reorganized the empire as the French UnionFrench Union,
1946–58, political entity established by the French constitution of 1946. It comprised metropolitan France (the 90 departments of continental France and Corsica); French overseas departments, territories, settlements, and United Nations trusteeships; French
..... Click the link for more information. and was otherwise quite similar to that of the Third Republic. In the immediate postwar years the Communists, notably Maurice ThorezThorez, Maurice
, 1900–1964, French Communist leader. The son of a coal miner, Thorez himself worked in the mines. He early joined the Socialist party and in 1920 became one of the original members of the French Communist party.
..... Click the link for more information. , a major figure in the PCF and a fixture in government throughout the Fourth Republic and into the Fifth, the moderate Mouvement Républicain Populaire, founded by Georges BidaultBidault, Georges
, 1899–1983, French political leader. An influential columnist (1932–39), he was imprisoned (1940–41) in World War II and then joined the French underground, becoming its leader.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the Socialists were the strongest of the many political parties; the pattern of short-lived coalitions reappeared. Banks and major industries were nationalized. American aid (see Marshall PlanMarshall Plan
or European Recovery Program,
project instituted at the Paris Economic Conference (July, 1947) to foster economic recovery in certain European countries after World War II. The Marshall Plan took form when U.S. Secretary of State George C.
..... Click the link for more information. ) helped rebuild the shattered economy. To further economic recovery and begin the political integration of Europe, France participated in creating the institutions of what has become the European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations)
..... Click the link for more information. , most notably the European Economic Community (Common Market).
French military resources were committed to the West by joining the North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO), established under the North Atlantic Treaty (Apr. 4, 1949) by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States.
..... Click the link for more information. (NATO). France sent thousands of soldiers to IndochinaIndochina,
Fr. Indochine, former federation of states, SE Asia. It comprised the French colony of Cochin China and the French protectorates of Tonkin, Annam, Laos, and Cambodia (Cochin China, Tonkin, and Annam were later united to form Vietnam). The capital was Hanoi.
..... Click the link for more information. in an attempt to defeat the nationalist-Communist movement led by the Vietnamese Ho Chi MinhHo Chi Minh
, 1890–1969, Vietnamese nationalist leader, president of North Vietnam (1954–69), and one of the most influential political leaders of the 20th cent. His given name was Nguyen That Thanh. In 1911 he left Vietnam, working aboard a French liner.
..... Click the link for more information. . The effort collapsed with the French defeat at DienbienphuDienbienphu
or Dien Bien Phu
, former French military base, N Vietnam, near the Laos border. It was the scene in 1954 of the last great battle between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh in Indochina. The French occupied the base by parachute drop in Nov.
..... Click the link for more information. (May, 1954). Pierre Mendès-FranceMendès-France, Pierre
, 1907–82, French statesman. A lawyer and economist, he entered (1932) the chamber of deputies as a Radical Socialist. In World War II he was a pilot in the Free French forces.
..... Click the link for more information. came to power, determined to end French involvement. French withdrawal from Indochina was agreed upon at the Geneva Conference. Subsequently Morocco and Tunisia also achieved independence. But the war for independence in AlgeriaAlgeria
, Arab. Al Djazair, Fr. Algérie, officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, republic (2015 est. pop. 39,872,000), 919,590 sq mi (2,381,741 sq km), NW Africa, bordering on Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Morocco in the west, on the
..... Click the link for more information. destroyed the Fourth Republic. When a right-wing French military coup in Algeria (1958) threatened to spread to metropolitan France, de Gaulle was invited back to power.
De Gaulle established the Fifth Republic and became its first president in Dec., 1958. The French Union was transformed into the French CommunityFrench Community,
established in 1958 by the constitution of the Fifth French Republic to replace the French Union. Its members consisted of the French Republic, which included metropolitan France (continental France, Corsica, Algeria and the Sahara), the overseas territories
..... Click the link for more information. , and most of France's African holdings became independent by 1960. Algerian independence was negotiated despite a terrorist campaign by the Secret Army Organization (OAS) of extremist French soldiers. De Gaulle aimed at restoring France's prestige in world affairs. France became a nuclear power (1960). France blocked Britain's entrance into the European Economic Community and for a time (1965) boycotted the Market's meetings. Diplomatic recognition was extended (1964) to Communist China. In 1966, de Gaulle withdrew French forces from the integrated command of NATO and forced all U.S. and NATO forces to leave France, although he proclaimed adherence in the event of an "unprovoked attack."
In the spring of 1968 widespread student demonstrations against France's obsolete educational system were joined by striking workers and farmers. De Gaulle dissolved the national assembly and, blaming the Communists for the disorders, won a great electoral victory (June, 1968). The Gaullist party won the first absolute majority in the assembly in French history. But de Gaulle resigned in Apr., 1969, after his proposals for regional reorganization and for revision of the senate were defeated in a referendum.
The Contemporary Era
Georges PompidouPompidou, Georges Jean Raymond
, 1911–74. French political leader, president of France (1969–74). Georges Pompidou taught school and then served in World War II until the fall (1940) of France, when he returned to teaching.
..... Click the link for more information. , a Gaullist, was elected president in June, 1969. He preserved de Gaulle's independent foreign policy but made innovations domestically, especially in devaluing the franc. In 1971, he reversed French policy and declared support for Britain's entrance into the European Community. Pompidou died suddenly in 1974 and was succeeded as president by Valéry Giscard d'EstaingGiscard d'Estaing, Valéry
(Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing) , 1926–2020, French political leader, president of France (1974–81); b. French-occupied Germany.
..... Click the link for more information. , his finance minister, who defeated Socialist leader François MitterrandMitterrand, François Maurice
, 1916–96, French political leader, president of France, 1981–95. Initially a supporter of Pétain's Vichy government during World War II, he joined the Resistance in 1943.
..... Click the link for more information. in a close presidential runoff election. Discontent with inflation and unemployment, dissension within the right wing between Giscard and RPR leader Jacques ChiracChirac, Jacques René
, 1932–2019, French political leader, president of France (1995–2007), b. Paris. He attended the National School of Administration, joined the civil service, and began his political career in 1961 working for Premier Georges Pompidou.
..... Click the link for more information. , and austerity measures imposed by Giscard combined to aid the Socialist party, and Mitterrand won the 1981 presidential election.
Mitterrand quickly dissolved the national assembly, and it became predominantly Socialist after new elections. To placate the Communist party, with which the Socialists had been allied since 1977, four Communist ministers were added to the cabinet. Many large industries (steel, nuclear energy, armaments), private banks, and insurance companies were nationalized, and minimum wage and social security benefits were increased. However, by 1982 the economic situation had worsened, in part because of decreased exports and pressure on the franc; the government devalued the franc, imposed a wage and price freeze, and granted tax concessions to business. In 1984 Mitterrand re-formed the government, excluding the Communists.
In 1986 a right-wing coalition won a majority in Parliament, and Jacques Chirac was appointed premier. He began a policy of privatizing state-owned companies. In the 1988 presidential election a right-wing candidate, Jean-Marie Le PenLe Pen, Jean-Marie
, 1928–, French politician. He graduated from law school, was elected (1956) a parliamentary deputy, and criticized President de Gaulle's Algerian policy. From 1972 to 2011 he led the extreme right-wing National Front (FN).
..... Click the link for more information. , ran on an extreme anti-immigration platform and won a significant portion of first-round votes. Mitterrand, however, was reelected in the second round, defeating Chirac.
In 1991 France agreed to sign the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Mitterrand turned increasingly to foreign affairs and pursued a more moderate economic program. Nonetheless, in the 1993 elections, with the Socialists devastated by rising unemployment and corruption scandals, conservative parties captured nearly 85% of the seats in the national assembly, and Édouard BalladurBalladur, Édouard
, 1929–, French political leader, b. Turkey. He moved to France as a child and grew up in Marseille. A Gaullist and member of the Rally for the Republic, he served under Premier Georges Pompidou in the 1960s and was finance minister under
..... Click the link for more information. , a Gaullist, became premier. The new government slashed interest rates and followed other policies aimed at stemming France's continuing recession. In 1995, Chirac was elected president, defeating Balladur and a Socialist candidate; he appointed Alain JuppéJuppé, Alain
, 1945–, French politician, b. Les Landes. A member of the Gaullist Rally for the Republic (RPR), he entered the Inspection des Finances in 1972.
..... Click the link for more information. as premier.
France was beset by a host of problems in 1995, including severe floods and terror bombings; the government faced international criticism for its nuclear testing in the South Pacific, which it resumed after a three-year moratorium; and the country was paralyzed late in the year by a long transportation workers strike. The strike action was one of many that followed the announcement by Premier Juppé of a comprehensive plan to overhaul the massive social security system and to raise taxes—actions aimed at helping to reduce the budget deficit and enable France to qualify for European monetary union, which was achieved in 1999 (see European Monetary SystemEuropean Monetary System,
arrangement by which most nations of the European Union (EU) linked their currencies to prevent large fluctuations relative to one another. It was organized in 1979 to stabilize foreign exchange and counter inflation among members.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Chirac ended nuclear testing in 1996 and announced plans for scaling back French military deployment and phasing in an all-volunteer force.
Following parliamentary elections in 1997, Socialist Lionel JospinJospin, Lionel Robert
, 1937–, French politician, premier of France (1997–2002). He studied at the elite École Nationale d'Administration (1961–65) and worked (1965–70) in the foreign ministry.
..... Click the link for more information. became premier. In late 2000, Chirac was accused of involvement in a 1980s kickback scheme that provided funds for political parties when he was mayor of Paris, but he denied any knowledge of the scheme. The charges created political difficulties for Chirac but did not greatly affect his popularity. The Socialist parliament in 2001 approved a bill giving Corsica limited autonomy. The move was originally intended to end separatist violence there, but the year actually saw an increase in attacks, and the law was subsequently ruled in large part to be unconstitutional.
In the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections Chirac won a resounding victory. Jospin, who ran against Chirac for the presidency, failed to make it into the runoff, where Chirac's opponent was the right-wing nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen. Jospin resigned as premier, and Chirac went on the win the presidency. The Socialists suffered a further setback in the national assembly elections, when the center-right alliance, the Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP; subsequently the Union for a Popular Movement), won three fifths of the seats. Jean-Pierre RaffarinRaffarin, Jean-Pierre
, 1948–, French politician. From a political family, he began his career in business and served as a spokesman for a labor minister in the late 1970s before returning to the private sector.
..... Click the link for more information. was appointed premier by Chirac.
In 2002–3, as the Bush administration pushed for the abandonment of UN weapons inspections in Iraq and for the UN approval of the use of force to oust Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and disarm Iraq, President Chirac became one of the strongest international opponents of war. France threatened to veto any resolution that explicitly authorized the use of force, which led to acrimonious relations with the United States and Great Britain. France's strong stand, which was also supported by Germany, also led to divisions in the European Union and NATO, whose member governments disagreed on whether to use force against Iraq.
A referendum in July, 2003, calling for approval of a new Corsican assembly with limited autonomy (made possible by amendments to the constitution) failed to pass; the government had supported the measure in hopes of undercutting Corsican separatists. The following month an estimated 11,000 people, largely elderly, died as a result of a persistent heatwave in which temperatures in parts of the country rose to above 104°F; (40°C;).
Local and regional elections in Mar., 2004, resulted in a clear victory for the Socialists. The vote was seen as rejection of the government's moves to make changes in the French social welfare system, with its generous welfare, health-care, and pension benefits. The government subsequently also suffered losses in the September elections for the senate. In May, 2005, voters rejected the proposed new constitution for the European Union, resulting in a further embarrassment for the government, and Premier Raffarin resigned. Dominique de VillepinVillepin, Dominique de
(Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin) , 1953–, French diplomat and government official, b. Rabat, Morocco. Of aristocratic descent, he graduated (1980) from the prestigious École nationale d'administration and
..... Click the link for more information. , who had been interior minister, succeeded Raffarin as premier.
In Oct., 2005, following strident comments by Interior Minister SarkozySarkozy, Nicolas
(Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa) , 1955–, French politician, president of France (2007–12), b. Paris. The son of a minor Hungarian aristocrat who immigrated to France and married the daughter of Greek immigrants, Sarkozy became a
..... Click the link for more information. on urban violence linked to immigrants, and the accidental deaths of two black youths who were trying to hide from the police, nighttime riots by persons of African and Arab descent occurred in suburbs of Paris, spread to other Parisian suburbs, and in November spread to many other places in France. The government declared a state of emergency, which lasted for the rest of 2005, but provocative comments by some officials continued to feed immigrant resentment. The riots, which highlighted the alienation and poverty of the French of non-European descent, did not end until after mid-November.
A new national crisis arose in early 2006 when Villepin pushed through changes to French labor law that would make it easier to fire workers under age 26 during their first two years with a company. A series of demonstrations and strikes against the law occurred in Mar.–Apr., 2006. Although the law was enacted, in a setback for Villepin, he subsequently announced that it would be replaced by new legislation designed to reduce youth unemployment. Charges that Villepin had targeted (2004) Sarkozy for investigation by the secret service in an attempt to smear his party rival brought calls for Villepin to resign, but Chirac continued to support the premier. (Villepin was acquitted of the charges in 2010.)
Sarkozy secured the UMP nomination for president in Jan., 2007, while the Socialists had earlier nominated Ségolène RoyalRoyal, Ségolène
(Marie-Ségolène Royal) , 1953–, French politician, b. Dakar, Senegal. A graduate of the École Nationale d'Administration (1980) who worked as a special assistant (1982–88) to President Mitterrand, she was first
..... Click the link for more information. , the first woman to be a major party candidate for the office. Sarkozy led the crowded field after the first round in Apr., 2007, and soundly defeated Royal in the runoff in May. After taking office, Sarkozy appointed François FillonFillon, François Charles Amand
, 1954–, French political leader, b. Le Mans. A conservative, he served as an assembly deputy (1981–2002, 2007–17) and a senator (2004–7) as well as in local elected posts.
..... Click the link for more information. , a former education and labor minister, as premier.
The UMP was expected to gain seats in the subsequent June parliamentary elections, but the party actually lost seats. It nonetheless retained a solid majority in the National Assembly. Proposed pension benefit changes and civil service job cuts led to a nine-day transport workers strike and shorter walkouts by other workers in Nov., 2007. Disenchantment with the economy and with Sarkozy's personal style and his very public divorce and remarriage since becoming president contributed to Socialist gains in the Mar., 2008, local elections.
Sarkozy won parliamentary approval in July, 2008, for constitutional amendments that limiting a person to two terms as president and increasing some of parliament's powers. In 2009, France decided to return its forces (except its nuclear forces) to NATO's military command. Though France weathered the 2008–9 global recession better than most European nations, the weak French economy and increasing unemployment contributed to a significant Socialist-led coalition win in regional elections in Mar., 2010. In October the government secured legislation changing the pension system (including raising the retirement age, a measure that was partially reversed in 2012) in order to reduce public deficits and debt; the changes sparked months of protests that culminated in October with a series of crippling strikes and protests.
The recession at times strained relations with Germany when the two leading eurozone nations disagreed over how to respond to its effects (both initially and in the early 2010s when soaring budget deficits affected Greece and some other eurozone nations), but Sarkozy generally supported the reliance on government austerities as a response to the eurozone fiscal crisis. The Socialists and their allies did well again in the Mar., 2011, local elections, largely repeating their 2010 success, and in September they won control of the French Senate for the first time since the Fifth Republic was established. The 2012 presidential elections resulted in a victory for the Socialists as François HollandeHollande, François Gérard Georges,
1954–, French lawyer and politician, president of France (2012–17), b. Rouen. He attended the elite National School of Administration (ENA) and Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po).
..... Click the link for more information. defeated Sarkozy after a runoff (May); Hollande named Socialist Jean-Marc AyraultAyrault, Jean-Marc
, 1950–, French politician. The son of a textile worker, he graduated (1971) from Nantes Univ. Obtaining (1972) his teaching diploma, from 1973 to 1986 he taught German at Saint-Herblain in W France, and also served as the town's mayor from 1977 to 1989.
..... Click the link for more information. premier. In the June legislative elections, the Socialists and their allies won a majority of the seats in the National Assembly. In mid-2013 the new government enacted a number of labor reforms; a modest overhaul of the pension system's funding was passed in late 2013. A poor showing by the Socialists in the Mar., 2014, local elections led to Ayrault's resignation, and Hollande named Interior Minister Manuel VallsValls Galfetti, Manuel Carlos,
1962–, b. Barcelona, Spain. After his family moved to Paris, he became a member of the Socialist party (1980) and a French citizen (1982).
..... Click the link for more information. to succeed him. The Socialists also fared poorly in the Mar., 2015, local elections.
A Jan., 2015, an deadly attack in Paris, on a satirical magazine notorious for its cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and on a kosher grocery store, was claimed by Al QaedaAl Qaeda
or Al Qaida
[Arab.,=the base], Sunni Islamic terrorist organization with the stated goals of uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
..... Click the link for more information. . A coordinated series of bombings and attacks in Paris on November 13, by terrorists associated with the Islamic StateIslamic State
(IS), Sunni Islamic militant group committed to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate that would unite Muslims in a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
..... Click the link for more information. , killed 130 persons and injured several hundred. A state of emergency was declared (and subsequently continued into 2017) while security forces sought those terrorists who had escaped and also raided sites associated with the perpetrators and planners. In the first round of the subsequent regional elections (Dec., 2015), the National Front made record gains, but the party placed third after the final round of voting, which was won by the Republicans (the renamed UMP). July, 2016, saw another attack in which dozens were killed and hundreds injured, as a Tunisian man drove a truck through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice. That same month the government forced a further labor reform bill through the parliament; the law was opposed by many labor unions and had sparked several weeks of strikes.
Valls resigned as premier in Dec., 2016, to run for president; Interior Minister Bernard CazeneuveCazeneuve, Bernard,
1963–, French politician, b. Senlis. A lawyer and member of the Socialist party, he served in the National Assembly (1997–2002, 2007–2012) and was mayor of Cherbourg-Octeville (2001–12).
..... Click the link for more information. was appointed to succeed him. In the 2017 presidential election, Emmanuel MacronMacron, Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric,
1977–, French political leader and banker, president of France (2017–), b. Amiens, grad. Univ. of Paris Nanterre (2001), Paris Institute of Political Studies (2001), National School of Administration (2004).
..... Click the link for more information. , a former investment banker and finance minister in Hollande's government who ran as an independent, won April's first round, and the National Front's Marine Le Pen placed second; Macron easily defeated Le Pen in the May runoff, receiving two thirds of the vote. Macron appointed Édouard PhilippePhilippe, Édouard Charles,
1970–, French lawyer and political leader, b. Rouen, grad. Paris Institute of Political Studies, 1992, National School of Administration, 1997.
..... Click the link for more information. , a member of the Republican party, as premier. Macron's Republic Forward! movement and the allied Democratic Movement subsequently won a majority in the June National Assembly elections, but voter turnout was historically low. The September Senate elections left that body in control of the Republicans; that same month Macron enacted significant changes to France's labor laws by decree. Proposed changes to laws privileging workers in the national rail system led to strikes in 2018, but were enacted in June.
Opposition to planned increases in the fuel tax led to recurring public protests nationwide beginning in November. As the demonstrations continued (into 2019), they became more focused on the effects of the cost of living on poorer families, but were also marked by decreasing size and increasing violence. In response, the government halted the fuel tax rise, and later increased the minimum wage and adopted other measures, but it rejected a tax increases on the highest incomes, as many demonstrators sought. In late 2019 a proposed reorganization of the pension system led to strikes and protests that continued into early 2020; the changes were enacted by decree in Mar., 2020.
France was one of the European nations most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, which caused a significant economic contraction. Dissatisfaction with the generally conservative approach of Macron's government led to his party's loss of its parliamentary majority through defections in May, and Green candidates experienced a surge in voter support in local elections in June. In July, Macron reorganized his cabinet, naming Jean CastexCastex, Jean,
1965–, French government official and political leader. A member of the center-right Republicans (and its predecessor, the Union for a Popular Movement), Castex has held a variety of civil service and political posts including serving as chief of staff to the
..... Click the link for more information. , a center-right technocrat, as premier, and generally giving the government a more conservative cast. The Republicans retained control of the Senate after the Sept., 2020, elections.
A classic geographic study is J. Brunhes, Géographie humaine de la France (2 vol., 1920–26), and E. E. Evans, France (1966), is also useful. J. MicheletMichelet, Jules
, 1798–1874, French writer, the greatest historian of the romantic school. Born in Paris of poor parents, he visualized himself throughout his life as a champion of the people.
..... Click the link for more information. is still regarded by many as the greatest of French historians. Among more recent general histories of France, those edited by E. LavisseLavisse, Ernest
, 1842–1922, French historian. He was for many years a professor at the Sorbonne. His early works deal chiefly with the history of Prussia, particularly Frederick the Great.
..... Click the link for more information. and by G. HanotauxHanotaux, Gabriel
, 1853–1944, French historian and statesman. Twice minister of foreign affairs (1894–95, 1895–98), he greatly furthered the Franco-Russian rapprochement.
..... Click the link for more information. are outstanding. A monumental multivolume work is F. Funck-Brentano, ed., National History of France (tr., 10 vol., 1916–36). The many authors of classic historical works on France include, for the medieval period, M. L. BlochBloch, Marc
, 1886–1944, French historian and an authority on medieval feudalism. He taught at the Univ. of Strasbourg from 1919, became professor at the Sorbonne in 1936, and was cofounder of the journal Annales.
..... Click the link for more information. , C. V. Langlois, F. Lot, A. LuchaireLuchaire, Achille
, 1846–1908, French historian. He edited, in collaboration with Berthold Zeller, L'Histoire de France racontée par les contemporains (65 vol., 1880–90), a collection of excerpts from original sources.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Fustel de CoulangesFustel de Coulanges, Numa Denis
, 1830–89, French historian. His masterly study, La Cité antique (1864, tr. The Ancient City, 1874), stressed the influence of primitive religion on the development of Greek and Roman institutions.
..... Click the link for more information. ; for the 17th cent., VoltaireVoltaire, François Marie Arouet de
, 1694–1778, French philosopher and author, whose original name was Arouet. One of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history, Voltaire personifies the Enlightenment.
..... Click the link for more information. ; for the French Revolution and Napoleon I, H. TaineTaine, Hippolyte Adolphe
, 1828–93, French critic and historian. A brilliant student, he gained recognition with the publication of his doctoral thesis, Essai sur les fables de La Fontaine (1853).
..... Click the link for more information. , A. AulardAulard, Alphonse
, 1849–1928, French historian. He was the first professional historian of the French Revolution, and he devoted his life to this study. A professor at the Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. , G. LefebvreLefebvre, Georges
, 1874–1959, French historian, an authority on the French Revolutionary period. From 1937 to 1945 he held the chair of French Revolutionary history at the Sorbonne, and he founded the Institut d'histoire de la Révolution française.
..... Click the link for more information. , A. MathiezMathiez, Albert
, 1874–1932, French historian, an authority on the French Revolution. He studied under Aulard, whose scientific method he adopted, although it led him to different conclusions.
..... Click the link for more information. , and F. MassonMasson, Frédéric,
1847–1923, French historian, an authority on Napoleon I and his family. His work is uncritically laudatory with regard to Napoleon himself; his admiration, however, did not deter his severe indictment of Napoleon's relatives in
..... Click the link for more information. ; for the history of the working class and of commerce, É. LevasseurLevasseur, Émile
(Pierre Émile Levasseur) , 1828–1911, French economist. He was noted especially for his historical approach to the study of economics.
..... Click the link for more information. ; for cultural history, A. RambaudRambaud, Alfred Nicolas
, 1842–1905, French historian and politician. He served in the administration of Jules Ferry, was elected senator (1895), and was minister of public instruction (1896–98). Rambaud taught at the universities of Caen, Nancy, and Paris.
..... Click the link for more information. .
See also A. Cobban, A History of Modern France (3 vol., 3d ed. 1966–67); D. M. Pickles, The Fifth French Republic (3d ed. 1966) and France (2d ed. 1971); A. Horne, To Lose a Battle: France 1940 (1969) and La Belle France: A Short History (2005); J. M. Hughes, To the Maginot Line (1971); M. Marrus and R. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (1981); H. R. Kedward and R. Austin, ed., Vichy France and the Resistance: Ideology and Culture (1985); P. Pinchemel, France: A Geographical, Social, and Economic Survey (1987); M. Larkin, France since the Popular Front (1988); P. Benedict, ed., Cities and Social Change in Early Modern France (1989); C. Flockton and E. Kofman, France (1989); R. Aldrich and J. Connell, ed., France in World Politics (1989); E. Weber, The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s (1996); F. Giles, The Locust Years: The Story of the French Republic, 1946–1958 (1996); P. Burrin, France under the Germans (1997); D. Roche, France in the Enlightenment (1999); J. Jackson, France: The Dark Years, 1940–1944 (2001); J. P. Bury, France, 1814–1940 (6th ed. 2003); J. Jackson, The Fall of France (2003); C. Jones, The Great Nation (2003); G. Robb, The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War (2007); W. Beik, A Social and Cultural History of Early Modern France (2009); E. Berenson et al., ed., The French Republic (2011); F. Brown, For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus (2009) and The Embrace of Unreason: France, 1914–1940 (2014).
A Western European country, France is bounded on the north by the North Sea, the Strait of Dover, and the English Channel, on the west by the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south by the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, and Andorra.
In the east, France borders on Belgium, Luxembourg, the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Monaco. With an area of 551,000 sq km, including Corsica and the small coastal islands, France is the largest country in Western Europe. It has a population of 53 million (1977), and its capital is Paris. For administrative purposes France is divided into 96 departments (see Table 1), which in turn are subdivided into communes; the departments have replaced the country’s historical provinces. In 1977, France’s overseas possessions covered an area of 127,000 sq km, inhabited by some 2.6 million people. As of July 1, 1976, they included the overseas departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Réunion, and St. Pierre and Miquelon and several overseas territories, namely Mayotte, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, the Wallis and Futuna Islands, and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. The New Hebrides are governed jointly by France and Great Britain.
France is a republic whose existing constitution was approved by a referendum on Sept. 28, 1958, and went into effect on Oct. 4, 1958. Changes and amendments were introduced in 1960, 1962, 1963, 1974, and 1976. The state system established by the constitution is known as the Fifth Republic. The chief of state is the president, elected for a seven-year term by direct universal suffrage. To be elected, a presidential candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no candidate receives such a majority on the first ballot, a second ballot is held. Only the two candidates who received the largest number of votes on the first ballot may stand for the second ballot. All the presidents of the Fifth Republic have been elected by this system on the second ballot. The constitution gives the president broad powers. He appoints and dismisses the premier and members of the government
|Table 1. Administrative divisions of France (1975)|
|Department||Area (thousand km)||Population (thousands, 1975 census)||Capital|
|Alpes-de-Haute Provence (Basses-Alpes) ...............||6.9||112.3||Digne|
|Belfort, Territoire de ...............||0.6||128.2||Belfort|
|Charente-Maritime ...............||6.8||497.7||La Rochelle|
|Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse ...............||8.7||220.0||Ajaccio|
|Pyrénées-Atlantiques (Basses Pyrénées) ...............||7.6||535.2||Pau|
|Sarthe ...............||6.2||490.0||Le Mans|
|Vendée ...............||6.7||449.9||La Roche-sur-Yon|
(cabinet), presides over the Council of Ministers, the Supreme Defense Council, and the Defense Committee, and promulgates laws. He may submit to a referendum proposed laws or other issues, and he has the right to dissolve parliament. The president appoints all the higher civilian and military officials, serves as the supreme commander in chief of the armed forces, and has the right of pardon. Of particular importance is the president’s right to declare a state of emergency.
The highest legislative body is a bicameral parliament consisting of the National Assembly (491 deputies) and the Senate (316 senators, as of September 1977). The National Assembly is popularly elected for five years under a system requiring an absolute majority in two ballots. The Senate is indirectly elected for nine years, with one-third of the seats being renewed every three years. In departments with five or more senators elections are held under the system of proportional representation. Each department is represented in the College of Electors by its deputies to the National Assembly, its members of the general council, and delegates from its municipal councils. The parliament assembles twice a year, the first session beginning on October 2 and lasting for 80 days and the second session beginning on April 2 and lasting not more than 90 days. Extraordinary sessions may be convened by the president upon the request of the premier or a majority of the National Assembly.
The parliament’s legislative authority is limited to matters indicated in the constitution. It does not have jurisdiction over many spheres of state administration, which are regulated by ordinances enacted by the government. Executive power is vested in the president and the government—the Council of Ministers—which includes the premier, ministers of state, other ministers, and secretaries of state. Parliamentary deputies may not serve as members of the government.
The Constitutional Council exercises constitutional review and ensures the regularity of presidential and parliamentary elections and the referendum procedure. It consists of nine members, appointed for nine-year terms. Three of the members are appointed by the president of the republic, three by the president of the National Assembly, and three by the president of the Senate. The council includes former presidents of France.
The Economic and Social Council is a consultative body attached to the government. Its 200 representatives, belonging to various occupational categories, are appointed for five years.
In the departments the central government is represented by the prefect, who is appointed by the president. The prefect has broad powers: he is responsible for all the central government’s services in his department, exercises administrative supervision over municipal services, and heads the police force. The local governing body is the general council, popularly elected for six years, with one-half of the seats being vacated every three years.
In the communes a municipal council is elected for six years. The municipal council elects a mayor who also functions as a representative of the central government and serves as the chief of the local police.
The judicial system includes 469 lower courts and 181 courts of second, or great, instance. The judge of a lower court also presides over cases involving minor violations that come before the police tribunal. There are also correctional courts, which try more serious violations, offenses that are punishable by imprisonment for up to five years. Appeals from all these courts are handled by courts of appeal, of which there were 32 in 1976. Courts of assize, composed of jurymen, are called in each department to try major criminal cases. The highest court is the Court of Cassation. A special Court of State Security was established in 1963. Moreover, there are courts for commercial cases, special labor arbitration boards, and juvenile courts.
Disciplinary questions, as well as questions pertaining to the appointment and promotion of judges, are handled by the High Council of the Judiciary, appointed and presided over by the president of the republic.
There also exists a system of administrative justice, the highest organ of which is the Council of State.
M. A. KRUTOGOLOV
Most of France lies in the zone of the broad-leaved forests. Mediterranean-type subtropics are found in the extreme south.
Coastline. The French coast is generally low, either aggradational or lagoon, and slightly indented by large bays, such as the Bay of Biscay and Gulf of St. Malo on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Lions on the Mediterranean. The English Channel and the Strait of Dover have a steep but not high abrasion coast, and the Cotentin Peninsula and Brittany have a ria coast. On the Mediterranean, east of the Gulf of Lions, spurs of the Maritime Alps descend precipitously to the sea along the stretch known as the French Riviera.
Topography. About two-thirds of France, chiefly the northern, central, and western parts of the country, is occupied by low or elevated plains, of which the largest is the Paris Basin in the north. The plains of Aquitaine lie in the southwest; here, parallel to the Bay of Biscay, stretches the Landes, a coastal plain with a chain of dunes up to 100 m high. In the northwest the plains give way to the Massif Armoricain, and in the northeast and east they are rimmed by middle-elevation mountains—the Ardennes, lying mostly outside of France, and the Vosges.
In the south the plains are bounded by the largest upland region in France, the Massif Central, consisting of middle-elevation mountains with greatly denuded surfaces. The central part of the massif, the region called Auvergne, is predominantly a volcanic plateau with rows of ancient cones and craters, such as the volcanic dome of the Monts Dore, the Cantal crater, and the Puy chain of cones. Along the massifs southern and southwestern margins lie karst plateaus, among them the Grandes Causses, deeply dissected by canyons. In the northwestern, northeastern, and eastern parts of the Massif Central are found crystalline plateaus (Limousin, Morvan, Cévennes). Between the Massif Central and the Alps, in a deep graben, lies the Rhône Valley; in the south the valley merges with the Languedoc Lowland, which rims the western part of the Gulf of Lions. A small part of the western Upper Rhine Lowland lies within France.
In the southeast the Western Alps stretch in a submeridional direction, their highest sections—the Savoy, Graian, Cottian, and Maritime Alps—consisting of crystalline ranges cut by deep transverse and longitudinal valleys. The Alps have mountain-glacier landforms at the crest, as well as glaciers. On the west the Alps are bounded by the Pre-Alps, strongly eroded middle-elevation limestone ranges with karst formations in some places. The Jura Mountains are a northerly extension of the Pre-Alps. Southwestern France is occupied by the Pyrenees, rising to 3,298 m on Mount Vignemale. In the north the Pyrenees descend toward Aquitaine in steep slopes cut by deep valleys. The island of Corsica has a middle-elevation mountain topography; its highest peak is Mount Cinto (2,710 m).
Geological structure and mineral resources. Most of the country’s territory lies in the region of Hercynian folding. The contemporary structure of the Epihercynian platform consists of ancient massifs (southwestern Ardennes, Massif Central, Massif Armoricain, Vosges, axial zone of the Pyrenees) composed of folded complexes of the Upper Precambrian (strongly metamorphosed rocks and granite) and of the Paleozoic, chiefly marine deposits from the Cambrian to the Lower Carboniferous. The Cadomian folding (650–540 million years), which corresponds to the Baikal folding of Siberia, played a large part in the formation of the basement. The ancient massifs are separated by gently sloping troughs and syneclise basins (Paris and Aquitaine basins) filled with Mesozoic and Cenozoic deposits, including limestones, marls, chalk, clays, sandstones, and sand.
The southern, southwestern, and southeastern parts of France belong to the region of Alpine folding, which encompasses the Pyrenees foothills, Provence, the Alps, the Jura, and Corsica. The present landscape of France was formed by a general uplift that ended in the late Cenozoic. In the Massif Central, vast quantities of lava were extruded through fractures during the Cenozoic, creating large volcanic structures.
The most important minerals in terms of reserves are iron ore, bauxite, potash salt, natural gas, coal, and uranium. The iron ore deposits at Metz-Thionville, Longwy, Briey, and Nancy, with total reserves of 4 billion tons (1974), are found in the Jurassic beds of the Lorraine Basin. Large bauxite deposits, with reserves totaling 100 million tons, are associated with the Mesozoic limestones of Provence (Var Department). Potash salt, with proven and estimated reserves of 300 million tons (in K2O), is concentrated in Alsace (Mulhouse). The Aquitaine Basin has the largest deposits of natural gas (Lacq) with reserves of 150 billion cu m (1975), as well as small petroleum deposits (Parentis-en-Born) with reserves of 12.1 million tons.
The principal coal basins, those of Valenciennes (Nord and Pas de Calais) and Lorraine, have reserves of 9.5 billion tons and are associated with the folded basement of the Epihercynian platform. Uranium deposits (Limousin, Forez, Morvan) are found in the Hercynian granites of the Central and Armoricain massifs, where reserves total 43,000 tons of U3O8. Other minerals include tungsten (12,000 tons of WO3) and antimony (40,000 tons), mined in the Massif Central, fluorite (7 million tons) and high-quality talc raw material (247,000 tons), extracted in the Eastern Pyrenees, lead (630,000 tons), zinc (800,000 tons), tin (4,000 tons), silver and gold (in complex ores), sulfur, pyrite, and various building materials.
Climate. Owing to the flow of humid maritime air from the Atlantic over most of the country, France has a predominantly temperate climate with relatively mild winters and warm summers, as well as a high annual precipitation that usually exceeds evaporation. The Mediterranean coast, the southern Rhône Valley, and Corsica have a Mediterranean subtropical climate with warm moist winters and hot dry summers. In the Alps and Pyrenees the climate changes considerably with altitude.
On the plains and in the low mountains, January and February temperatures average 1°–3°C in the east and northeast (although occasionally plunging to –20°C), 5°–7°C in the west and southwest, and 8°–10°C in the south. Mean July and August temperatures on the plains range from 16°–18°C in the north to 20°–22°C in the southwest and 23°–24°C in the south. The highest annual precipitation, 1,500–2,000 mm, is observed on the western slopes of the Alps, Vosges, and Cévennes and in the western Pyrenees. The Brittany and Cotentin peninsulas and western Aquitaine receive 800–1,200 mm and the rest of the plains 600–800 mm a year. The least annual precipitation, 500–600 mm, falls on the Rhône Valley, on the intermontane valleys, and on the eastern Mediterranean coast. The precipitation is distributed fairly evenly over the seasons everywhere but in the Mediterranean region, which has a dry summer. Despite the annual snow fall, a stable snow cover does not form on the plains. In the mountains a snowpack is observed at elevations of 500–1,000 m, depending on the exposure of the slopes and other factors. The snowpack lasts from seven to 11 months at elevations of 2,500–3,000 m.
Rivers and lakes. The largest rivers of France are the Loire, Rhône, Seine, and Garonne. Part of the middle Rhine flows through the eastern part of the country. The rivers of the northern and western plains have broad valleys and low gradients and are fed by rainfall. They have an abundant flow throughout the year, rise during the winter, and do not freeze over. These rivers are navigable, and many of them are connected by canals. The rivers of the middle-elevation mountains usually form deeply incised valleys and are fed by rain and snow. The rivers rising in the high Alps and Pyrenees flow through deep valleys. Fed chiefly by meltwater from snow and glaciers, these rivers rise sharply during the summer and become quite shallow in winter. Apart from southern Lake Geneva, France has no large lakes.
Soils. Brown forest soils are widely distributed. In the northwest they are interspersed with acid soddy-podzolic soils. In the Paris Basin, typical brown forest soils overlie loesslike loams, with brown rendzinas occurring on the limestone cuesta ridges. Similar soils are characteristic of eastern Aquitaine, and highly podzolized soils are found in western Aquitaine. Soddy calcareous and humus calcareous soils, for the most part rocky, have formed on carbonate rocks in the Jura Mountains, the southern part of the Massif Central, and the Pre-Alps. Mountain varieties of brown forest soils cover large areas in the Massif Central, and volcanic soils are found in Auvergne, the central part of the massif. All of these soils are highly eroded. The Mediterranean region has the rocky, highly eroded soils of xerophytic forests and brush, as well as red soils.
Vegetation. About 20 percent of the country’s area is forested, with secondary and planted forests predominating. The largest tracts are found in western Aquitaine (mostly planted pine forests), the eastern Paris Basin, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. In eastern Aquitaine oak forests are interspersed with planted chestnut forests. This region also has some subtropical brush vegetation. Beech, oak, and hornbeam forests are found in northern France. Heaths and meadows predominate in the northwest. The principal types of vegetation in the Mediterranean south are garigue and maquis brush thickets and open woodlands of evergreen oak species and southern pine species. Forests grow almost to the summits of the middle-elevation mountains. In the Alps, at elevations of 700–800 m, oak and chestnut forests give way to beech, spruce, fir, pine, and larch forests, which grow to 1,600–1,900 m. On the northern slopes of the Pyrenees the timberline rises to 1,800–2,100 m. Above the timberline, in both the Alps and the Pyrenees, subalpine brush and tall-grass meadows are supplanted by alpine meadows at elevations of 2,100–2,300 m.
Fauna. Among typical forest mammals, encountered chiefly in the mountains, are the European wildcat, fox, badger, ermine, red deer, roe deer, fallow deer, wild boar, squirrel, and hare. In the high mountains there are chamois, mountain goats, alpine marmots, and hamsters. Birds include partridges, hazel hens, snipes, woodcocks, magpies, thrushes, sparrows, pigeons, goshawks, and kites; flamingos are found in the south. The rivers abound in perch, pike, pike perch, and trout. Sardines, mackerel, herring, cod, and flounder inhabit the seas bordering on France.
Protected areas. France has more than 3,000 protected areas (1975). A large number of preserves and national parks have been established in the mountains, for example, the Vanoise and Pelvoux national parks in the Alps and Néouvielle Preserve in the Pyrenees. Bird sanctuaries include the Camargue in the Rhône delta, inhabited by flamingos, ducks, gulls, and sandpipers, and Les Sept Isles, established on the northwestern islands for the protection of guillemots, gulls, cormorants, and sandpipers.
Natural regions. The Paris Basin is a rolling plain with a moderately humid climate, a dense network of full-flowing rivers, and large tracts of agricultural land where broad-leaved forests have been cleared. The Armoricain Upland, consisting of hills and low mountains, has a humid climate and landscapes that include secondary shrub thickets and meadows, small broad-leaved forests, plowland, and fruit orchards. Aquitaine, a rolling plain with extensive alluvial deposits, has a warm, humid climate, large pine forests in the west, and broad-leaved forests interspersed with vineyards and orchards in the east.
The Massif Central is a medium-elevation mountain region with a humid climate, mountain broad-leaved and coniferous forests, wastelands, and mountain pastures. The Vosges, medium-elevation mountains with a humid climate, have large tracts of spruce and fir. In the Alps, a high-mountain region, altitudinal zonality is expressed in a succession of forest, meadow, and nival landscapes. The Languedoc and Rhône lowlands are flat and in places extremely marshy plains with a Mediterranean climate and an alternation of subtropical brush, forests, and cultivated land. The Pyrenees, a high-mountain region, have a humid, predominantly temperate climate, full-flowing rivers, broad-leaved and coniferous forests, and altitudinal landscape zonality. Corsica has the most pronounced Mediterranean landscapes.
REFERENCESMartonne, E. Fizicheskaia geografiia Frantsii. Moscow, 1950. (Translated from French.)
Eramov, R. A. Fizicheskaia geografiia zarubezhnoi Evropy. Moscow, 1973.
Garetskii, R. G. Tektonika molodykh platform Evrazii. Moscow, 1972.
Géologie de la France, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1974.
France is a relatively homogeneous nation, with Frenchmen constituting more than 90 percent of the population (1975, estimate). There are also about 1.4 million Alsatians and Lorrainers in the east, 1.25 million Bretons in the northwest, 300,000 Flemings in the northeast, and 250,000 Catalans and 140,000 Basques in the southwest. Some 280,000 Corsicans live on the island of Corsica, and about 500,000 Jews inhabit the large cities. The population of France also includes about 4 million foreigners, chiefly Italians, Portuguese, Spaniards, Poles, Algerians, and Moroccans. The official language is French. With regard to religon, most of the indigenous people are Catholics. There are about 800,000 Protestants, predominantly Calvinists, and about 10 percent of the inhabitants are atheists. The official calendar is the Gregorian calendar.
During the 1930’s the population of France decreased owing to a falling birth rate. There was some increase in the population growth rate after World War II. From the 1950’s, the natural growth rate declined despite the government’s efforts to promote a higher birth rate. From an annual average of 6.8 per 1,000 inhabitants between 1961 and 1965, the natural growth rate dropped to 5.7 in 1973, 4.8 in 1974, and 3.1 in 1976. The low natural growth rate has led to an “aging” of the nation: in 1974 persons over the age of 60 constituted 18.2 percent of the total population.
From 1946 to 1974 the population of France increased by 12 million; 70 percent of the increase was due to natural growth, 20 percent to immigration, and 10 percent to the repatriation of Frenchmen from former colonies.
At the beginning of 1976, 4.2 million foreign workers and their families were living in France. Immigration is controlled by the National Immigration Bureau.
The population’s social structure reflects a high level of capitalist development: wage earners account for approximately 80 percent of the economically active population. Of these, three-fourths are employed in the private sector and one-fourth in the state sector. The big monopolistic bourgeoisie constitutes less than 1 percent of the population.
Only about two-thirds of the country’s labor resources are used in social production because of the relatively small number of gainfully employed women, the growth in the number of students among the employable, and chronic unemployment, which was especially severe in 1975–76. Out of a total work force of 22.2 million in 1974,11 percent are engaged in agriculture, lumbering, and fishing, and 37.4 percent are engaged in industry and construction.
In 1975 urban dwellers accounted for 70 percent of the population. The government is regulating urbanization by restricting the growth of Paris and simultaneously stimulating the development of such cities as Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Nancy-Metz, Toulouse, and Strasbourg and by building new “overflow cities.” The largest conurbations are Paris, Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Côte-d’ Azur (Nice), and Bordeaux (see Table 2).
|Table 2. Population of the largest conurbations in France (1975; thousand persons)|
|Conurbation||Central city||Suburbs||Subtotal||Suburbanized zone||Total|
Typical of rural areas are small villages and farmsteads. There are also many nonagricultural settlements; less than half of the country’s rural inhabitants live on incomes derived from farming.
Whereas the average population density is 99 persons per sq km (1977), the density in industrialized urban areas, for example, the Paris region, exceeds 300 persons per sq km. The larger river valleys and the coastal areas are also densely settled. In the mountains and in regions with less fertile soils (Landes, Sologne) there are fewer than 20 persons per sq km.
A. E. SLUKA
The primitive communal system (to the middle of the first centuryB.C.). The territory of present-day France was probably settled as far back as a million years ago. Such important Paleolithic and Mesolithic cultures as the Chellean, Acheulian, Mousterian, Au-rignacian, Solutrean, Magdalenian, Azilian, and Tardenoisian are named for places in France where significant archaeological discoveries were made. The Paleolithic caves of southern France, notably those at Font-de-Gaume, Lascaux, and Montespan, are famous for their wall paintings. Early Neolithic tribes of the Campignian culture inhabited the land between the sixth and fourth millennia B.C. The earliest farming tools unearthed in France, dating from the third millennium B.C., were discovered in the Seine, Oise, and Marne basins near Paris. Megaliths, including menhirs, dolmens, and cromlechs, have survived from the Aeneolithic and the Bronze Age, which lasted throughout the third and second millennia B.C. Many such remains have been found in Brittany and the Rhône and Garonne basins.
In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. part of France was settled by Celts, whom the Romans called Gauls. (The entire country came to be called Gaul in Roman times.) By the end of the first millennium B.C. the Celts had dispersed throughout France. The Hall-statt and La Tène cultures of the Iron Age have been ascribed to Celtic tribes. During this period the southwest was populated mostly by Iberians. From the sixth century B.C. the Mediterranean coast was colonized by Greeks, whose main settlement was Massalia, present-day Marseille. On the eve of the Roman invasion early class relations had begun to evolve in southeastern Gaul. At the end of the second century B.C. the Romans embarked on the conquest of Gaul, completely subjugating the land by the middle of the first century B.C.
Roman Gaul as part of the Roman slaveholding state (from the middle of the first century B.C. to the end of the fifth century A.D.). Roman provinces were created in Gaul, and the country was romanized, particularly the south. Under Roman rule a fully developed slaveholding mode of production was established throughout much of the country. The Roman and Gallic aristocracy created slaveholding latifundia, and the colonatus system was widely adopted. Major centers of commerce and handicrafts emerged on the site of present-day Lyon, Nîmes, and Bordeaux. Heavy taxation sparked popular uprisings against Roman rule in 52–51 B.C., in A.D. 21, and in A.D. 69–70. Christianity spread among the population in the second, third, and fourth centuries. As the country was romanized, the Celtic languages were gradually replaced by Latin.
In the third century a critical situation developed in conjunction with the general crisis in the Roman Empire: commodity production declined, economic ties to Italy weakened, and Roman political power declined. Gaul temporarily broke away from the Roman Empire, becoming known as the Gallic Empire from 258 to 273. Between 270 and 290, Gaul was caught up in the Bagaudae movement. The invasions of Germanic tribes put an end to Roman rule over the country. Burgundian and Visigothic states were established in 406 and 418, respectively. In 486 the Franks seized the last Roman possession in Gaul, the Soissons region between the Loire and Meuse rivers.
The rise of feudalism: the Frankish state (late fifth to ninth centuries). In 497 the Franks occupied Paris, and by the middle of the next century all of France had been incorporated into the Frankish state, which was frequently partitioned. In the seventh century Neustria, Burgundy, and Aquitaine achieved virtual independence. The Franks gradually merged with the local Gallo-Roman population. The Germanic peoples abolished the slaveholding state and altered the social structure. Feudal relations developed through a synthesis of the late classical relations, characteristic of the Gallo-Romans, and communal relations, introduced by the Franks. Although the members of the Germanic community, called the mark, continued to own collectively pastures, forests, and wastelands, the practice of reapportioning arable land ceased. Private ownership of farm holdings led to property differentiation among the free Germans. The Gallo-Roman slaves and coloni, as well as impoverished Germans, were transformed into dependent peasants. The harshest form of dependence was serfdom. By the ninth century the feudal patrimony was firmly entrenched throughout the land; kings, nobles, and the church owned large estates. Whereas Neustria experienced the most intensive feudalization, in Burgundy and Aquitaine feudalism was mitigated by vestiges of the Roman order. The partition of the Carolingian Empire in 843, resulting in the creation of a western Frankish kingdom, established France as an independent state.
Mature feudalism (tenth to 15th centuries). The country was first called France in the tenth century. In 987 the secular and ecclesiastical lords elected as king Hugh Capet, who had already adopted the title of grand duke of France and who founded the Capetian dynasty. The nominally unified kingdom was actually divided into numerous virtually independent feudal holdings, and in the 11th century feudal disintegration extended to various duchies and counties. The formation of the two main classes of feudal society—seigniors and dependent peasants—was completed throughout France in the tenth and 11th centuries. Many peasants became personally dependent on the seigniors. As early as the 11th century the French feudal lords constituted a privileged hereditary group. A feudal hierarchy emerged, headed by the king and based on a system of vassalage.
Two major related nationalities inhabited tenth-century France: the northern French, who lived north of the Loire River, and the Provencals of the south. A Breton nationality evolved on the peninsula of Brittany. The royal domain was at first confined to northern France, the region of Paris and Orléans. The early Capetians, however, did not have full control even over their own domain and were perpetually at war with their vassals. Gradually, through marriage, inheritance, confiscation, and conquest, the royal domain was enlarged to include the northern regions and, from the 13th century, the southern ones as well. As the Capetians consolidated their power, feudal disintegration was checked.
Between the tenth and 13th centuries the amount of land under cultivation increased, livestock breeds and grain varieties were improved, and higher crop yields were obtained. The three-field system was adopted on the fertile soils of the north. In the south, where the soil was poorer, the two-field system was retained, and a variety of crops were planted, chiefly cereals, grapes, olives, and fruit. With the growth of cities in the 11th and 12th centuries, corvée was replaced by quitrent in kind, a change that led to a reduction of seignorial tillage. In the 13th century monetary rent largely replaced rent in kind. The growth of a market economy in the 13th and 14th centuries enabled many peasants to free themselves from personal dependence, chiefly by purchase, thereby accelerating property differentiation among the peasantry.
From the tenth century the expansion of agriculture and its separation from artisan crafts, as well as population growth, stimulated the emergence of new towns and the revival of old Roman cities as centers of handicrafts and trade. The prosperity of such southern cities as Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nîmes, and Marseille, flourishing towns in the 11th century, was enhanced during the 12th-century Crusades, when direct trading links were established with the East. Artisan crafts, particularly weaving, reached a high level of excellence. Most of the southern cities freed themselves from the power of the great feudal lords either by purchase (Marseille) or by armed struggle (Lyon). Dependent on the domestic market, the northern French cities were more concerned with internal political unity. In the late 11th and 12th centuries a wave of bloody urban uprisings against the seigniors swept across northern France. During this period most of the large cities achieved the status of communes. The kings generally supported the cities, which aided them in their struggle against the great feudal lords. Nevertheless, they granted only limited self-rule to the cities in their own domain, such as Paris and Orléans. In the 13th century the northern French cities continued to expand. The southern cities, however, weakened by the Albigensian wars and the destruction of the Crusaders’ states in the East, were unable to regain their earlier prominence in the face of competition from the increasingly powerful Italian city-states.
The growth of cities and the expansion of regional trade in northern France were important prerequisites for overcoming feudal fragmentation in that part of the country. Despite these unifying forces, the consolidation of royal power was hindered in the 12th and 13th centuries by the struggle between the Capetians and the Plantagenets, who ruled England from the mid-12th century. Philip II Augustus (ruled 1180–1223), who wrested from England extensive French lands in the early 13th century and then annexed other areas to the royal domain, became the actual ruler of much of northern France. By the end of the 13th century Languedoc was part of the royal domain. Louis IX (ruled 1226–70) successfully pursued a centralizing policy, and Paris became increasingly important as the country’s political and economic center. In the early 14th century, when the royal domain encompassed most of the country, Philip IV the Fair (ruled 1285–1314) tried in vain to subjugate Flanders.
The conduct of numerous wars and the creation of an extensive administrative and judicial apparatus required large sums of money, which were raised by increasing the taxes on the peasants and the cities. Philip’s levies on church property were challenged by Pope Boniface VIII. The ensuing clash between pope and king, which lasted from 1296 to 1303, ended in a royal victory. With the sanction of the dependent papacy, Philip organized the trial of the Templars, a move that enabled him to confiscate their property. In convening in 1302 the Estates General, representing the three social estates, to support him in his struggle with the pope, Philip laid the foundation for an estate monarchy in France. The Estates General helped strengthen the central government.
The Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), fought entirely on French soil, impeded the country’s growth. Military operations, requisitions, plunder, and high taxes impoverished many regions, diminished the population, and caused a decline in production and trade. In the second half of the 14th century popular discontent touched off the Paris Uprising of 1357–58, the Jacquerie, and the Tuchin movement of 1382–84. Its defeats in the first phase of the war compelled France to conclude the Treaty of Brétigny (1360) on unfavorable terms. Charles V (reigned 1364–80) carried out fiscal reforms and reorganized the army, and in 1369 the fighting was resumed. By the end of the 1370’s French forces had succeeded in liberating a large part of France. In 1415 the English again invaded, threatening the very existence of the French state. A war of national liberation was launched against the invaders. The victories of the French forces under Joan of Arc signaled a turning point, and the war ended in victory for France. The English were driven out, retaining only Calais.
During the second half of the 15th century the French economy gradually recovered, and royal power was strengthened. After a protracted struggle with the feudal aristocracy, chiefly the powerful and virtually independent dukes of Burgundy, Louis XI (ruled 1461–83) annexed the Duchy of Burgundy, as well as Picardy and Nivernais. With the subsequent annexation of Provence and Brittany, the latter being finally incorporated into the royal domain in 1532, the territorial unification of France was basically completed. Louis’s policy of granting protective tariffs and other privileges to the commercial and artisan elite helped revive handicrafts and trade. Such new industries as silk weaving and printing were founded, and established industries expanded, among them metallurgy, metalworking, and the production of cloth and light woolen fabrics. From the latter half of the 15th century the fairs at Lyon assumed European importance, and the center of European banking gradually shifted from Geneva to Lyon. Large-scale wholesale trading also flourished at the Normandy fairs, and economic ties between various French regions grew stronger. All these factors contributed to the development of a national market.
The Hundred Years’ War prevented the main French national groups from merging completely: linguistic differences between north and south persisted, and local dialects were preserved in the south. Only in the north did a single northern French language evolve.
The breakup of feudal relations and the emergence of capitalism (late 15th century to 1789). Capitalist methods began to transform French industry and agriculture from the late 15th century. Centralized manufacture (hired workers brought together in one workshop) was introduced in such industries as shipbuilding, mining, metallurgy, and printing. In the 17th century this type of manufacture was extended to the production of mirrors, porcelain, carpets, and tapestries. Scattered manufacture, wherein the entrepreneur supplied independent artisans with raw materials and tools and bought up the finished products, was widely employed in the spinning of wool and flax, the preliminary processing of silk, and lacemaking. Mixed manufacture combining operations in a centralized shop with work at home, was adopted in the production of fine cloth and silk fabrics. France carried on a flourishing trade with the other European countries, the East, and the Americas (via Spain), with luxury goods constituting a large part of its exports. Manufacturers were often merchants as well. Skilled workers were recruited from the ranks of impoverished artisans and apprentices; peasants migrating to the cities provided a pool of unskilled labor. The “price revolution” that began to make itself felt in the 1540’s benefited the entrepreneurs but adversely affected all those who lived on wages, which lagged far behind the rising prices of bread and other foodstuffs. Those of the hereditary nobility who lived on fixed feudal rents also suffered. As early as the 16th century strikes broke out among apprentices and wage earners in Paris and Lyon, and the secret workers’ associations known as compagnonnages grew stronger.
In 16th-century France capitalist and semicapitalist relations in agriculture took the form of temporary leaseholding. Rich merchants and officials acquired large estates by buying out impoverished peasants and noblemen and then usually leased out the land. The larger tenants on these lands, as well as on church-owned property, had their own implements, livestock, and money, recruited farmhands and day laborers, and created farmsteads. In the 17th century these farmers were the main suppliers of grain, cattle, meat, and wool to the markets of northern France. Sharecropping was widely practiced in the south.
For landless peasants, impoverished by taxes and requisitions, the lease of a small holding was often the only recourse. There were relatively few “middle” peasants. Indirect taxes, which rose sharply during wartime, were almost invariably the cause of the peasant movements of the 16th to 18th centuries. The largest uprisings were those of the Croquants in the 16th and 17th centuries and those that engulfed Guienne, Languedoc, and Provence in 1643–45, Berry in 1664, and Roussillon and Vivarais in 1668. The peasants often joined forces with the urban masses, which suffered from the same oppression. Such an alliance marked the revolts in Guienne in 1548, the various movements in the southwest from 1630 to 1650, and the insurrections in the south in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
The growth of capitalism hastened the breakup of feudal relations but did not destroy them. Because the seigniors ultimately owned the land worked by the peasants, feudal payments, church tithes, and banalities continued to plague the rural population. In the towns, all industries not dominated by manufacture were carried on by petty guildsmen and free artisans and tradesmen.
An absolute monarchy began to evolve in the 16th century. As early as the mid-15th century the royal financial apparatus in the north had become completely independent of the Estates General, which met rarely and for the last time in 1614. In the south provincial estates continued to levy and collect taxes and to perform certain local governmental functions. From the early 17th century provincial intendants played an important role in state centralization.
The 16th and 17th centuries saw major changes in the composition of the ruling class. A significant portion of the hereditary “noblemen of the sword” became impoverished and were supplanted as landowners and royal officials by members of the urban bourgeoisie, who purchased judicial and administrative posts that gave them the privileges of nobility. The newcomers held their offices by right of ownership and bequeathed them to their heirs. They entered the nobility as a new stratum, known as the “nobility of the robe.” In the 16th century they supported the crown in its struggle against internal dissension. Of great importance in financial management were the tax farmers, collectors of indirect taxes who were in effect state creditors.
With the growth of absolutism the feudal aristocracy gradually lost political influence in the royal council and the provinces. The material position of the nobility deteriorated, particularly after the Italian Wars (1494–1559), when the disbanding of the French Army deprived many hereditary noblemen of their military pay.
In the second half of the 16th century France experienced a severe social and political crisis precipitated by the exhaustion of the country’s material resources in the course of long and unsuccessful wars and by the deleterious effect of the price revolution on the economy and rising taxes. The ideological basis of the social protest of the various strata of the population was Calvinism, which attracted many adherents, called Huguenots in France. The country split into two camps, the Catholics being led by the Guises and the Huguenots by the Bourbons. Their struggle against absolutism and each other escalated into a long civil war, known as the Religious Wars, during which both feudal cliques fought for political power. The Religious Wars culminated in the massacre of Huguenots in Paris on St. Bartholomew’s Eve in 1572. Abjuring Calvinism, the Huguenot leader, Henry of Bourbon, was crowned King Henry IV of France in 1594. The Edict of Nantes, promulgated in 1598, guaranteed the civil rights of the Calvinists and granted them political and financial privileges.
At the turn of the 17th century France entered a period of economic prosperity. The mercantilist policy pursued by Henry IV was conducive to the development of manufacturing and trade. After Henry’s assassination the country again plunged into feudal strife (1614–20), although this time the nobles were not supported by the bourgeoisie and the popular masses. Cardinal Richelieu, the virtual ruler of France from 1624 to 1642, strengthened royal absolutism by depriving the Huguenots of their political rights, suppressing a feudal revolt in Languedoc in 1632, and expanding the powers of the provincial intendants. Seeking to thwart the Hapsburgs’ ambition to rule all of Europe, France in 1635 entered the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) at the head of an anti-Hapsburg coalition. By the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) France acquired a large part of Alsace. The ongoing struggle with Spain was terminated by the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), also favorable to France.
The sharp increase in taxes necessitated by the war caused numerous popular uprisings, the largest of which was the insurrection of the va-nu-pieds (bare-feet) in 1639. After the defeat of the Fronde, a broad anti-absolutist social movement that lasted from 1648 to 1653, the feudal aristocracy disappeared almost entirely as an active political force. Under the personal rule of Louis XIV (1661–1715), French absolutism reached its zenith. A royal council of the monarch’s closest advisers handled all matters, the parlements were limited to the exercise of judicial functions, and the provincial estates and municipalities lost their local governing powers. The king pursued a vigorous foreign policy. As a result of the War of Devolution (1667–68) and the Dutch War (1672–78), France enlarged its territory and gained political hegemony in Europe, a position it later lost through defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14).
In the 16th and 17th centuries a French nation emerged, and the northern French language came to be spoken throughout the land.
In the 18th century capitalism became firmly established in industry, and manufacture emerged as the dominant form of industrial production. Capitalist elements were also strengthened in agriculture. Concurrently, the further expansion of productive forces was hampered by the feudal absolutist system. As the economic position of the bourgeoisie grew stronger, so did its opposition to the absolute monarchy. The bourgeoisie demanded the abolition of the guilds and internal customs barriers, the lowering of export tariffs, the elimination of clerical and nobiliary privileges, and the end of feudal practices in the countryside. In the latter half of the 18th century, under Louis XV (ruled 1715–74), French absolutism entered its most critical period. During the reign of Louis XVI (1774–92), A. R. Turgot, who served as comptroller general from 1774 to 1776, attempted to institute such bourgeois reforms as free grain trade, but his proposals were blocked by the privileged classes. In the late 1770’s a commercial and industrial crisis, coinciding with a famine caused by crop failures, produced a rise in unemployment and exacerbated the suffering of the urban lower clases and the peasantry. During the revolutionary situation that developed in 1788–89, the elections to the Estates General helped to politicize the masses. The deputies of the third estate declared themselves to constitute a national assembly on June 17 and a constituent assembly on July 9.
The triumph and entrenchment of capitalism (1789–1870). THE FRENCH REVOLUTION (1789–94). A victorious popular uprising in Paris, during which the Bastille was seized on July 14, 1789, signaled the outbreak of a revolution that soon spread throughout the country. The French Revolution was a bourgeois-democratic revolution that was propelled onward by the common people. Under the impact of peasant uprisings and demonstrations by the urban poor, the Constituent Assembly in 1789 abolished all class privileges (August 4–11), adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (August 26), and decreed the confiscation of church lands (November 2). A number of progressive bourgeois changes were made in the administrative, legal, and economic spheres: on Jan. 15, 1790, France was divided into departments, districts, and other units; on Feb. 16, 1791, the guilds were abolished and their privileges revoked; and on Mar. 15, 1791, a new customs tariff was instituted. At the same time, the liberal nobility and the leaders of the bourgeoisie, who played a leading role in the Constituent Assembly, introduced a system of suffrage based on property, thereby depriving the majority of the people of their political rights, enacted the Le Chapelier Law (June 14, 1791) banning strikes and workers’ trade associations, and preserved most of the peasantry’s feudal obligations. Convened on Oct. 1, 1791, the Legislative Assembly was dominated by its right wing, the Feuillants. On the left were the Girondins and on the extreme left, the Jacobins. The peasantry, plebeians, petite bourgeoisie, and part of the middle bourgeoisie, whose main social and political demands had not been met, sought to carry the revolution further. The outbreak of war with a coalition of feudal absolutist powers in April 1792 brought matters to a head. On Aug. 10, 1792, a popular uprising deposed the monarchy.
Elected by universal male suffrage, the National Convention established a republic in France on Sept. 22, 1792. At first the Girondins gained control of the Convention. Reflecting the interests of those among the bourgeoisie who already enjoyed the fruits of the popular revolution, the Girondins tried to halt its development. Under the leadership of M. de Robespierre, J.-P. Marat, G. J. Danton, and L. A. Saint-Just, the Jacobins, seeking to carry the revolution still further, headed a popular uprising in Paris from May 31 to June 2, 1793. The insurrection made possible the establishment of a revolutionary-democratic Jacobin dictatorship (June 1793-July 1794), the high point of the revolution. Coming to power during the republic’s critical days, when the armies of the European counterrevolutionary coalition were invading French territory and monarchist revolts were breaking out in La Vendée and Brittany, the Jacobins displayed extraordinary revolutionary energy and decisiveness, implementing radical social and political measures that assured them the support of the people, above all the peasantry. The most important issue, the agrarian question, was resolved by decrees promulgated in June and July 1793 making the feudally dependent peasants free landholders. On June 24, 1793, the Convention adopted a republic-democratic constitution, but it was not immediately put into effect because of the desperate struggle against foreign and domestic counterrevolution.
Working with the revolutionary Paris Commune, the Jacobin government mobilized the populace to fight the enemy, fought counterrevolutionary terror with revolutionary terror, and undertook to institute strict government and food rationing and price fixing (seeLAW OF THE MAXIMUM). The counterrevolutionary revolts were suppressed, the interventionists were repulsed, and the war shifted to enemy territory. Once the basic goals of the bourgeois revolution had been achieved and the external threat eliminated, however, the internal conflicts within the Jacobin dictatorship became increasingly violent. In the autumn of 1793 the Jacobins crushed their former allies, the Enragés, who represented the interests of the urban plebeians. Next, the defeat of leftist Jacobins and Dantonists in March and April 1794 by the followers of Robespierre undermined the dictatorship’s position by narrowing its social support. Having achieved their principal demands, the bourgeoisie and the well-to-do and even middle peasantry no longer cared to put up with the severely restrictive Jacobin regime. Moreover, the destruction of the leftist groupings had weakened the Jacobins’ ties with the urban and rural working poor. All this paved the way for a conspiracy against Robespierre and the formation of an anti-Jacobin majority in the Convention. On July 27–28, 1794 (9 Thermidor), Robespierre and his closest supporters were arrested and executed.
THE THERMIDORIAN COUNTERREVOLUTION AND THE DIRECTORY (1795–99). The Thermidorian coup resulted in a bourgeois counterrevolution. The reins of power were taken by the right-wing Thermidorians, among them P. Barras and J. Tallien, who mainly represented the new bourgeoisie, grown rich during the revolution by land and food speculation and military contracts. An attack was launched on the social and political achievements of the Jacobin dictatorship: in 1794 the Paris Commune was disbanded, the Jacobin Club was closed, and the Law of the Maximum was repealed. A counterrevolutionary terror was unleashed. The condition of the urban poor deteriorated sharply, sparking insurrections in Paris in April and May 1795, known as the Germinal and Prairial uprisings, which were harshly suppressed. Simultaneously, the noble-monarchist reaction gained ground.
The big bourgeoisie sought to create a government that would protect it both from the revolutionary actions of the popular masses and from the restoration of the feudal absolutist system. In August 1795 the Thermidorian Convention adopted the Constitution of the Year III, restoring high property qualifications and two-stage elections. Executive power was entrusted to a directory, and legislative power was vested in a legislature composed of two houses, the Council of Ancients and the Council of Five Hundred. When royalists attempted a monarchist coup in October 1795 (11–13 Vendémiaire), the revolt was quelled with the help of troops led by General Napoleon Bonaparte.
In October 1795 a legislature was elected, and the government it formed, the Directory of 1795–99, was dominated by Thermidorians, led by Barras. The disparity between the enrichment of the big bourgeoisie and the growing misery of the popular masses gave rise to a movement “for equality” led by G. Babeuf. Preparations for a popular insurrection in the spring of 1796 were thwarted by treachery, and Babeuf was executed. Unable to cope with the royalist movement and fearful of revolutionary actions by the people, the Directory veered from right to left in a seesaw policy. The regime was temporarily sustained by the victories of the republican armies, which were waging wars of conquest and creating several dependent sister republics in Europe. When, however, a second anti-French coalition was organized by Great Britain, Russia, and Austria and the victories of A. V. Suvorov stripped France of her conquests, the fall of the discredited regime became inevitable. The French bourgeoisie leaned toward a stable government supported by the army. On Nov. 9–10, 1799 (18 Brumaire), the Directory was overthrown in a coup d’etat led by Napoleon Bonaparte and E. J. Sieyès and supported by the big bourgeoisie and the army.
THE CONSULATE AND THE FIRST EMPIRE (1799–1814). The coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire was legalized by the Constitution of the Year VIII (December 1799), which transferred power to three consuls. Real authority, however, was concentrated in the hands of the first consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, who was proclaimed Emperor Napoleon I in 1804.
While destroying the democratic achievements of the revolution, Napoleon’s military dictatorship strengthened the bourgeois system created by the revolution. The administrative apparatus was centralized to an unprecedented degree, a powerful and far-flung police network was established, and strict censorship was imposed. The Concordat concluded with Pope Pius VII in 1802 swept away the revolution’s progressive legislation on religion and the church. The Civil Code of 1804, commonly called the Napoleonic Code, was aimed at safeguarding bourgeois private property. The Commercial Code of 1808 and the Criminal Code of 1811 served the same purpose. The Napoleonic regime upheld and protected the redistribution of property that had taken place during the revolution, when the lands of the church and the émigré nobles passed to the bourgeoisie and the prosperous peasantry. Industrialists received state subsidies and contracts, and the government protected the domestic market from foreign, chiefly British, competition. Factory production emerged alongside manufacture, and agriculture expanded, notably grape and flax growing and sericulture.
Napoleon’s foreign policy also reflected the interests of the French bourgeoisie. The main goal of the ceaseless wars fought under the Consulate and Empire (seeNAPOLEONIC WARS) was the establishment of French economic and political hegemony, first in Europe and then the world. Although they were wars of conquest from the outset, they initially had some progressive value in that they helped undermine the feudal order of Europe. In time, however, they lost their progressive aspect as the French ruling circles sought to subjugate completely the peoples of the conquered states, thereby arousing a European-wide national liberation movement that brought Napoleon his first defeats in Spain in 1808–09. The long wars sapped the country’s strength: the economy was weakened by continual military recruiting, rising taxes, and the failure of the continental blockade. Moreover, the destruction of the European states greatly reduced the market for French goods. In 1810–11, France experienced a severe commercial and industrial crisis. Rising discontent even among the big industrial and commercial bourgeoisie eroded the empire’s base of social support. In the Patriotic War of 1812, Russia crushed the might of the Napoleonic Empire. The rout of the French Army in Russia and in the war of 1813–14 hastened the downfall of the Bonapartist dictatorship. After allied troops entered Paris, Napoleon abdicated on Apr. 6, 1814.
THE BOURBON RESTORATION (1814–15 and 1815–30). The Bourbon monarchy was restored. At the insistence of the anti-French coalition, which realized the impossibility of restoring an absolute monarchy, Louis XVIII (ruled 1814–15, 1815–24) promulgated a charter in 1814 establishing a constitutional monarchy under which the higher nobility was to share power with the commercial and financial bourgeois elite. The constitutional monarchy was unpalatable to the former émigré aristocrats and higher clergy, who longed for a return to the prerevolutionary regime. The unpopularity of the Bourbons enabled Napoleon to return to power in March 1815 (seeHUNDRED DAYS). With his defeat at Waterloo on June 18, 1815, by a newly formed coalition that included Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, the empire collapsed a second time and the Bourbon monarchy was again restored. The Treaty of Paris (1815) reduced France to its 1790 borders.
During the Restoration political power was wielded by the nobility and the clergy. The leading posts in the army and bureaucracy were assumed by émigré noblemen. The Chamber of Deputies that was elected in 1815, frequently called the Chambre introuvable, consisted mainly of ultraroyalists seeking to restore the former privileges of the nobility and the clergy. Fearing a revolutionary upheaval, Louis XVIII dissolved the chamber the next year. When the ultraroyalists returned to power in 1820–21, the reactionary features of the electoral system were strengthened. The electoral law of 1817, establishing high property and age qualifications, was reinforced by another law, enacted in 1820, broadening the representation of large landowners in the Chamber of Deputies. France also pursued a reactionary course in foreign affairs. At the behest of the Holy Alliance, it suppressed a revolution in Spain in 1823. The government of Charles X (1824–30) promulgated a series of reactionary laws in 1825, including one providing for the payment of 1 billion francs to former émigrés in compensation for lands confiscated during the revolution.
Nevertheless, the Bourbon monarchy had to reconcile itself to the transfer of landed property to the bourgeoisie and the peasantry that had taken place during the revolution and under Napoleon; landlord property rights were restored only on land that had remained unsold. The nobility reorganized its estates along capitalist lines, leasing out small plots of land. The growing economic differentiation among the peasantry was accompanied by a greater reliance on hired labor. The amount of land under cultivation increased, as did the yield of some crops. Although machinery was introduced on large farms, the three-field system and backward farming techniques continued to prevail. Among notable advances in industry was the increasingly frequent use of machine tools in cotton and silk mills. Intensified exploitation of workers and the growing contradictions within capitalism engendered the Utopian socialism of Saint-Simon and Fourier. The Bourbon policies neither furthered the interests of the bourgeoisie and the peasantry nor alleviated worker discontent. In the July Revolution of 1830 the Bourbons were overthrone.
THE JULY MONARCHY (1830–48). The weakness of the republican groups and the lack of organization within the working class enabled the bourgeois elite to appropriate the fruits of the people’s victory in the July Revolution. The bourgeois monarchy that was established under Louis Philippe catered not to the entire bourgeoisie but only to the financial aristocracy. Suffrage continued to be limited by high property qualifications. The coming of the industrial revolution, transforming the most important sectors of French industry, bolstered the economic position of the industrial bourgeoisie, swelled the ranks of the industrial proletariat, and impoverished the country’s artisans. The working class was subjected to ruthless exploitation: a workday of 15 or 16 hours was not uncommon, and low-paid child labor was widely employed. The small size and dispersion of peasant holdings retarded the growth of the domestic market, and in many parts of France primitive farming techniques continued to be used. Moreover, the peasantry was burdened with crushing state taxes.
The profound disillusionment of the popular masses with the outcome of the July Revolution fanned revolutionary feeling. The first exclusively working-class uprisings in history took place in Lyon in 1831 and 1834. The secret revolutionary Society of the Seasons, founded by L. A. Blanqui, tried to incite an uprising in 1839, but the conspiracy was not supported by the people. In the 1840’s workers increasingly resorted to strikes. The Utopian communist ideas of T. Dézamy, J. J. Pillot, and E. Cabet circulated among progressive-minded workers, who were wooed by the ideologists of petit bourgeois Utopian socialism, notably L. Blanc and P. J. Proudhon. Concurrently, the regime’s prestige was undermined by the government’s reactionary domestic policies, the corruption and venality of the ministers, and France’s support of the absolutist powers in their struggle against the national liberation movement of the European peoples, for example, its tacit consent to Austria’s seizure of the free city of Kraków in 1846. The instability of the July monarchy was aggravated by the activities of legitimists seeking to restore the Bourbon dynasty. A serious economic crisis in 1847 exacerbated class conflicts and precipitated a revolutionary upheaval.
THE REVOLUTION OF 1848 AND THE SECOND REPUBLIC (1848–52). The bourgeois-democratic revolution that broke out on Feb. 22, 1848, toppled the July monarchy, and a republic was proclaimed three days later. The proletariat, the moving force of the Revolution of 1848, won democratic freedoms and the “right to work.” While the working class was striving to extend the social impact of the revolution, the bourgeoisie, which had desired only the fall of the July monarchy, did all it could to halt the revolution. It managed to win over the petite bourgeoisie and to sow dissension between the peasantry and the proletariat. The bourgeois counterattack was made easier by the political immaturity of the working class, which under the influence of petit bourgeois socialism put its trust in the conciliatory policy of Blanc, who became a member of the provisional government established after the abdication of Louis Philippe.
During the June Days, which V. I. Lenin described as “the first great civil war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 38, p. 305), the proletarian insurrection was ruthlessly suppressed. Its defeat, a turning point, hastened the revolution’s decline. The bourgeois republicans’ substantial concessions to the monarchists were reflected in the Constitution of the Second Republic, adopted in November 1848. In December, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected president of the republic by the votes of the conservative peasantry. The May 1849 elections to the Legislative Assembly were won by a coalition of reactionary monarchist factions (legitimists, Or-leanists, Bonapartists), popularly known as the Party of Order. In June 1849 a petit bourgeois political faction called the Mountain, headed by A. A. Ledru-Rollin, attempted to halt the reaction but failed. A coup d’etat on Dec. 2, 1851, established a military-bourgeois dictatorship under Louis Napoleon, who was duly proclaimed Emperor Napoleon III on Dec. 2, 1852.
THE SECOND EMPIRE (1852–70). The government of Napoleon III, which essentially served the interests of the big bourgeoisie, pretended to rise above class and party but in fact pursued a policy of playing the various classes off against each other (seeBONAPARTISM). The Second Empire nullified the democratic achievements of the republic, effectively abolishing freedom of the press and disbanding workers’ unions. All revolutionary and democratic organizations were dispersed, and a regime of police tyranny was established. By the 1850’s and 1860’s the industrial revolution was in full swing, and concentration of production was beginning to transform industry, particularly textile manufacture and metallurgy. As the power of the banks increased, the Paris Stock Exchange became the financial center of Europe, and capital began to flow abroad. The growth of large-scale production ruined artisans and shopkeepers, and the majority of peasants suffered from insufficient land and high taxes.
Under the Second Empire, France waged endless wars of conquest. Early French successes in the Crimean War (1853–56), the War of Italian Liberation (1859), the Opium War (1856–60), and the colonial war of 1858–62 in Indochina soon gave way to major setbacks. The Mexican Expedition of 1861–67 failed, and relations with Italy, Prussia, and Great Britain deteriorated. These foreign policy reverses coincided with failures in domestic policy. In the early 1860’s the workers’ movement began to attract a large following. Furthermore, an 1860 trade agreement with Great Britain giving British goods access to the French market angered the French bourgeoisie. Redoubling its maneuvering, the government adopted a number of demagogic, ostensibly liberal measures. The powers of the Legislative Assembly were somewhat broadened, and in 1864 the Le Chapelier Law banning strikes was repealed, although strikers continued to be harassed. These measures did not retard the growth of the workers’ movement, however. French sections of the First International were formed in 1864–65. Strikes took on political overtones as workers demanded the establishment of a republic. The 1869 elections to the Legislative Assembly augmented the number of bourgeois republican deputies. Hoping by means of a victorious war to strengthen the Bonapartist regime and avert an impending revolution, the government of Napoleon III declared war on Prussia.
Transition from premonopoly capitalism to imperialism (1870–1900). THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR AND PARIS COMMUNE. The Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) exposed the rottenness of the Bonapartist regime. The defeat at Sedan on Sept. 2, 1870, culminating in Napoleon Ill’s capture, provoked the September revolution of 1870. A popular uprising in Paris resulted in the proclamation of a republic in which, however, the bourgeois republicans seized power. The provisional government headed by General L. J. Trochu called itself the Government of National Defense, but, fearing the revolutionary ferment among the working class, it actually took a treasonous course, becoming in Marx’ words “a government of national betrayal” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 17, p. 322). In January 1871, France concluded an unfavorable armistice with Prussia. The true defenders of the country’s interests were the workers of Paris, who had created the National Guard and were ready to defend the besieged city to the end.
In February 1871 elections to the National Assembly were held by the reactionary capitulators, who acted under pressure from the occupation forces. The majority of the deputies elected were monarchists, and A. Thiers was chosen as the head of government. On the night of Mar. 17, 1871, the government tried to disarm the workers’ quarters of Paris. The next day a popular uprising in Paris overthrew the rule of the bourgeoisie, and for the first time in history the working class took power. The Thiers government having fled to Versailles, absolute power in Paris was concentrated in the hands of the Central Committee of the National Guard (March 18–28), the first revolutionary government of the working class. Elections were held in Paris on March 26, and two days later the Commune was triumphantly proclaimed.
The Paris Commune was the proletariat’s first attempt in history to assume political power and the first instance of a dictatorship of the proletariat. It replaced the regular army with an armed populace (National Guard), abolished the old bureaucratic apparatus by making offices elective and officials accountable to the people, adjusted the salaries of state officials to the wages of skilled workers, and proclaimed the separation of church and state. Nevertheless, caught up in a relentless struggle with the Thiers government, which the Prussian interventionists were directly supporting, the Commune was unable to withstand the growing strength of the Versailles counterrevolution. On May 10, 1871, the Thiers government signed the humiliating Treaty of Frankfurt. After the Versaillais entered Paris on May 21, the Communards fought heroically at the barricades until May 28. The fall of the Commune was hastened by its defensive tactics, its fear of nationalizing the Bank of France, its indecisive-ness in the struggle against enemy agents and accomplices, and other miscalculations. The Commune was suppressed with great ferocity.
THE THIRD REPUBLIC (LATE 19TH CENTURY). After the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt in 1871, the National Assembly assumed the powers of a constituent assembly. Thiers, the provisional president of the republic, realized the impossibility of restoring the monarchy and urged that republican forms of government be retained along with monarchist institutions (“a republic without republicans”). In 1875 the National Assembly approved the Constitution of the Third Republic by a one-vote majority. The next year’s parliamentary elections gave the bourgeois republicans a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
The failure of an attempted monarchist coup in 1877 and the loss of monarchist control over the Senate were followed in 1879 by the early retirement of M. E. MacMahon, president of France from 1873, who had relied on monarchist circles for support. The moderate bourgeois republicans who came to power carried out certain progressive reforms: in 1880 the Communards were amnestied, in 1881–82 free and compulsory secular primary education for children of both sexes was introduced, in 1884 trade unions were legalized, and Bastille Day (July 14) was declared a national holiday. Altogether, the moderate republicans carried out only a few of the many reforms they had promised during their struggle with the monarchists. Meanwhile, they had embarked on colonial conquests in Africa and Vietnam that were enriching stock market speculators and strengthening the militarists. By the end of the 19th century the creation of a French colonial empire was essentially completed.
France’s colonial policy put a strain on its relations with the other European powers, however. The threat of German aggression and colonial conflicts with Great Britain pushed France into a rapprochement with Russia in an effort to avert international isolation. During the “war scares” of 1875 and 1887, touched off by the threat of German aggression, Russia gave France the political support needed to restrain Germany’s aggressive impulses. Between 1891 and 1893 a Franco-Russian alliance was formed to counterbalance the Triple Alliance headed by Germany. The government’s domestic and foreign policies, favoring the big capitalists, sharpened the dissension among the bourgeois republicans. In the early 1880’s a radical parliamentary group, highly critical of the government, was formed under the leadership of G. Clemenceau. Its support came chiefly from the petite bourgeoisie and to some extent from the middle bourgeoisie.
In the late 1870’s, after a temporary decline caused by the suppression of the Paris Commune, the workers’ movement revived. In 1880 the French Workers’ Party was founded by J. Guesde and P. Lafargue. Despite certain errors of a sectarian nature, the Workers’ Party followed a basically revolutionary line and played a major role in disseminating Marxist ideas among French workers. In 1882 a rift occurred in the party, and the Possibilists, an opportunistic current, seceded. The Blanquists formed a party in 1880–81. Various anarchist organizations also wielded considerable influence among some of the workers. The trade union movement developed apart from the socialist groups. The organizational and ideological fragmentation of the French working class, by diminishing the effectiveness of its struggle with the bourgeoisie, was largely responsible for the short-lived success of the Boulangist movement, whose social and nationalist-revanchist demagogy masked an attempt to establish a Bonapartist regime.
The Boulangist crisis of 1887–89, the Panama scandal of 1888–93, and the firing on the May Day demonstration in Four-mies in 1891 discredited the bourgeois republicans who were in power and to a certain extent strengthened the socialists, who made notable gains in the 1893 parliamentary elections. The May Day demonstrations in 1890 and 1891 and the large coal miners’ strike in Carmaux in 1892 attested to the growing strength of the mass workers’ movement. The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) was founded in 1895. The assertiveness of the working class impelled the monarchists and clericals to make their peace with the bourgeois republicans. The ensuing struggle between the forces of reaction and democracy came to a head in the Dreyfus Affair, which brought France to the brink of civil war. In the conflict the country’s progressive workers and democratic intelligentsia were pitted against the coalition of monarchists and clericals and their confederates, the ruling group of bourgeois republicans.
To quench the political fervor and revolutionary sympathies of the proletariat, the socialist A. Millerand was included in the bourgeois government of P. M. R. Waldeck-Rousseau (1899–1902). The sharp dispute over the “Millerand case” split the socialist movement. Rejecting Millerandism, the Workers’ Party, the Blanquists, and the other left socialist groups founded in 1901 the Revolutionary Socialist Union, transformed two years later into the Socialist Party of France. The socialists who supported Millerand formed the French Socialist Party in 1902. The former was headed by Guesde and the latter by J. Jaurès.
The age of imperialism (to the end of World War I). At the turn of the century French capitalism entered the imperialist stage. Henceforth, the French economy was to be shaped by the distinctive nature of French imperialism, which V. I. Lenin defined as usurious (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 27, p. 362). By the late 19th century and in the early 20th century a significant portion of the capital accumulated in France was being invested abroad instead of being used to develop the nation’s economy. Most of the outflow of capital took the form of state loans and investments in foreign securities. A notable feature of usurious French imperialism was the high level of concentration of bank capital and the relatively low level of production concentration. From 1870 to 1909 the three largest French banks—the Crédit Lyonnais, Banque Nationale, and Société Générale—increased their holdings from 627 million francs to 5.25 billion francs. Financiers succeeded in drawing large numbers of people into the stock market, and by 1914 the number of rentiers had reached 2 million. The petite bourgeoisie constituted a numerous social stratum. Despite an industrial boom in the early 20th century, France still lagged behind a number of capitalist countries in the level and rate of industrial growth, remaining a predominantly agrarian country until World War I.
France’s economic development and social structure engendered a peculiar balance of political forces. The presence of many “middle strata” strengthened the influence of the social reformist and leftist bourgeois parties and factions. Amidst intensified class struggle, the Radicals came to power in 1902, having organized themselves the year before into the Republican Party of Radicals and Radical Socialists. A law separating the church from the state, enacted in 1905, summed up the progressive legislation of the Radicals, who remained in power until 1912. The Radical governments pursued a policy marked by social conservatism and repression of the workers’ and democratic movement, which had gained momentum under the influence of the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia. The largest demonstrations of this period were the miners’ strike in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments in 1906; the movement of peasant wine producers in the south in 1907, which coincided with disturbances in the army; the clashes between barricaded workers and gendarmes in the Paris suburb of Villeneuve–St. Georges in 1908; and the strikes of postal and telegraph employees in 1909 and railway workers in 1910. All these manifestations of discontent were suppressed by the authorities.
In 1905 the Socialist Party of France and the French Socialist Party merged to form a unified socialist party, called the Section Française de l’International Ouvrière (SFIO). The formal political grounds for the merger were a recognition of the class struggle and a condemnation of Millerandism, but the party’s practical activities were increasingly tinged by opportunism. Dominated by anarchosyndicalism, the General Confederation of Labor repudiated any joint action with the Socialists.
In foreign affairs the Radical governments followed an imperialist course. At the beginning of the 20th century France embarked on the conquest of Morocco, which in 1912 became a French protectorate. In the course of settling their colonial disputes, France and Great Britain signed an agreement in 1904 marking the beginning of the Entente. In 1913, R. Poincaré, a representative of right-wing circles among the French bourgeoisie, was elected president of the republic. That year, the passage of a law extending the length of compulsory military service from two to three years provoked a broad antimilitarist movement. There was another wave of strikes, and the influence of the Socialists spread. On July 31, 1914, chauvinists assassinated the fervent antimilitarist Jaurès, and a few days later, on August 3, France entered World War I.
In the first few weeks of fighting the headlong advance of German forces threatened to engulf Paris. The government moved to Bordeaux. A Russian offensive in East Prussia, compelling the German command to shift part of its forces from the western to the eastern front, eased the situation considerably: in the decisive Battle of the Marne, the Anglo-French armies were victorious. The collapse of the German Schlieffen Plan, intended to inflict a lightning defeat on France, ushered in a long period of trench warfare. Germany’s occupation of the industrialized northeastern departments dealt a heavy blow to the country’s economy. Despite the expanded production in industries tied directly to the war effort (chemicals, aviation), the overall industrial output at the end of the war had fallen to almost half of the prewar level. Agriculture also declined.
At the outbreak of war the French bourgeoisie had announced a policy of “sacred unity” that was supported by the leaders of the SFIO and the General Confederation of Labor. On Aug. 4, 1914, the Socialists in the Chamber of Deputies voted for military credits. Guesde, M. Sembat, and A. Thomas assumed ministerial posts, and the leadership of the General Confederation of Labor proclaimed a policy of class peace. Large numbers of workers were blinded by chauvinism, and strike activity declined sharply in late 1914.
As the war dragged on, however, and the privations of the masses became increasingly severe, opposition to the social-chauvinist leadership emerged within the SFIO and the General Confederation of Labor. By 1916 antiwar feeling was mounting among the workers and spreading to the army. The February Revolution of 1917 in Russia reinforced the revolutionary ferment in France. The collapse of an offensive between Soissons and Reims in the spring of 1917 sparked uprisings in the French Army. In June 1917 some 108,000 people were on strike in France, and a peasant movement was coalescing in the south. French workers responded with great sympathy to the October Socialist Revolution in Russia. The leftist elements in the SFIO and the trade unions consolidated their position, receiving valuable assistance from the Russian Bolshevik exiles living in France. A revolutionary crisis appeared imminent. Formed in November 1917, the Clemenceau government established a virtual military dictatorship and ruthlessly suppressed the revolutionary movement. A joint offensive by French, British, and American troops under General F. Foch, lasting from July to November 1918, secured Germany’s surrender and the signing of an armistice near Compiègne.
The general crisis of capitalism (since 1918). THE POSTWAR REVOLUTIONARY UPSWING (1918–20) AND THE YEARS OF RELATIVE STABILITY (1921–30). French losses in World War I were enormous, 1.3 million dead and 2.8 million wounded. The northeastern industrial areas were devastated. No longer the “world’s banker,” France was obliged to borrow from the USA and Great Britain. The war also altered France’s economic structure, in which agriculture was superseded by industry as the dominant branch of the economy. By the Peace Treaty of Versailles (1919), France regained Alsace and Lorraine, received the Saar coal mines for 15 years, obtained the right to German reparations, and acquired the former German colonies of Togo and Cameroon. It also received the former Ottoman provinces of Syria and Lebanon. France sought to use Germany’s military defeat to establish its supremacy in Europe, becoming a principal instigator and adversary in the anti-Soviet intervention.
Rising taxes and prices and growing unemployment, brought on by the curtailment of military production and the demobilization of the army, produced a surge in strike activity: in 1919 there were 2,026 strikes with 1,160,000 participants, and the next year 1,831 strikes were held involving 1,316,000 persons. Concurrently, widespread opposition to the anti-Soviet intervention culminated in an uprising in April 1919 among sailors of a French Squadron on the Black Sea. All these events impelled the government to recall its troops from Russia in the spring of 1919. Laws were enacted providing for an eight-hour workday and collective bargaining. The high point of the revolutionary upsurge was a general strike of railroad workers in 1920; the strike was defeated by the capitulatory policy of the reformist leaders of the General Confederation of Labor. The economic crisis that lasted from the end of 1920 through 1922 accelerated the ebb of the revolutionary tide.
The impact of the Great October Socialist Revolution, as well as the lessons of the class struggles of 1919–20, profoundly altered the course of the French workers’ movement. At the Eighteenth Congress of the SFIO, held in Tours in December 1920, a majority voted to join the Comintern, and the French Communist Party was founded. The SFIO minority, stubbornly clinging to its social-reformist views, seceded. The right-wing National Bloc cabinets headed by Millerand (1920), G. Leygues (1920–21), A. Briand (1921–22), and Poincaré (1922–24) sought to resolve the economic crisis by conducting an antilabor policy at home and aggressive adventures abroad. In 1920–21, France forged alliances with dependent Eastern European countries, promoting the Little Entente and concluding treaties with Poland. In January 1923, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr, but protest within France and financial troubles obliged the government to renounce the Ruhr adventure. The episode signaled the collapse of the National Bloc’s entire policy.
In the second half of the 1920’s French industrial production and exports increased to 1½ times the prewar level, and gold reserves quadrupled. The economic revival was largely stimulated by the rebuilding of war-torn areas, the construction of the Maginot Line fortifications along the eastern border, German reparations, and exports.
The 1924 parliamentary elections were won by the Left Bloc (Cartel des Gauches), composed of Radical Socialists, Republican Socialists, and the SFIO. Under the Radical premier E. Herriot, the government carried out several democratic reforms in 1924 and 1925, such as granting partial amnesty to political prisoners and recognizing the right of state employees to unionize. Diplomatic relations were established with the USSR on Oct. 28, 1924.
The Herriot government accepted the American Dawes Plan for settling the reparations question and withdrew its troops from the Ruhr. It did not, however, succeed in obtaining guarantees of French security within the framework of the League of Nations. The Locarno Treaties (1925), signed with Germany under Herriot’s successors, only dealt with Germany’s western border, thereby undermining confidence in France’s treaty commitments to Poland and Czechoslovakia. Colonial wars in Morocco (1925–26) and Syria (1925–27) aroused a mass protest movement among French workers and strained relations between the Left Bloc parties. The banks conspired to produce a sharp decline in the value of the franc. In July 1926 a right-centrist coalition, calling itself a national union government, came to power under Poincaré (1926–29).
The strict tax reform carried out by Poincaré and the stabilization of the franc at one-fifth its prewar value helped restore the financial system (at the workers’ expense) and rebuild the industrial production base. The government continued the Left Bloc’s policy of establishing closer relations with Great Britain and the USA and of working for compromises with defeated Germany. Accordingly, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was concluded in 1928, and the Young Plan, adjusting German reparations, was adopted in 1929.
THE WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS AND THE GROWING MENACE OF FASCISM (1930–35). The world economic crisis of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s reached France later than the other capitalist countries, and although its impact was comparatively less severe, the crisis was more prolonged. Industrial production fell by 25 percent, imports by a factor of 2, and exports by a factor of 2.5. In 1934 some 368,000 persons were fully unemployed, and about half the country’s wage earners were partially unemployed. The reactionary trends in French domestic and foreign policy grew stronger. Under the right-wing cabinets of A. Briand (1929), A. Tardieu (1929–30, 1932), and P. Laval (1931–32), the French Communist Party, demoted to semilegal status, was hounded by the police.
The 1932 parliamentary elections brought to power a third government headed by Herriot, now the leader of a new Left Bloc. The Herriot government signed a nonaggression treaty with the USSR on Nov. 29, 1932, and made concessions on the reparations issue at a conference in Lausanne. Confronted by the country’s financial difficulties, four Left Bloc cabinets fell in succession in 1933: those of J. Paul-Boncour, E. Daladier, A. Sarraut, and C. Chautemps.
Meanwhile, fascist groups such as the Croix de Feu (Combat Crosses) became more aggressive. Taking advantage of financial scandals, of which the most notorious was the Stavisky Affair, the fascists organized a demonstration in Paris on Feb. 6, 1934, that was intended to bring about a coup d’etat. The reactionaries were decisively defeated by the democratic forces: 4.5 million people took part in mass antifascist demonstrations and an antifascist general strike on Feb. 12, 1934. Nevertheless, the right wing returned to power in governments headed by G. Doumergue (1934), P. E. Flandin (1934–35), F. Bouisson (1935), Laval (1935–36), and Sarraut (1936). These governments planned to revise the constitution along authoritarian lines and pursued a policy of appeasing the fascist aggressors. Foreign Minister L. Barthou tried unsuccessfully to establish a collective security system in Europe with Soviet participation through the Eastern Pact. A Franco-Soviet mutual assistance pact, signed on May 2, 1935, was not ratified until March 1936 because of the opposition of reactionaries.
Threatened by fascism and war, the French democratic forces stepped up their activities. On July 27, 1934, the French Communist Party and the SFIO signed a pact pledging cooperation in mobilizing the workers in defense of democratic freedoms and against fascist violence and the preparations for a new war. M. Thorez, who had been elected general secretary of the French Communist Party in 1930, proposed on behalf of the party to create “in the face of a front of reaction and fascism the Popular Front of freedom, labor, and peace.” On July 14, 1935, demonstrations and rallies were held throughout France in defense of democracy. In addition to the Communist Party and the SFIO, the Popular Front organizing committee included the Radicals and other left-wing factions, the trade unions, and the League of the Rights of Man. In 1935–36 the unity of the trade union movement was restored with the formation of a united General Confederation of Labor.
FRANCE IN 1936–39; THE POPULAR FRONT OF 1936–38, FOLLOWED BY THE ONSET OF REACTION. In January 1936, the Popular Front published a program calling for the nationalization of the war industry and the Bank of France, the satisfaction of the workers’ economic needs, the disarmament and dispersal of the fascist leagues, and peace through a collective security system. In the 1936 parliamentary elections the Popular Front parties were victorious, winning 375 of the 610 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (the Communist Party alone won 72 seats). On June 7, 1936, after a wave of mass strikes and factory takeovers, delegations of entrepreneurs and trade union representatives signed the Matignon Agreements providing for an average 12 percent wage increase, the recognition of union rights, and the election of worker delegates at enterprises. On June 11–12 the Chamber of Deputies enacted legislation instituting two-week paid vacations, collective bargaining, and a 40-hour workweek. A number of measures benefiting the peasantry and the urban petite bourgeoisie were also adopted.
The financial oligarchy responded by setting out to wreck the country’s economy: in 1936–37 alone more than 100 billion francs were transferred abroad. The “flight of capital” undermined the stability of the franc, but the government of L. Blum (June 1936–June 1937) did not take the necessary steps to stop the economic sabotage. After devaluing the franc, Blum in February 1937 declared the need for a “pause” in the implementation of the Popular Front program. The Blum government also took an equivocal attitude toward the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), unleashed by Franco’s supporters with the aid of the fascist powers. Proclaiming a policy of “neutrality,” it prohibited the legal government of the Spanish Republic from transporting its arms purchases across the French border.
Up to October 1938 the government was nominally supported by the Popular Front, but Blum’s Radical successors Chautemps (June 1937–March 1938) and E. Daladier (April 1938–March 1940) departed more and more from the Popular Front program. In October and November 1938 the Radicals broke openly with the Popular Front, and in May 1939 the Socialists seceded. By signing the infamous Munich Pact abandoning Czechoslovakia to the mercy of Hitler’s Germany and by issuing on Nov. 13, 1938, a series of antidemocratic decrees and then harshly suppressing the ensuing protest movement, the Daladier government paved the way for the rightists’ return to power. A Franco-German declaration signed in Paris in 1938 effectively cancelled the Franco-Soviet pact of 1935.
In deadlocking the Moscow negotiations of 1939, the governments of Great Britain and France helped unleash the aggression of the fascist powers in Europe.
WORLD WAR II. On Sept. 3, 1939, France declared war on Germany, which had attacked its ally Poland. No action was taken to help Poland, however: the French forces stood passively at the Maginot Line. This “phony war” was a direct continuation of the policy of appeasing the fascist powers in the hope of directing their aggression eastward. The Daladier government initiated a wave of repressions against the Communists. On Sept. 26, 1939, the French Communist Party was outlawed. Its deputies were stripped of their parliamentary immunity and brought to trial, and 300 leftist municipal governments were dissolved, along with 675 public organizations and 620 trade unions. P. Reynaud, who succeeded Daladier in March 1940, only intensified the anti-Soviet and anticommunist aspects of the policy of French ruling circles.
In May 1940 the fascist German armies skirted the Maginot Line from the north. On June 10, Italy declared war on France, and four days later German troops entered Paris. On June 16, Reynaud resigned and was succeeded by Marshal H. P. Pétain, who concluded an armistice at Compiègne with the German government. The armistice provided for the occupation of two-thirds of France by German troops and held France responsible for the cost of maintaining the occupation forces. Germany acquired Alsace and part of Lorraine, from which 200,000 Frenchmen were expelled. The French economy became an adjunct of the German war machine. On June 24, 1940, France signed an armistice with fascist Italy.
On July 10, 1940, Pétain was invested with full powers at Vichy, the city to which the government had moved. The profascist Vichy regime that governed the unoccupied part of France pursued a policy of collaboration with the fascist powers. On Nov. 11, 1942, German and Italian army units moved into the unoccupied zone, and on November 27 the French Navy, in danger of being captured by the Germans, was sunk at Toulon.
A people’s resistance movement was developing in France from the first days of the fascist occupation. On July 10, 1940, the underground newspaper L’Humanité published a manifesto of the French Communist Party calling on Frenchmen to rally around the working class and create a “front of freedom, independence, and rebirth.” The Communist-sponsored National Front and its fighting units, the Francs-Tireurs and Partisans, became the largest of the Resistance organizations. Also active were such patriotic organizations as the Liberation of the North (Libération-Nord), the Members of the Resistance (Ceux de la Résistance), the Members of the Liberation (Ceux de la Libération), and the Defense of France (Défense de la France). In the south there emerged such groups as Libération, Franc-Tireur, and Combat. After the Council of National Resistance (CNR) was created in May 1943, its armed detachments united to form the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). On Mar. 15, 1944, the CNR adopted a program calling for the restoration of French independence, punishment of traitors, nationalization of largescale production monopolies, and worker participation in the management of enterprises and the economy as a whole. The national and patriotic Resistance had become an antifascist and progressive-democratic movement as well.
An important factor in the struggle against the enemy was the Free French movement, founded by General Charles de Gaulle, who broadcast an appeal from London on June 18, 1940, calling for continued resistance to the enemy. De Gaulle’s movement, renamed the Fighting French in July 1942, was joined by the military units and administrations of a number of French colonies, including Chad, Cameroon, the Middle Congo, and Gabon. On Sept. 24, 1941, De Gaulle formed the French National Committee, which became the nucleus of a government-in-exile. Two days later the Soviet government officially recognized De Gaulle as the “leader of all free Frenchmen wherever they may be.” In late 1942 a group of French fliers arrived in the USSR to form the Normandy-Neman Regiment, which fought heroically on the Soviet-German front. On June 3, 1943, the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN) was formed in Algiers under De Gaulle and General H. H. Giraud. (After November 9 it was headed solely by De Gaulle.) On June 2, 1944, after being officially recognized by the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain, the CFLN was designated the Provisional Government of the French Republic.
The landing of Anglo-American allied troops in Normandy on June 6, 1944, served as a signal for FFI partisan detachments to mount a general attack. The high point of the French liberation struggle was the Paris Uprising of 1944, which freed the capital from the occupation forces. By September nearly all of France had been cleared of the enemy. The Provisional Government’s first major international act after the liberation was the signing on Dec. 10, 1944, of a Franco-Soviet Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance.
THE PROVISIONAL REGIME (1945–46) AND THE FOURTH REPUBLIC (1946–58). During World II the French economy suffered enormous losses: 2,100,000 buildings were destroyed, and 253,000 farms and 195,500 industrial enterprises were damaged. By 1944 industrial production had fallen to 38 percent of the prewar level. At the end of the war the center of gravity of French political life shifted sharply to the left. The influence of the French Communist Party, the most dynamic, powerful, and organized force of the Resistance, grew tremendously.
The first postwar governments, headed by De Gaulle (1945–46), F. Gouin, G. Bidault (1946), and P. Ramadier (January to November 1947), included representatives of the three leading parties of the Resistance: the French Communist Party, the SFIO, and the Popular Republican Movement (Mouvement Républicain Populaire, MRP). The Communist Party exhorted the people to “unite, fight, and work” to restore the devastated land. By late 1946, as the result of a “fight for production,” industrial output had risen to 70 percent of the prewar level. The decisive factors in this achievement were the nationalization, between December 1944 and 1946, of certain industries (energy, transportation, some aviation and motor vehicle enterprises) and of the Bank of France, the four largest deposit banks, and the insurance companies. Another stimulus to increased production was the introduction of progressive social reforms, such as aid to large families and health, maternity, and old-age insurance.
The main domestic political problem confronting France after the liberation was the drafting of a new constitution. After a tense struggle, during which two referenda were held and two constituent assemblies were elected, the first in 1945 and the second in 1946, the Constitution of the Fourth Republic (second draft) went into effect on Dec. 24, 1946. The constitution was a democratic one: in addition to civil liberties, it guaranteed such social and economic rights as the right to work, leisure, and health protection and the right to determine working conditions and manage enterprises collectively. In addition, the constitution extended the powers of the parliament.
Disagreements over social and economic issues and foreign policy precipitated a crisis in the three-party governing coalition. On May 5, 1947, under pressure from domestic and foreign reactionaries, the Communists were expelled from the government, signaling a swing to the right in French politics. France declined to cooperate with the USSR, chiefly on the German question, effected a rapprochement with the USA, and embarked on a course of suppressing the national liberation movement in the colonies, notably Algeria, Indochina, and Madagascar. The country’s social and political forces were polarized. Under a Franco-American agreement on economic cooperation, signed in 1948, France received US credits and subsidies amounting to $2,458,000,000 over a three-year period. In 1948, France also signed a treaty creating the Western Alliance. In 1949 it joined NATO, and the following year it concluded an agreement providing for US military assistance. A network of American military bases and depots was established on French soil. In 1951, France signed a treaty forming the European Coal and Steel Community.
Expenditures for the arms race within NATO and for the colonial war in Vietnam (1945–54) increased France’s economic troubles and further polarized the country’s social and political forces. In the spring of 1947 General De Gaulle founded the Rally of the French People (Rassemblement du Peuple Français, RPF), an anticommunist, nationalist party that sought to revise the constitution along authoritarian lines. At that point the SFIO leader, L. Blum, proposed the creation of a Third Force opposed both to the French Communist Party on the left and to the Gaul-list Rally of the French People on the right. The Third Force coalition, comprising the SFIO, the Radicals, the Popular Republican Movement, and the smaller bourgeois-centrist groups, formed governments from 1947 to 1951.
In November and December 1947, France was shaken by a strike of 2.5 million miners, metallurgists, chemical workers, and municipal employees. In October and November 1948 another general strike took place involving 300,000 miners. Gendarmes, troops, and tanks were sent against the strikers. The leaders of the right wing of the General Confederation of Labor helped break the strikes by forming a separate trade union federation, called Force Ouvrière.
The danger that the “cold war,” which began in the second half of the 1940’s, might erupt in a global nuclear conflict caused the French Communist Party and other progressive forces to focus on the struggle for peace, indissolubly linked to the struggle for democracy and social progress. French progressive forces played an important role in furthering the international peace movement.
In the 1951 elections to the National Assembly the Third Force parties lost a significant number of votes. The right-centrist coalition that came to power was composed chiefly of Independents (a right-wing faction formed in parliament after the elections), members of the Popular Republican Movement, and Radicals. It was joined by some deputies from the Rally of the French People, which eventually broke up in 1955. Between 1952 and 1954, under the coalition governments headed by A. Pinay, R. Mayer, and J. Laniel, reactionary trends in French politics grew markedly stronger. The ruling circles set out to “internationalize” the war in Indochina by drawing the USA into the conflict, and they pressed for the signing and ratification of treaties that would permit West Germany’s rearmament as a member of the European Defense Community (EDC). The result was a number of major setbacks for the government’s policy. On May 7, 1954, the French garrison at the fort of Dien Bien Phu in Indochina was surrounded by the People’s Army of Vietnam and forced to surrender. Within France, a mass movement arose to oppose the ratification of the treaty creating the EDC. The movement included not only leftist forces headed by the French Communist Party but also bourgeois nationalist elements, chiefly De Gaulle’s supporters. In August 1953, 3 million workers went out on strike.
In 1954, the leader of the Radical Party’s left wing, P. Mendès-France, formed a government that signed the Geneva Agreements, aimed at restoring peace in Indochina. On August 30, by a vote of 319 to 264, the National Assembly refused to ratify the treaty creating the EDC. Under pressure from the USA, however, the treaty was replaced by the Paris Agreements of 1954, providing for West German rearmament within the framework of NATO and the Western European Union. The Paris Agreements nullified the Soviet-French treaty of 1944. On Nov. 1, 1954, a national liberation uprising broke out in Algeria, to which the Mendès-France government responded by sending more troops.
After the 1956 parliamentary elections, which brought victory to the left, the Popular Republicans (MRP) and Independents went over to the opposition. A Republican Front government headed by the SFIO general secretary Guy Mollet was in power in 1956 and 1957. It instituted a number of social reforms, including three-week paid vacations. In March 1956, France was forced to recognize the independence of Morocco and Tunisia, but under pressure from the rightists, military operations were stepped up in Algeria. In November, France took part in the Anglo-French-Israeli aggression against Egypt in retaliation against Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. In 1957, it signed treaties providing for the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Common Market, and the European Atomic Energy Community.
The impasse in Algeria, the failure of the Suez adventure, and financial difficulties caused by military expenditures brought on a crisis in the regime of the Fourth Republic. The reactionary elements in the army and the country grew bolder, instigating an antirepublican revolt in Algeria in May 1958. The French Army command there joined the rebels, demanding the formation of a government of “national salvation” headed by General De Gaulle. On June 1 the National Assembly granted De Gaulle authority to form a government and then passed bills giving him emergency powers.
THE FIFTH REPUBLIC (SINCE 1958). The Fourth Republic was undermined not only by the colonial wars but also by the changes that occurred in the economic base of French capitalism after World War II. A break with the traditions of usury and a reorientation toward predominantly industrial methods of obtaining profits, as well as the coming of the scientific and technological revolution, resulted in an accelerated expansion of French industry. Agriculture was also transformed by technological progress. State-monopoly capitalism took undisguised forms in France. These changes demolished former economic structures and exacerbated social tensions, thereby crippling the parliamentary regime. It became increasingly difficult to form parliamentary majorities, and cabinets were reshuffled continually. In these circumstances the bourgeoisie set out to reform the government along authoritarian lines.
The new 1958 Constitution (see above: Constitution and government) broadened the powers of the executive at the expense of the legislature. The president, chosen by an expanded electoral college, gained the right to dissolve the National Assembly, to submit legislation to a referendum, and to assume absolute powers in an emergency (art. 16). In the 1958 parliamentary elections, held under the majority system, the Union for the New Republic (UNR), a Gaullist party created that year, received 17.6 percent of the votes, the Independents 19.9 percent, the SFIO 15.5 percent, the Radicals 11.3 percent, and the Popular Republicans 9.1 percent. The French Communist Party polled 18.9 percent, having temporarily lost some of its support. Elected president on Dec. 21, 1958, De Gaulle appointed M. Debré as premier (1959–62).
In 1958 the French colony of Guinea rejected the Constitution of the Fifth Republic and declared its independence. Two years later, in view of the fact that its colonial empire had begun to disintegrate, France had to recognize the independence of its former African colonies: the French Sudan, Senegal, Madagascar, Dahomey, Niger, Upper Volta, the Ivory Coast, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Congo, Gabon, and Mauritania. The former French trust territories of Togo and Cameroon also gained their independence.
The successes of the Algerian National Liberation Front, the growing opposition of the French people to continuing the Algerian war, and France’s isolation in the world prompted De Gaulle in 1959 to proclaim the right of the Algerian people to self-determination. De Gaulle’s Algerian policy caused a split in the ruling camp: two antigovernment revolts broke out in Algeria, one in January 1960 instigated by French extremists and the other in April 1961 led by a group of generals, among them R. Salan. The rebels formed a neofascist terrorist group called the Secret Army Organization (OAS). The revolts were put down by troops loyal to the government. In 1962, France signed the Evian Agreement establishing a ceasefire and stipulating the conditions for Algerian self-determination.
The restoration of peace in Algeria and the failure of the extremists’ conspiracies resulted in a regrouping of France’s political parties. Besides the French Communist Party, all the bourgeois and reformist parties but the Union for the New Republic and the Independent Republicans gradually went over to the opposition between 1959 and 1962, albeit for different reasons. A 1962 constitutional referendum on the introduction of direct presidential elections attested to the dwindling of the authoritarian regime’s social base; the reform of the Constitution was approved by only 62.25 percent of the votes.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s the main thrust of French diplomacy was close cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany. A treaty signed in Paris in 1963 provided for regular consultations and military cooperation between the two countries. Intending to create an atomic “strike force,” France did not sign the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty in 1963.
The freeing of French diplomacy from the burden of colonial wars, a sober assessment of the new balance of forces in the world, and conflicts between the imperialist powers led to substantial changes in French foreign policy. France opposed the plans to create multilateral “nuclear forces” with West German participation. In 1966 it denounced US intervention in Indochina, and in 1967 it condemned the Israeli aggression against the Arab countries. In March 1966, France withdrew from the NATO military organization and closed the American bases on its territory. At the same time, French relations with the countries of the socialist community improved significantly. De Gaulle’s 1966 visit to the USSR was followed by a Franco-Soviet political rapprochement and expanded cooperation in the economic, scientific and technological, and cultural spheres.
The material basis for the new trends in French foreign policy was a consolidation of the French economy. Between 1959 and 1968 the index of industrial production increased by a factor of 1.5, and the unfavorable balance of payments was replaced by a favorable one. These successes were achieved largely at the expense of the workers, whose dissatisfaction erupted in class battles during a general strike of miners in the spring of 1963 and of public service workers in December 1964. In the 1965 presidential elections the left, including the Communist Party, supported the single opposition candidacy of F. Mitterrand. It took two ballots to elect De Gaulle, who received 54.49 percent of the votes to Mitterrand’s 45.50 percent. On Dec. 20, 1966, the Communist Party signed an agreement with the coalition of Socialists and Radicals, called the Federation of the Democratic and Socialist Left (1965–68). In the 1967 parliamentary elections the ruling coalition of Gaullists and Independent Republicans effectively lost its majority in the National Assembly.
Soon France was shaken by an unprecedented sociopolitical crisis in the form of violent student riots and the general strike of 1968, involving some 10 million persons by late May. The authorities agreed to sign the Grenelle Protocol raising wages, shortening the workweek, improving working conditions, and guaranteeing trade union rights. Taking advantage of leftist excesses to frighten the man in the street and of the divisive policy of the Socialists and Radicals, the ruling camp was victorious in the 1968 elections: the Union for the New Republic, renamed the Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR), and its Independent Republican allies won 43.65 percent of the votes and a parliamentary majority. After the elections, the government of G. Pompidou (1962–68) was replaced by a cabinet headed by M. Couve de Murville (1968–69).
The regime of the Fifth Republic had survived a severe shock, aggravated by an acute financial crisis in the autumn of 1968, when France lost half of her gold and foreign exchange reserves and the stability of the franc was shaken. In 1969, De Gaulle held a referendum on changing the system of regional government and reforming the Senate. The referendum was opposed not only by the left, headed by the Communist Party, but also by part of the ruling coalition. When his proposals were endorsed by only a minority (46.82 percent) of the voters in the referendum, De Gaulle submitted his resignation.
In 1969 the UDR candidate, Pompidou, was elected head of state, and over the next five years the Gaullists J. Chaban-Delmas (1969–72) and P. Messmer (1972–74) served as prime minister. To avoid a repetition of the events of May and June 1968, the Chaban-Delmas government carried out a number of social reforms under the slogan of creating a “new society.” These included reorganizing the universities, expanding trade union rights at enterprises, developing vocational education, and introducing supplementary pensions. However, plans for a “constructive dialogue” between entrepreneurs and unions failed. The growing trend toward leftist unity was strengthened by a slogan put forward by the Communist Party in December 1968 calling for a progressive democracy as an alternative to the rule of the monopolies and as a transitional stage on the way to socialism. Definite changes occurred in the socialist movement: the SFIO united with a number of other leftist groups to form the Socialist Party in 1971. On June 27, 1972, delegations of the French Communist Party and the Socialist Party signed a joint governing program providing for the nationalization of key industries, the implementation of progressive social and economic reforms, the democratization of social life, and a peace-loving foreign policy. The joint program was endorsed by the Movement of Left Radicals, a group that broke away from the Radical Party in 1972. This important document had a great impact on the 1973 parliamentary elections, in which the left won 46.3 percent of the votes. In the 1974 presidential elections the sole leftist candidate, Mitterrand, came close to winning an absolute majority with 49.2 percent of the votes. In the 1976–77 canton and municipal elections the left won a majority of the votes.
In the 1974 presidential elections the Gaullist candidate, Chaban-Delmas, was defeated by V. Giscard d’Estaing, the leader of a party called the National Federation of Independent Republicans. The cabinet was headed first by the new leader of the UDR, J. Chirac (1974–76), and then by the “nonpartisan” R. Barre (from 1976). In 1976 the UDR was renamed the Assembly for the Republic. A crisis arose in the right-centrist coalition caused by conflicts between the Gaullists and their allies.
In the fall of 1977 disagreement emerged within the left-wing forces concerning renewal of the joint governing program of 1972, since the Socialists had disregarded the changes that had taken place in France since the program had been adopted. On the eve of the 1978 parliamentary elections the alliance of the left virtually disintegrated, and the three left-wing parties put forward separate lists of candidates. They failed to gain a parliamentary majority but still somewhat improved their position by receiving 49.3 percent of the vote. After the election the alliance of the left ceased to exist. The Socialists waged a slanderous campaign against the French Communist Party.
The bourgeois parties regrouped their forces and supported the policy of President V. Giscard d’Estaing. In February 1978 the Union for French Democracy was established; it embraced the Republican Party, the Center of Social Democrats, and the Radical and Radical-Socialist Republican Party.
Changes in the balance of class forces produced definite shifts in French foreign policy. In the mid–1970’s France supported political détente. At the same time, influenced by pro-Atlantic forces; it pursued a policy of stabilizing relations with the USA and furthering rapprochement with the FRG. Cooperation with NATO was broadened, and efforts were made to turn the European Economic Community into a monetary and political alliance.
Meanwhile, Soviet-French cooperation, widely supported by the public, continued to expand. In the course of regular Soviet-French summit meetings a number of important documents were signed, including the Protocol on Political Consultations (1970), the Principles of Cooperation Between the USSR and France (1971), the Declaration on the Future Development of Friendship and Cooperation Between the USSR and France (1975), and the Soviet-French Declaration and Statement on Reducing International Tension (1977), and the Program of Further Cooperation Between the USSR and France for the Benefit of Détente and Peace (1979). The negotiations between L. I. Brezhnev and Giscard d’Estaing, held in Warsaw in May 1980, aimed at reducing international tension, were of great importance. In the 1960’s and 1970’s France also concluded economic, scientific, technological, commercial, and cultural agreements with other countries of the socialist community.
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Petit-Dutaillis, C. Feodal’naia monarkhiia vo Frantsii i v Anglii X–XIII vv. Moscow, 1938. (Translated from French.)
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Political parties. Founded in 1920, the French Communist Party (PCF, Parti Communiste Français) had 730,000 members in 1980. Of its roughly 23,000 cells about 10,000 were located at enterprises. The party is influential in many democratic organizations, including the Union of French Women and the Communist Youth Movement. The Socialist Party (PS, Parti Socialiste) was formed in 1971 from the French Socialist Party (SFIO, founded in 1905) and other leftist groups. The party had a membership of 173,000 in 1980. The United Socialist Party (PSU, Parti Socialiste Unifié), founded in 1960 through the merger of a number of small leftist parties and groups, soon took a left-wing course. After a third of its members, headed by M. Rocard, joined the Socialist Party in 1975, the party numbered 10,000 persons (1980).
The Movement of Left Radicals (Mouvement des Radicaux de Gauche) was founded in 1972 by a splinter group from the Radical Party. It held its Constituent Congress in December 1973, and by 1980 had about 30,000 members. The Radical and Radical-Socialist Republican Party (Parti Républicain Radical et Radical-Socialiste), organized in 1901, draws its support from the petite and middle bourgeoisie. The main governing party of the Third Republic and at times of the Fourth Republic, it went into the opposition at the beginning of the Fifth Republic (1959), but drew closer to the right-centrist majority in 1974. Its most recent program, adopted in 1970, is a liberal-reformist one. As of 1980 it had about 20,000 members.
The Center of Social Democrats (Centre des Démocrates Sociaux), a right-centrist bourgeois party, was founded in 1976 through a merger of the Democratic Center and the Democratic and Progressive Center. The National Center of Independents and Peasants (Centre National des Indépendants et Paysans), founded in 1948, was the largest right-wing party during the Fourth Republic. After a split in 1962, it became a small reactionary group.
The Republican Party (Parti Républicain), called the National Federation of Independent Republicans prior to May 1977, was founded in 1962 by a group of parliamentary deputies, headed by V. Giscard d’Estaing, who seceded from the National Center of Independents and Peasants. It was constituted as a party in 1966 and by 1980 had 120,000 members. The party relies on the support of the monopolies and the big and middle-level bourgeoisie. Conservative in spirit, the party is trying to broaden its base by drawing closer to the centrist parties under the slogan of liberalism and reform. In February 1978 the Republican Party, the Center of Social Democrats, and the Radical and Radical Socialist Republican Party formed a federation—the Union for French Democracy.
The Assembly for the Republic (Rassemblement pour la République, RPR) was founded in 1958 by the supporters of General Charles De Gaulle. Between 1958 and 1976 it was known consecutively as the Union for the New Republic (UNR), the Union for the New Republic-Democratic Union of Labor (UNR-UDT), the Union of Democrats for the Fifth Republic (UD-V), and the Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR). The party represents the interests of a number of monopolies, but it also exerts some influence on the middle strata, the peasants, and part of the workers, attracting them by its espousal of national sovereignty and various social reforms. As of 1980 it had about 700,000 members.
Trade unions and other leading social organizations. The General Confederation of Labor (CGT), founded in 1895, is France’s largest and most influential trade union federation. As of 1980 it had 2.5 million members belonging to more than 14,000 affiliated unions. The CGT maintains ties with the French Communist Party and is a member of the World Federation of Trade Unions. The French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT), formed in 1964 from the left wing of the French Confederation of Christian Workers, is a member of the World Confederation of Labor. It is close to the Socialist and Unified Socialist parties, as well as to left-wing Catholic groups. In 1972 it signed an agreement pledging cooperation with the CGT. As of 1980 it had more than 1 million members. The General Confederation of Labor-Force Ouvrière, founded in 1948 by a right-wing splinter group of the CGT, belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Supported by the “moderate” elements of the Socialist Party, it pursues a conciliatory anticommunist policy. As of 1980 it had about 1 million members.
The French Confederation of Christian Workers (CFTC), founded in 1919, is linked with the Catholic Church and belongs to the World Confederation of Labor. As of 1980, it had about 40,000 members. The General Confederation of Cadres, founded in 1944, includes engineers, technicians, and office employees with moderately reformist views. In 1980 it had approximately 350,000 members. The Federation of National Education (FEN), founded in 1948, unites teachers in primary, secondary, and technical schools. In 1980 it had a membership of about 550,000.
Founded in 1945, the Communist Youth Movement unites the Union of Communist Youth, the Union of Young Women, the Union of Rural Youth, and the Union of Communist Students. The French Union of Associations of Former Frontline Soldiers and War Victims, founded after World War II, includes more than 50 organizations, among them the Republican Association of Former Frontline Soldiers and War Victims, founded after World War I, and the National Association of Former Frontline Soldiers and Members of the Resistance, founded in 1917. The France-USSR Association was founded in 1943 to supersede the French Association of Friends of the Soviet Union, established in 1928. Another important organization is the National Council of Peace, founded in 1950.
General characteristics. France is one of the major powers of the world capitalist economy and a highly developed industrial country. In 1974 industry accounted for 35.8 percent of the gross domestic product, construction for 9.6 percent, agriculture for 5.3 percent, trade for 16.9 percent, transportation for 4.9 percent, and the other branches of the service sector for 27.5 percent. Although manufactured goods contribute about three-fourths of the value of its exports, France is also a leading exporter of agricultural produce. Foreign trade and finance, the export and import of capital, and foreign tourism are a vital part of the country’s economy. France ranks fourth among the developed capitalist countries in industrial output (6.4 percent in 1976), and it occupies a leading place among them in the volume of agricultural output and the value of foreign trade, accounting for about 7 percent of the foreign trade turnover of the capitalist countries. Moreover, it is a major exporter of capital and has one of the largest gold reserves in the capitalist world. The per capita national income was $2,670 in 1973, according to Soviet calculations.
In the French economy, a high concentration of production and capital coexists with a wide prevalence of small and medium-sized production units in such branches of the economy as agriculture, commerce, and light industry. Key positions in the economy are held by several dozen finance and industrial groups, many of them closely linked to foreign capital. In 1974 the country’s ten largest banks, headed by the Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas, the Banque de Suez, and the Banque Rothschild, accounted for about 70 percent of the bank assets and for almost 80 percent of the deposits. The major branches of industry are controlled by a few concerns and trusts. The Sacilor and Usinor companies, for example, account for 65 percent of the steel output; most of the country’s aluminum is put out by Pechiney Ugine Kuhlmann; the Thomson-Brandt firm manufactures more than two-thirds of the refrigerators and washing machines; and the Rhône-Poulenc monopoly produces more than 80 percent of the synthetic fibers. The oil industry is dominated by the Compagnie Française des Pétroles and the ELF group.
Foreign monopolies have become a strong force in the country’s economy only relatively recently, since the 1960’s. Most of the growth of foreign investments may be attributed to the establishment of branches of foreign companies and to the founding of mixed firms, mainly in industry. Between the end of World War II and 1968 foreigners invested 41.2 billion francs ($7.5 billion) in France, excluding disinvestments. The largest foreign investor is the USA, followed by the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the Benelux countries, and Switzerland. According to data obtained in the 1968 census, firms operating with foreign capital produced 8 percent of the output of French companies; they owned 8.5 percent of all the stock of French companies and 10.5 percent of their assets. In the 47 economic sectors covered by the census, foreign firms controlled more than 30 percent of the stock in seven sectors, more than 20 percent of the stock in three sectors, and more than 15 percent of the stock in two sectors. Official statistics indicate that in 1972 enterprises under foreign control employed 5 percent of the labor force and accounted for 12 percent of the commercial turnover and 11 percent of the capital investments of the country’s enterprises. Among the sectors that depend most heavily on foreign capital (in terms of the proportion of stock) are oil refining, general machine building, machine-tool building, electronics, and the rubber, automotive, dairy, and fats industries.
State-monopoly capitalism is highly developed. The state owns about one-third of the French national economy, accounting for more than 20 percent of the gross national product and industrial capital investment. Moreover, state and mixed enterprises produce about 25 percent of the industrial output (1975). France has nationalized the coal, gas, and atomic energy industries, most electric power plants, a number of machine-building companies (most of the aircraft plants of Aérospatiale and the Renault auto plants), various chemical and war industries, the Bank of France (the sole bank of issue), and the major deposit banks. The state owns the postal and telegraph service, the country’s tobacco and match factories, and most of the railroads, canals, and research institutions. There are many mixed enterprises, established with both state and private capital, among them the Compagnie Française des Pétroles and Air France. State intervention in the country’s economy also takes the form of economic and social development programs, although in the private sector these programs have a purely advisory function. The effectiveness of state planning is limited by the fact that the financial oligarchy and the monopolies use the state apparatus for their own ends. The state is promoting mergers with a view to creating monopolies of “international scope” that can compete in foreign markets.
In the amount of capital investments abroad ($19 billion in 1970) France ranks fourth after the USA, Great Britain, and the FRG. The export of capital was resumed after the war, in the early 1950’s. In addition to considerable state capital investments in the former colonies, there are large French investments in the industrialized EEC countries and in Spain and Switzerland.
Between 1960 and 1970 industrial output increased by 79 percent and agricultural output by 23 percent. In the early 1970’s the industrial growth rate began to decline. During the general economic crisis of 1975 the industrial output dropped by 8 percent and the number of bankruptcies rose to 14,900.
From 1970 to 1975, when military expenditures virtually doubled and the profits of French monopolies increased by 83 percent, the real wages of many groups of workers and office employees remained unchanged or were eroded by rampant inflation. In six years the price of food, clothing, and other consumer goods increased by almost 60 percent. Rents and payments for services also soared. The workers’ plight was exacerbated by bad working conditions. Women earn from one-fourth to one-third less than men for the same work. According to official statistics, unemployment averaged 933,000 persons in 1976; at the beginning of 1977 there were 1.1 million unemployed and 600,000 partially unemployed. The French economy began to revive in 1976, although it continued to be plagued by such problems as unemployment, inflation, a trade deficit, and an unfavorable balance of payments.
Industry. Despite the high industrial growth rate after World War II, the considerable influx of fixed capital in industry, and the development of modern branches, the country’s light and
|Table 3. Structure of industry|
|Value of gross output (in percent)||Employees (in percent)|
|Oil and gas ...............||2.9||4.2||1.5||2.2|
|Ferrous metallurgy (including iron ore mining) ...............||5.6||4.1||4.0||3.6|
|Nonferrous metallurgy (including mining) ...............||0.9||0.8||0.5||0.5|
|Machine building ...............||27.6||31.9||26.0||31.5|
|Electrical engineering and electronics ...............||6.3||8.8||6.2||8.1|
|Chemicals and rubber ...............||9.4||12.3||9.2||10.4|
|Construction materials, glass, and ceramics ...............||3.9||4.2||4.5||4.7|
|Textiles and clothing ...............||8.2||6.6||15.7||11.5|
|Leather goods and footwear ...............||1.9||1.5||3.2||2.3|
|Woodworking and furniture ...............||3.4||3.2|
|Food and condiments ...............||11.1||9.4||11.3||10.6|
food industries continue to be highly important (see Table 3 for the structure of industry), although in many respects these branches lag behind heavy industry because of their more dispersed production and use of outdated equipment.
In 1970 more than 40 percent of French industrial enterprises employed less than 100 people, compared to 20–26 percent in the USA, Great Britain, and the FRG. Table 4 shows the concentration of industrial production.
|Table 4. Concentration of industrial production (1971, in percent)|
|Enterprises by number of employees||Enterprises||Employees|
|500 or more ...............||3.0||57.1|
MINING AND ENERGY. France’s fuel and energy resources do not meet its needs. About three-fourths of the fuel used is imported. The coal industry declined in the 1970’s owing to the extensive use of oil, gas, and atomic energy, and to competition from cheaper imported coal. Between 1960 and 1976 the coal output fell by a factor of 2.4. There are three major coal regions: Lorraine, producing more than 9 million tons annually; the northern region (Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments), producing some 7 million tons, chiefly at Valenciennes, Douai, and Denain; and the center-south, producing more than 3 million tons.
Small amounts of petroleum are extracted, mostly around Parentis. Almost all the needed oil is imported, however, chiefly from the Near East (122 million tons in 1976). France’s 24 oil refineries have a combined capacity of 176 million tons a year (1976). The largest refineries are located near Marseille and at the mouth of the Seine, above Le Havre. The state company ERAP and the Compagnie Française des Pétroles control more than half of the oil refining and marketing of oil products; the rest is controlled by American and Anglo-Dutch oil companies. Some of the crude oil is shipped to the FRG via the Southern European Oil Pipeline, linking Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg, and Karlsruhe. Petroleum products are exported to Africa and Western Europe. Domestic natural gas is extracted at Lacq, but more than half of the gas used is imported from Algeria, the Netherlands, and the USSR. (See Table 5 for data on the consumption of energy.)
In 1974 steam power plants produced 69.1 percent of the country’s electric power (of which 8.3 percent was generated by nuclear power plants), and hydroelectric power plants produced 30.9 percent. Most of the steam power plants, fired by hard coal, gas, and mazut, are located in the coal basins, major cities, such as Paris, and seaports. The largest hydroelectric power plants, those with capacities of 300,000 to 500,000 kW, are situated on the Rhône River and its Alpine tributaries. Many hydroelectric power plants have also been built in the Massif Central, in the Pyrenees, and along the Rhine. In Brittany an electric power plant on the Ranee River (240,000 kW) harnesses the energy of ocean tides.
France’s ten nuclear power plants have a combined capacity of 3.1 million kW (1975). The largest of them—the Le Bugey, St.-Laurent-1, St.-Laurent-2, and Chinon-3—have capacities ranging from 450,000 kW to 540,000 kW.
The atomic energy industry has its own raw material base; 1,880 tons of uranium-238 concentrates were obtained in 1973, making France the leading producer in Europe. Most of the uranium is extracted at La Crouzille, Forez, and Lachaux in the Massif Central and at L’Ecarpière in the Vendée. Ore concentration plants are located near the mines. Metallic uranium is obtained at Le Bouchet, near Paris, and at other plants. The major centers of the atomic industry are Pierrelatte (uranium concentrates) and Marcoule (plutonium). France has an extensive electric transmission grid that converges on Paris. The capital receives a sizable part of the energy produced in other regions.
France ranks fourth in the capitalist world as a producer of iron ore, with most of the output coming from Briey, Longwy, and Thionville in Lorraine. Bauxite is mined chiefly in the south, in the department of Var. France also produces small amounts of zinc (13,900 tons of concentrates in 1975), lead (21,700 tons), tungsten, and gold. Among nonmetallic mineral resources are large deposits of potash salts; 2.1 million tons (in K2O) were produced in 1975. Sulfur is produced at Lacq as a by-product of natural
|Table 5. Consumption of basic types of energy (in percent)|
|Natural gas ...............||3.5||6.5||11.0|
|Water power ...............||10.4||8.4||8.0|
|Atomic energy ...............||—||0.8||2.4|
gas refining. Other nonmetallic minerals include rock salt, barite, talc, kaolin, asbestos, fluorspar (460,000 tons in 1974), and construction raw materials.
METALLURGY. France’s thriving ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy industries produce cast iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals. Although local raw materials are used to some extent, much of the higher grade iron ore and several nonferrous metals, notably copper, cobalt, tin, and tungsten, are imported from non-European countries. Imported ore is used in the country’s newest and largest metallurgical works at Dunkerque, which in 1975 had a capacity of 8 million tons of steel, and at the Fos-sur-Mer works, whose first unit is capable of producing 3.7 million tons of steel. The ferrous metallurgy industry is concentrated in Lorraine, whose plants had a production capacity of 15.9 million tons of steel in 1975, and the northern region (including Dunkerque), which can produce 12.6 million tons of steel annually.
In highland regions, such as Savoy, the Pyrenees, and the Massif Central, electrometallurgy enterprises have been established near hydroelectric power plants. Electrometallurgical works produce high-grade steel at St.-Etienne, Ugine, and Le Creusot, alumina at Gardanne and Salindres, and aluminum at Noguères, St. Jean-de-Maurienne, and Lannemezan. Copper is smelted at Le Palais in Haute-Vienne Department (40,000 tons of refined copper in 1975), lead at Noyelles-Godault in Pas-de-Calais Department and at Lyon (151,000 tons of refined lead), zinc at No-yelles-Godault and at Viviez in Aveyron Department (181,000 tons), and nickel at Le Havre. Cobalt and tungsten are also smelted.
MACHINE BUILDING AND METALWORKING. The leading branches of industry, machine building and metalworking employ more than one-third of the country’s industrial workers. Transport and general machine building are the most highly developed. The automotive industry produces mainly passenger cars (Renault, Peugeot-Citroën, Chrysler-France) and exports almost half of its output. Its main centers are Paris, Sochaux-Montbéliard, and Lyon.
Ranking second among the capitalist countries, the French jet aircraft industry manufactures and exports various kinds of military and civilian aircraft, including the Franco-British supersonic Concorde, as well as helicopters and engines. France also holds third place in the production of rockets, aerospace equipment, and earth satellites. The main centers of the aeronautics industry are Paris, Toulouse, and Bordeaux.
Shipbuilding, another major industry, is concentrated at Nantes (St.-Nazaire), Dunkerque, and Marseille (La Ciotat). In 1975, France produced 144 locomotives and 9,600 railroad freight cars. Other important branches of machine building are the machine-tool industry and the manufacture of forging and stamping equipment, electrical and electronic equipment, generators and engines, communications apparatus, electrical appliances, tractors, and weapons. More than half of the country’s electrical engineering and electronics enterprises are located in Paris.
CHEMICAL INDUSTRY. The rapidly expanding chemical industry is undergoing reorganization. Both the new and traditional branches are subject to state-monopoly regulation. The fastest growing sectors are the production of petrochemicals, plastics (mainly polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, amino plastics, and polystyrene), synthetic rubber, chemical fibers, synthetic cleaning agents, and war chemicals. France also produces large quantities of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium fertilizers. The chemical industry is dominated by monopolies, namely Rhône-Poulenc (synthetic fibers, pharmaceuticals, plastics), Michelin (industrial rubber goods), Saint-Gobain, and Pechiney Ugine Kuhlmann. The chief centers are Paris, Lyon, and the area around Le Havre and Marseille.
LIGHT INDUSTRY AND FOOD PROCESSING. France’s light and food industries produce on a large scale. The textile and clothing industries alone employ some 700,000 people (1973), and the textile industry accounts for about 5 percent of the world output. Like other French industries, the textile industry underwent changes after the war, adapting itself to the widespread use of artificial and synthetic fibers. Many textile mills are located in the north, in the cities of Roubaix, Tourcoing, Lille, and Armentières, which produce wool, cotton, linen, and jute cloth. The Vosges and southern Alsace (Mulhouse, Épinal) are noted for their cotton industry, and the Lyon area produces fabrics from chemical fibers. The production of knitted goods, another important sector, is concentrated in Paris and Troyes. Paris, the “arbiter of fashion,” is the leading producer of clothing and accessories. France is also one of the world’s major producers of leather footwear (205 million pairs in 1975).
|Table 6. Output of leading industrial products|
|Hard coal (million tons) ...............||44.3||50.8||56||37.4||22.1|
|Oil (million tons) ...............||0.1||0.1||2||2.3||1.1|
|Oil (refined, million tons) ...............||6.2||14.5||32.3||102.5||121.6|
|Natural gas (billion cu m) ...............||—||0.2||4.2||10||7.1|
|Iron ore (million tons) ...............||37.8||30||67||57.4||45.2|
|Bauxite (million tons) ...............||0.7||0.8||2||3||2.3|
|Electricity (billion kW-hrs) ...............||21.1||34.6||75.1||146.8||188.4|
|Cast iron (million tons) ...............||7.9||7.8||14.1||19.2||19|
|Steel (million tons) ...............||7.9||8.7||17.3||23.8||23.2|
|Aluminum, primary (thousand tons) ...............||35||61||235||381||385|
|Metalcutting machine tools (thousand tons) ...............||161||…||…||54.4||40.7|
|Forging and stamping equipment (thousand tons) ...............||101||…||…||39.7||40.6|
|Motor vehicles (thousand units) ...............||201||358||1,369||2,750||3,972|
|Passenger cars ...............||177||258||1,135||2,458||3,523|
|Agricultural tractors (thousand units) ...............||1.81||14.2||63.4||68.8||63.6|
|Ships launched (thousand gross registered tons) ...............||27||181||594||960||1,207|
|Radio receivers (thousand units) ...............||—||963||2,214||2,921||3,980|
|Television sets (thousand units) ...............||—||5||655||1,511||1,568|
|Refrigerators, household (thousand units) ...............||101||120||913||600||77|
|Washing machines (thousand units) ...............||—||—||487||982||1,914|
|Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, in nitrogen content (thousand tons) ...............||1411||251||671||1,313||1,462|
|Superphosphate, 14 percent P2O (thousand tons) ...............||1,335||1,6502||1,261||1,220||813|
|Sulfuric acid (thousand tons) ...............||1,272||1,215||2,046||3,682||3,950|
|Synthetic rubber (thousand tons) ...............||—||82||173||316||438|
|Plastics (thousand tons) ...............||101||3747||695||1,520||2,450|
|Cement (million tons) ...............||4.3||7.4||14.3||28.9||29.2|
|Paper (million tons) ...............||1||1.1||2.2||3.6||4.6|
|Rayon yarn (thousand tons) ...............||30.1||45.2||55||51.6||24.4|
|Staple fiber (thousand tons) ...............||5.1||36.4||63.6||79||60.1|
|Synthetic fibers (thousand tons) ...............||—||1.7||45||180||258|
|Cotton fabrics (thousand tons) ...............||1831||192||233||197||184|
|Wool fabrics (thousand tons) ...............||79.8||80||72.1||63.7||65.3|
Although the food industry, like the textile industry, is growing relatively slowly, it is undergoing major structural changes as semiartisan and small-scale capitalist production gives way to modern large-scale capitalist production. Foreign, mainly American, capital has played a role in this process, which has primarily affected the production of jams and jellies, biscuits, condensed milk, starch, spices, and animal products. The most prominent firms are the American companies General Foods, General Mills, Consolidated Food, Gras, and Borden and the international firms Unilever and Nestlé. Production is more dispersed in the food industry than in any other industry, and there are numerous sectors. France is a classic wine-making country, producing 6.7 million tons of grape wine in 1975. The wines of Gironde (center, Bordeaux), Champagne, and Burgundy are world famous, as are French brandies and liqueurs. Other major branches of the French food industry are flour milling, meatpacking, dairying, fish packing, fruit canning, and sugar refining. (See Table 6 for the output of the major industrial products.)
Agriculture. French agriculture is developing amidst an intensifying agrarian crisis precipitated by the fierce competition on the food market of the EEC countries.
Important trends in agriculture include increased capitalist concentration of production, mechanization (between 1950 and 1974 the number of tractors increased from 139,000 to 1,337,000 and the number of grain combines from 5,000 to 151,000), greater use of mineral fertilizers (the amount increased six times between 1950 and 1974), and higher crop yields and increased livestock productivity. These changes have come about partly because of the scientific and technological revolution and partly because of a state-monopoly policy, aimed at achieving “maximum profitability of labor and capital” (law of 1960) and at promoting the industrialization of agricultural production with a view to capturing the EEC market.
|Table 7. Distribution of land by category of farm (1970)|
|Size of farm (ha)||Number of farms||Percent of total||Farmland (ha)||Percent of total|
|More than 50 ...............||120,400||8.5||10,596,500||37.6|
The government supports large farms, granting them credits, subsidies, and tax benefits. It also spends large sums of money on regulating prices and sales, developing the science of agriculture, and improving land management. Small, “unprofitable” farms are failing at a faster rate; from 1956 to 1974 the number of small farms fell by 1 million, or 44 percent, and the average area of a single farm increased from 14 hectares (ha) to 23 ha. Capitalist land leasing has become prevalent, with 55 percent of the farmland being cultivated by tenant farmers in 1967. Marketing and processing cooperatives are being formed.
Although the majority of French farms are small or medium-sized (see Table 7), large farms using hired labor account for most of the agricultural land and produce most of the commercial output. Out of the 2.3 million people engaged in agriculture, 400,000 were hired laborers in 1974.
Agricultural land occupies two-thirds of the country’s territory, or 35.5 million ha (1973). In conjunction with the steady shift toward livestock raising, the area planted to grass is increasing at the expense of cultivated land. In 1972 plowland covered 16.8 million ha, perennial plantings 2.2 million ha (vineyards and orchards), pastures and hayfields 13.9 million ha, and forests 14.5 million ha. Crop cultivation accounts for 43.3 percent of the value of the country’s farm output, with grain contributing 16 percent, vegetables and fruit 9 percent, and wine grapes 8.5 percent. Animal husbandry provides 56.7 percent of the value of farm output, subdivided into meat, 26.1 percent; milk, 18.6 percent; and poultry and eggs, 7.7 percent. France has both Central European and Mediterranean-subtropical crop farming. It is the fourth largest producer of grain in the capitalist world, after the USA, India, and Canada, with wheat accounting for about half of its grain harvest. The main wheat-producing area is the northern lowland. Corn and barley are becoming more important, and rice is grown in the Rhône delta.
Sugar-beet plantings and sugar mills are concentrated in the north. The output of potatoes has declined in response to lower consumer demand. France is the world’s leading producer of
|Table 8. Area and harvest of principal crops|
|Area (ha)||Harvest (tons)|
|Sugar beets ...............||344,000||504,000||11,461,000||21,932,000|
grapes, most of which are used to make wine. Because of an overproduction of wine, a policy of limiting viticulture has been instituted. Vineyards are found everywhere but in the north. The main wine-producing regions are Languedoc, Champagne, Burgundy, Touraine, Gascony, and the Bordeaux area. Olives are grown in the south; 1,800 tons of olive oil were produced in 1974. Vegetable and fruit farming is found throughout the country, but it is the economic mainstay of areas (Rhône, Garonne, and Loire valleys, Roussillon, and the northern coast of Brittany) that supply vegetables and fruit to cities and industrial regions, above all Paris. More than 40 percent of the apple harvest of 3.5 million tons in 1973 was used to make cider. Large quantities of pears, peaches, and citrus fruit (Corsica) are also raised. (Table 8 shows the output of the main crops.)
Livestock is raised for meat and dairy purposes, and the number of hogs and poultry has been steadily increasing. France is the second largest meat producer in Western Europe, after the FRG, and the leading milk producer. Most of the beef and dairy cattle are raised either in the northwest or in the highland areas providing alpine pastures. Hogs are generally raised in Brittany and Alsace and in the north and southwest, where corn and potatoes as well as food industry by-products serve as feed. Sheep herding continues to be important chiefly in the southern part of the Massif Central and in the southern Alps. Livestock raising is more intensive in the Paris region and in the north than in other parts of the country. The average milk yield of cows is 2,808 kg a year. (See Tables 9 and 10 for the livestock population and output of animal products.)
|Table 9. Livestock and poultry|
|2End of year|
FORESTRY. In 1975 about 72 percent of the forested area was privately owned, 17 percent belonged to communes, and 11 percent was state owned. Some 31.1 million cu m of lumber were produced in 1974.
FISHING. In 1974 the fish catch amounted to 806,000 tons, most of it derived from the Atlantic. The main fishing ports are Boulogne, Lorient, and La Rochelle. France also accounts for 70 percent of the world’s oyster catch.
Transportation. France has a radial transportation network centered on Paris. In 1972 the share of various types of transportation in the domestic freight turnover, calculated in ton-kilometers, was as follows: railroads 34.9 percent, highways 36.7 percent, inland waterways 6.9 percent, coastal shipping 3.9 percent, and pipelines 17.6 percent. That year railroads accounted for 12.6 percent of the passenger transport, measured in kilometers, highways for 82.8 percent, waterways for 0.2 percent, maritime transport for 0.5 percent, and airways for 3.9 percent.
|Table 10. Output of animal husbandry and poultry raiting (thousand tons)|
|Meat (all types) ...............||2,600||3,865||5,358|
|Eggs (billion units) ...............||7.3||9.5||13.2|
The length of the general-purpose railroad network is 34,300 km, of which 27.2 percent are electrified (1975). France has one of the world’s densest road systems (1,479,000 km; 1975) and one of the largest motor vehicle pools (17.8 million motor vehicles, including 14.5 million passenger cars; 1974). The most important expressway links Lille, Paris, Lyon, and Marseille. The length of the inland waterways is 7,200 km, including 4,700 km of canals (1973). One of the country’s main waterways, the Seine, is connected with the northern region via the Oise River and the Northern Canal and with Lorraine and Alsace via the Marne River and the Marne-Rhine Canal. Another major waterway is the canalized Moselle River, used for exporting Lorraine ore and metal and importing coal and coke. These routes account for over four-fifths of the river and canal shipping. The Rhône-Rhine canal system is being modernized. The main river ports are Paris, Strasbourg, Rouen, and Lille. Pipeline transport has developed rapidly since World War II, and in 1974 there were 5,231 km of pipelines. The major pipelines are the oil pipeline connecting Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg, and Karlsruhe (FRG), the petroleum products pipeline Le Havre-Paris, and gas pipelines from the Lacq and Netherlands deposits to Paris, Lyon, and other cities.
Sea-borne shipping and air transport play a major role in international freight and passenger traffic. In 1975 the merchant marine totaled 8.5 million gross registered tons, with tankers accounting for more than half of the tonnage. French seaports had a combined turnover of 306 million tons in 1974, with two-thirds of the cargo being handled by two ports, Marseille and Le Havre (with their satellites), which accounted for 109 million tons and 84 million tons, respectively. Two new ports have been built, Fos-sur-Mer near Marseille and Antifer near Le Havre. Other major seaports are Dunkerque, Nantes, Bordeaux, Rouen, Calais, and Boulogne. The main Paris airports (Orly, Bourget, and Charles De Gaulle) have served 17.3 million passengers.
Foreign trade. The French foreign trade turnover has increased considerably since World War II. Among the capitalist countries, France is exceeded only by the USA, the FRG, and Japan in the
|Table 11. Foreign trade (billion francs)|
volume of exports and imports. In 1975, France accounted for 6.9 percent of the exports and for 6.7 percent of the imports of the capitalist countries (see Table 11). Machinery, equipment, and means of transportation, including motor vehicles, ships, and aircraft, constituted about 30 percent of the value of exports in 1974 and more than 40 percent in 1975. Agricultural products, notably grain, livestock, dairy products, and wine, accounted for 19 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Other major exports include ferrous metals, aluminum, chemicals, and light industry goods. The main imports are machinery, equipment, oil, hard coal, non-ferrous metals, pulp, cotton, wool, and wood of coniferous and tropical trees.
About half of the French foreign trade turnover is with EEC countries, and the principal trading partner is the FRG. Trade with both the FRG and USA is conducted at a considerable deficit. Trade with socialist countries, including the USSR, is growing (see Table 12). In the early 1970’s, in an effort to improve the country’s trade balance and balance of payments, the French government adopted a program of conserving fuel and reducing oil imports while providing credits to stimulate the output of export goods. As a result, France has had a favorable balance of trade for some years. Nevertheless, the balance of payments has usually been unfavorable owing to large expenditures on freight charges, foreign patents and transport and to the money transfers of foreign workers to their home countries. The balance of payments deficit came to 3 billion francs in 1973, 28.7 billion francs in 1974, 300 million francs in 1975, and 27.5 billion francs in 1976.
Soviet-French trade is developing on the basis of long-range government agreements on economic, technical, and industrial cooperation. Many contracts are based on compensation. In 1975 the Soviet Union and France issued a declaration on the further development of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and signed agreements pledging cooperation in the fields of power engineering, aeronautics, civil aviation, and tourism. In 1977 they reached an accord on drawing up a new long-range program for expanding Soviet-French economic and industrial
|Table 12. Distribution of foreign trade (in percent)|
|European Economic Community ...............||52.5||48.4||47.6||49.1|
|Federal Republic of Germany ...............||17.0||16.3||19.2||18.8|
|Belgium and Luxembourg ...............||11.3||10.0||10.1||9.5|
|Great Britain ...............||6.5||6.4||4.4||4.8|
|Countries of franc zone ...............||9.5||11.6||6.8||6.0|
|Socialist countries ...............||4.8||6.5||3.2||3.8|
cooperation until 1990. France imports from the USSR mainly liquid fuel, wood materials, cotton, anthracite, metal ores, sunflower oil and other consumer goods, machine tools, and industrial equipment. The principal exports to the USSR are industrial equipment, machine tools, machinery, rolled ferrous metals, light industry products, and foodstuffs. In 1976 trade between France and the USSR was valued at 1.7 billion rubles.
A popular tourist country, France attracts between 10 million and 15 million visitors every year. Revenues from international tourism amounted to $3.2 billion in 1975.
The monetary unit is the franc. According to the exchange rate of the State Bank of the USSR, 100 francs equaled 14 rubles and 94 kopeks in September 1977.
Economic regions. Regional disparities in economic development have impelled the government to tackle the problem of effecting a more equitable distribution of production through decentralization (for instance, limiting the growth of Paris) and the economic revitalization of “critical zones” that lag far behind in the level and rate of development and that suffer chronic unemployment and population outflow. To solve the nation’s territorial-economic problems the General Commissariat of Planning under the French Council of Ministers in 1956 divided the country into 22 planning regions, each comprising from two to eight departments. Subsequently, between 1971 and 1975, the planning regions were grouped to form general zones of economic study and planning, or major economic regions (see Table 13).
The Paris region, France’s leading economic region, is known for its manufacturing industry, intensive agriculture, and dense transportation network, all centered on Paris. The industry of Greater Paris accounts for more than one-fourth of France’s industrial output by value. Of great economic significance is the lower Seine valley (with Rouen and Le Havre), the region’s main outlet to the sea of the Paris region and the site of the region’s largest concentration of industry after Paris.
The Northern Region, an old industrial region with a diversified structure, is the country’s leading producer of textiles, textile machinery, and mining equipment and the second largest producer, after the Eastern Region, of cast iron, steel, and coal. Moreover, the region supplies the national market with locomotives, railroad cars, sulfuric acid and several other chemicals, construction materials, paper, footwear, sugar, and beer. It is known for its knitted goods and lace. The main cluster of the textile mills is located in three cities that have merged, Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing. Most of the mines, electric power plants, and metallurgical, chemical, and machine-building plants are situated in the coalfields (Valenciennes, Douai, and Denain). The importance of Dunkerque as a port and industrial center has been enhanced by the construction of large new metallurgical plants, shipyards, and oil refineries.
The Eastern Region, which encompasses Lorraine, is the country’s principal metallurgical base. A heavy industry has developed on the basis of local iron ore, coal, and potash and rock salt. Most of the metallurgical works are located along the Moselle, Orne, Fentsch, and Chiers rivers in the cities of Thionville, Longwy, and Hayange. The Vosges and Alsace together account for about half of the country’s output of cotton textiles. The Vosges
|Table 13. Basic data on major economic and planning regions|
|Major regions with main centers||Departments in regions||Area||Population (Feb. 20, 1975, census)||Share in industry (percent of employed, 1971)||Value of agricultural output (percent, 1972)|
|thousand sq km||percent of total||thousand||percent of total||all industry||metallurgy and iron-ore mining||machine building and metalworking||chemicals||textiles and clothing|
|île de France (Paris)||Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, Essonne, Yvelines, Seine-et-Marne||12.1||2.2||9,863||18.8||22.4||4.1||32.7||34.1||10.2||3.4|
|Ardennes, Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne||25.6||4.7||1,342||2.6||2.9||2.4||3.1||1.4||5.1||5.1|
|Picardie (Amiens)||Aisne, Oise, Somme||19.4||3.6||1,677||3.2||4.1||2.1||3.8||5.6||4.8||5.4|
|Haute-Normandie (Rouen)||Seine-Maritime, Eure||12.2||2.2||1,595||3.0||3.8||0.3||3.9||4.7||3.2||2.9|
|Centre (Orléans)||Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Indre, Indreet-Loire, Cher, Eure-et-Loire||39.1||7.2||2,147||4.1||4.2||—||3.9||5.0||2.9||7.7|
|Basse-Normandie (Caen)||Calvados, Manche, Orne||17.6||3.2||1,304||2.5||2.0||3.2||2.2||0.8||1.2||4.4|
|Bourgogne (Dijon)||Côte-d’Or, Yonne, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire||31.6||5.8||1,568||3.0||3.0||7.3||2.8||2.8||2.3||4.7|
|Northern (Lille)||Nord, Pas-de-Calais||12.4||2.3||3,918||7.5||9.3||16.9||6.4||5.2||22.4||6.0|
|Lorraine (Nancy)||Vosges, Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle||23.5||4.3||2,331||4.4||5.7||45.5||2.7||3.2||6.5||2.7|
|Alsace (Strasbourg)||Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin||8.3||1.5||1,515||2.9||3.7||0.4||3.3||1.6||5.2||1.5|
|Franche-Comté (Besançon)||Belfort, Doubs, Haute-Saône, Jura||16.2||3.0||1,059||2.0||3.0||0.0||5.0||1.1||2.1||1.8|
|Rhône-Alpes (Lyon)||Ardèche, Haute-Savoie, Drôme, Ain, Isère, Loire, Rhône, Savoie||43.7||8.0||4,782||9.1||11.3||8.8||12.2||10.2||16.1||6.1|
|Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand)||Allier, Haute-Loire, Cantal, Puy-de-Dôme||26.0||4.8||1,331||2.5||2.4||1.4||1.7||9.5||1.3||3.3|
|Pays de la Loire (Nantes)||Vendée, Loire-Atlantique, Mayenne, Maine-et-Loire, Sarthe||32.1||5.9||2,765||5.3||4.7||1.6||4.6||2.3||3.9||8.1|
|Bretagne (Rennes)||Côtes-du-Nord, Ille-et- Vilaine, Morbihan, Finistère||27.2||5.1||2,598||4.9||2.7||0.1||2.0||0.6||1.5||9.9|
|Poitou-Charentes (Poitiers)||Vienne, Deux-Sèvres, Charente, Charente-Maritime||25.8||4.7||1,727||2.9||2.1||—||1.4||0.7||1.4||5.7|
|Aquitaine (Bordeaux)||Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques||41.4||7.6||2,546||4.8||3.4||0.3||1.9||2.6||1.8||6.8|
|Midi-Pyrénées (Toulouse)||Aveyron, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Lot, Haute Pyrénées, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne||45.4||8.3||2,260||4.3||2.9||2.4||2.0||2.1||3.9||5.6|
|Limousin (Limoges)||Haute- Vienne, Corrèze, Creuse||16.9||3.1||739||1.4||1.0||0.2||0.8||0.3||1.1||1.7|
|Languedoc-Roussillon (Montpellier)||Gard, Lozère, Aude, Pyrénées-Orientales, Hérault||27.4||5.0||1,789||1.5||1.5||0.6||0.9||1.6||3.9|
|Provence-Côte-d’Azur (Marseille)||Alpes-de-Haute Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Hautes-Alpes, Bouchesdu-Rhône, Var, Vaucluse||31.4||5.8||3,665||7.0|
|Corsica (Ajaccio)||Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse||8.7||1.6||220||0.4||3.9||1.4||3.0||4.3||1.5||0.3|
area is also a major supplier of lumber and paper. The region’s largest city is Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace and a port and industrial center on the Rhine. The main industries of Franche-Comté are motor-vehicle construction (Peugeot plants in Sochaux-Montbéliard), watch-making, and precision mechanics (Besançon). Other major industrial centers are Nancy, Mulhouse, and Belfort.
The Lyon region, an industrial region, ranks third in population, after the Paris and Western regions, and second in industrial output, after the Paris Region. The main branches of industry are hydroelectric power engineering, metallurgy (major producer of high-grade and special steel and leading manufacturer of aluminum), machine building, chemical production (organic synthesis industry around Lyon and rubber plants in Clermont-Ferrand), textile manufacture (half of the national output of fabrics made from chemical fibers), food processing, and the production of leather footwear and sporting goods. Resorts have grown up around such mineral springs as Vichy and Evian. The Alps attract mountain climbers, tourists, and winter sport enthusiasts. The main cities are Lyon, St.-Etienne, Grenoble, and Clermont-Ferrand.
The Western Region is an industrial and agricultural region with well-developed animal husbandry. There are many orchards and vineyards in the valleys of the Loire and Charente rivers; brandy is produced in the vicinity of Cognac. Important economic activities include the extraction of iron and uranium ores, fishing, fish packing, and oyster fishing. The region’s industrial potential has increased markedly since the late 1950’s as a result of the state-monopoly policy of promoting decentralization and the development of agricultural regions. Nantes is the largest city and industrial center toward which most of the region gravitates.
The Southwestern Region is an industrial and agricultural region occupying the Aquitaine Lowland, the adjoining slopes of the Pyrenees, and the southwestern part of the Massif Central. The region has considerable raw-material resources; it is France’s largest producer of gas (Lacq), oil (Parentis), and lumber (Landes). The region has a flourishing jet aircraft industry (Toulouse, Bordeaux) and enterprises of the aluminum, chemical, and food industries. In the Pyrenees, energy-intensive branches of the metallurgical and chemical industries have been established near hydroelectric power plants. In several departments most of the population is engaged in agriculture, including viticulture. Bordeaux and Toulouse are the region’s industrial, trade, and transportation centers.
The Mediterranean Region is an industrial, agricultural, and resort region whose population has been growing rapidly since the early 1960’s. The region’s intensive commercial agriculture is oriented toward the production of grapes, olives, and fruit and, in the mountains, sheep herding. There is a thriving food industry. The old resorts of the French Riviera (Nice, Cannes) and the new resorts that have sprung up on the coast of Languedoc play a vital role in the region’s economy. Equally important is the port and industrial complex of Marseille, which encompasses nearby cities and ports, among them Berre, Lavera, and Fos-sur-Mer. The leading industries of the conurbation are oil refining, petrochemicals, metallurgy (Fos), ship repair, aeronautics, and food processing.
REFERENCESFrantsiia. Moscow, 1973.
Kuznetsov, V. I. Frantsiia: ekonomika gosudarstvenno-monopolisticheskogo kapitalizma. Moscow, 1968.
Chernikov, G. P. Finansovaia oligarkhiia Frantsii. Moscow, 1966.
Markov, A. P., and M. A. Pavlova. Sel’skoe khoziastvo Frantsii. Moscow, 1968.
Vitver, I. A., A. E. Sluka, and G. P. Chernikov. Sovremennaia Frantsiia. Moscow, 1969.
Pavlova, M. A. Regional’naia politika Frantsii. Moscow, 1974.
Gosudarstvenno-monopolisticheskii kapitilizm, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1973. (Translated from French.)
George, P. La France, 3rd ed. Paris, 1972.
Annuaire statistique de la France, vol. 80. Paris, 1975.
The commander in chief of France’s armed forces, consisting of ground troops, an air force, a navy, and a military gendarmerie, is the president. Direct supervision is exercised by the minister of defense through the chief of staff of the armed forces and through the chiefs of staff and inspectorates of the army, navy, and air force. The army and the navy maintain their prescribed strength by conscription and enlistment. All Frenchmen are drafted at the age of 18 and serve for a year. In early 1977 the armed forces numbered about 580,000 men.
The ground forces, with about 332,000 men, consist of five mechanized and three infantry divisions, one airborne division, and one mountain division. They include four Pluton guided missile regiments, three Hawk antiaircraft guided missile regiments, several motorized infantry and armed cavalry regiments, a force of more than 500 helicopters and light army aircraft, and various combat and logistics support units. When the reorganization that was begun in 1976 is completed, the ground forces will have eight armored tank divisions, six infantry divisions, a mountain division, an airborne division, and a number of separate motorized infantry and armored cavalry regiments.
The air force of some 102,000 men is equipped with more than 710 airplanes and helicopters. It is organized in four commands—strategic, tactical, air defense, and transport. The strategic air command has strategic aircraft (three squadrons of medium bombers [36 planes] and three squadrons of refueling craft [11 planes]) and medium-range ballistic missiles (two squadrons each having nine silo launchers). The tactical force has more than 280 aircraft of various types, including 60 fighter-bombers. The air defense command has about 130 fighter-interceptors, and the transport command has about 270 airplanes and helicopters.
The navy, with a strength of about 70,000, includes a fleet, a naval air force, and a naval infantry. The fleet has more than 200 combat ships and cutters and about 100 auxiliary vessels. The principal ships are four nuclear-powered missile submarines, two multipurpose aircraft carriers, each capable of carrying up to 40 airplanes and helicopters, one helicopter carrier, one guided-missile cruiser, nine guided-missile destroyers, and two guided-missile frigates. There are about 45 escort ships, 57 minesweepers, 19 diesel-powered submarines, and about 20 landing craft. The naval air arm comprises about 300 aircraft and helicopters, of which more than 150 are designated for combat. The naval infantry consists of one battalion of about 500 men. The military gendarmerie has a strength of more than 77,000.
France is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but since 1966 it has not participated in the military side of NATO.
Medicine, public health, and social security. In 1974 the birth and death rates were 15.2 and 10.4 per 1,000 inhabitants, respectively, and the infant mortality was 14 per 1,000 live births. The corresponding figures in 1950 were 20.7, 12.8, and 52. In 1972 the average life expectancy was 69 years for men and 76 years for women, compared to 63.6 and 69.3 years, respectively, in 1950–51. Noninfectious diseases predominate and are the main cause of death: cardiovascular diseases accounted for 37.5 percent of the deaths in 1972, cancer for 20.3 percent, and injuries and other accidents for 9.2 percent. Infectious and parasitic diseases accounted for 1.4 percent of the deaths in 1972.
No official records are kept of the incidence of noninfectious diseases. It is estimated, however, that about 250,000 cases of myocardial infarction occur annually, that more than 5 million persons are afflicted with coronary diseases, and that 6–7 million persons suffer from hypertension. Some 150,000 to 160,000 cases of cancer are recorded annually. Mental illness occupies a prominent place in the morbidity structure, with more than 130,000 persons receiving hospital treatment annually. Besides influenza and acute respiratory diseases, the most frequently recorded infectious diseases are measles, scarlet fever and several other childhood infections, typhoid fever, and infectious hepatitis. Venereal diseases are a serious social problem and a major public health concern.
Alcoholism is another major problem. Between 1950 and 1970 the number of deaths from alcoholism, including deaths caused by alcoholic psychoses, increased by 80 percent among men and by 32 percent among women, reaching the highest level in the world, 12 persons per 100,000 population. The high death rate from cirrhosis of the liver, 34.2 persons per 100,000 population in 1972, is also related to the prevalence of alcoholism. Chronic alcoholism aggravates many diseases and is responsible for one-third of the injuries sustained in transport accidents. The number of industrial accidents exceeds 2.5 million annually; more than 1.1 million such accidents result in disability and more than 2,300 in death.
The government participates in health care through national medical and social welfare plans, the sixth of which was adopted for the years 1971 to 1975. The ministry of Health and Social Security, which is charged with the general management of the public health system, exercises administrative and financial control over the operation and construction of hospitals, initiates programs to combat mental and other illnesses, organizes the operation of the pharmacy network, and checks on the quality of drugs. The Higher Council of Public Hygiene and the Higher Medical Committee for Public Health are responsible for formulating government public health policy and determining the need for various kinds of medical services. Local health agencies—regional and department boards of public health—are directly subordinate to the prefect. They include a health inspector (physician) and a technical adviser on the construction of medical facilities.
A hospital reform law enacted in 1970 established a national hospital service that includes both public and private hospitals. (Private hospitals participate on a voluntary basis and on special terms.) The public health system is being reorganized on the basis of medical regionalization. As of 1976 there were 90 regions with populations of 250,000 to 750,000, each providing a full range of medical care and having public health agencies that supervise hospitals, special services, and general practitioners. Each region is subdivided into districts with their own health agencies. The regions are grouped into 21 large health regions, whose administrative agencies are directly subordinate to the Ministry of Health and Social Security and coordinate regional health services.
The French social security system, established in 1945–16, provides for benefits in the event of temporary disability (sickness, work-related maiming, occupational disease, maternity, loss of breadwinner), family allowances, and old age pensions. The funds for temporary disability are raised by contributions from employers and workers; for some types of benefits contributions to the insurance fund constitute 6.5 percent of earnings. In 1976, 98 percent of the working population was covered by social insurance. Allowances for temporary disability, paid from the fourth day of disability, amount to 50 percent of daily earnings. Maternity allowances, paid for six weeks before childbirth and eight weeks afterward, are equal to 90 percent of earnings. In the event of sickness related to pregnancy or childbirth, payments are extended to eight and 12 weeks, respectively. Family allowances for child maintenance are paid until the children reach 16 years of age (or 20 years if they are students). The amount varies with the number of children: 22 percent of the rate is paid for two dependent children, 59 percent for three, 96 percent for four, and 33 percent for each additional child. A full old-age pension amounting to 40 percent of average earnings is paid to individuals who retire at 65 and who have paid insurance for 30 years. Individuals who retire at 60 receive a smaller old-age pension, equal to 20 percent of their earnings. A worker who has paid insurance for 37.5 years receives 25 percent of his average earnings if he retires at 60 and 50 percent of his earnings if he retires at 65.
In 1972, there were 531,700 hospital beds (10.3 beds per thousand population), of which 370,500 were in the public sector and 161,200 in the private sector. (The proportion of beds in public hospitals declined from 78 percent to 65 percent between 1950 and 1970.) Of the total number of beds, 351,200 were in general hospitals and 180,500 in specialized (mental, oncological) hospitals. The national health service suffers from a shortage of hospital beds and insufficient appropriations for hospital care. Many hospitals are run down; some 38 percent of the nation’s hospitals were built in the 19th century and 22 percent, between 1900 and 1945. According to official statistics, more than 60,000 beds in public hospitals require modernization.
In 1973, there were 70,700 practicing physicians (one per 735 inhabitants), including 25,700 specialists; some 50,500 of the country’s physicians were in private practice. That year there were 23,100 dentists and more than 180,000 intermediate medical personnel. Most nonhospital medical care is provided by private practitioners affiliated with social insurance services, which set medical fees. In 1974 more than 15,000 physicians were engaged in group practice, purchasing office space and equipment with joint funds. Outpatient care is also available in the polyclinic divisions of public hospitals, in 1,500 general health centers run by municipalities, in maternity and pédiatrie centers, and in specialized dispensaries. In 1972 there were more than 2,000 mental health, neurological, venereological, tuberculosis, and other dispensaries.
Physicians are trained in 28 university medical schools, which graduated more than 4,000 specialists in 1973. Dentists, pharmacists, and midwives receive training in 14, 24, and 30 schools, respectively. Certified nurses are graduated from 259 schools, and more than 400 medical institutions train other categories of personnel, such as home care nurses, laboratory technicians, masseurs, and aids to child care nurses.
Expenditures on health care constituted 4.7 percent of the national budget in 1974. Confronted with a chronic shortage of public health funds and a sharp rise in medical costs, the government is using social insurance funds, originally intended for the reimbursement of medical expenses, to finance hospital construction and other activities that should be provided for in the national budget. This juggling of funds is creating major difficulties for the national social insurance system.
Among France’s most famous health resorts are the balneological and mud-bath resorts of Vittel, Vichy, Dax, and Aix-les-Bains and the climatic resorts of Antibes, Biarritz, Dieppe, Cannes, Menton, and Nice.
Much of the country’s medical research is coordinated and organized by the National Institute of Health and Medical Research under the Ministry of Health and Social Security (117 research centers in 1973) and by the National Research Center under the Ministry of Education. Considerable research is also done in medical schools and large hospitals. In 1972 allocations for research in biology and medicine constituted 19 percent of the research budget. In accordance with an agreement concluded in 1969, France and the USSR are jointly working on 13 health and medical research projects involving more than 100 leading scientific centers in both countries (1976).
O. A. ALEKSANDROV and E. I. DOMORATSKAIA
Veterinary medicine. Outbreaks of the following diseases were recorded in 1976: anthrax (seven), hog cholera (47), Newcastle disease (four), rabies (2,866), brucellosis of cattle (22,134), brucellosis of sheep and goats (193), tuberculosis of cattle (one), equine infectious anemia (four), myxomatosis (87), psittacosis (five), swine erysipelas (five), and tularemia (21). Cases of various other diseases have also been reported, among them virus diarrhea, leptospirosis, fowl pox, carnivore plague, infectious abortion of sheep, contagious agalactia of sheep and goats, infectious rhinitis, fowl mycoplasmosis, infectious hepatitis of ducks, Mareke’s disease, fowl and rabbit coccidiosis, and leukosis.
Veterinary services are directed by the Veterinary Administration under the Ministry of Agriculture. Every department has a veterinary office and veterinary laboratories. In the cantons veterinary services are provided by private practitioners organized into syndicates. There were 5,600 veterinarians in 1975. The National Veterinary Service, which has its own police force, supervises inspection along the border, in large ports, and in meatpacking plants and markets.
Veterinarians are trained in three very old national veterinary schools in Lyon, Maisons-Alfort, and Toulouse. Research is conducted by the National Institute of Agricultural Research, university research laboratories, the Pasteur Institute, institutions run by the Ministry of Education, and private institutes. The Central Laboratory of Veterinary Research in Maisons-Alfort supervises the production of biologicals and makes difficult diagnoses.
The first schools were founded at the time of the Roman domination of Gaul and were modeled on Roman schools. With the spread of Christianity in the sixth and seventh centuries monastic and church schools and later a few parish schools were established. The Carolingian Renaissance of the eighth and ninth centuries was a turning point in the history of education in France. During the 12th century secular schools, charging tuition, appeared in the cities. In the early 13th century the first French university was founded in Paris, and later in the century and in the next century universities arose in Toulouse, Montpellier, Reims, Avignon, Orléans, and other cities. The universities were important centers of Western European learning and culture, attracting teachers and students from many countries. The collèges created at the universities provided a secondary education. During the 15th century collèges were founded apart from the universities, and over the next hundred years the majority of them came under the control of the Jesuits.
The French Revolution abolished the feudal system of education and proclaimed the right of all people to a general education. The government established a network of primary and secondary (central) schools that were completely divorced from the church. To replace the universities, which were closed down during the Revolution as bastions of religious scholasticism, specialized higher educational institutions were founded, among them the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Ecole Polytechnique. Napoleon I partially restored the church’s control over education, and during the Restoration (1814–15, 1815–1830) the reactionary clergy consolidated its hold over the educational system. Throughout the 19th century the total number of students steadily increased.
The Paris Commune of 1871 set as one of its objectives the revolutionary reorganization of the school system, and it took steps to implement the principle of universal instruction. An important phase in the history of French education was the adoption of a series of laws in the late 19th and early 20th centuries providing for state-run secondary schools for women (1880), free primary schooling (1881), compulsory education for children of both sexes from the ages of six to 13 (1882), and the elimination of religion from the curricula of state schools (1882). In 1902 the classical and practical divisions of secondary schools were officially placed on an equal footing with respect to further education. At the beginning of the 1930’s the country’s democratic forces succeeded in abolishing tuition in the state-run secondary schools. In 1936 the Popular Front government extended the length of compulsory education to the age of 14.
Since the late 1950’s the authorities of the Fifth Republic have instituted numerous reforms aimed at adapting education to the needs of science, technology, and production, while simultaneously consolidating the system of dividing students on the basis of social class and preserving the educational privileges of the ruling classes and social groups. Progressive forces headed by the French Communist Party (PCF) have proposed plans for a thorough democratic overhaul of the educational system, notably the Langevin-Wallon Plan (1947) and the Proposals of the PCF for the Democratic Reform of Education (1967–70), and they continue to struggle for the implementation of their plans.
The present state education system is highly centralized. The structure and function of educational institutions, as well as their curricula and programs, are determined by the Ministry of Education. The country is divided into 23 educational districts called academies, each of which includes several departments. The academies are headed by rectors and department school systems, by academy inspectors. These officials are responsible for supervising the implementation of the decrees of the central authorities. Although the state schools are separate from the church, the majority of private schools are under the control of the Catholic Church. At the beginning of the 1970’s 17 percent of the country’s school-age children were attending private schools.
Preschool education is offered at the école maternelle and in classes for infants attached to primary schools. During the 1974–75 school year 2.2 million children were enrolled in preschool institutions: 26 percent of all two-year-olds, 77 percent of the three-year-olds, more than 90 percent of the four-year-olds, and almost all five-year-olds.
Compulsory education begins at the age of six and lasts for ten years (since 1967). The five-year primary cycle is the same for all children (4.2 million pupils in 1974–75). Secondary education is divided into two cycles. The four-year first cycle (grades 6 to 9) is offered in general-education collèges and lycées, whose enrollment exceeded 2.5 million in 1974–75. At this relatively early stage there are already educational “tracks” which vary as to content of instruction and social function. The distribution of pupils among these tracks constitutes a form of social selection and in effect determines the pupil’s later educational opportunities.
The second cycle of secondary education is divided into two programs: a short (incomplete) and a long (complete secondary education). The short program consists of occupational training given at two-year technical collèges (vocational-technical schools), which graduate workers with middle-level skills. In the narrowly utilitarian curriculum general-education classes are reduced to a minimum of six to ten hours a week. In 1974–75 some 540,000 students were enrolled in schools in which the emphasis was on the acquisition of vocational skills. In addition, there are one-year vocational courses providing future workers with rudimentary production training. The long program coincides with the upper classes of the general-education lycée (grades 10 to 12). In the 1974–75 school year 460,000 students were enrolled in such a program. Established in 1802, the lycées are a classic example of an elitist school, intended for the children of the privileged strata. The differentiation of instruction that characterizes these schools is especially evident in the graduating class, which is divided into five sections corresponding to the fields of specialization offered in higher educational institutions. Lycée graduates who pass the examinations of a special state commission receive the baccalauréat diploma (the rate of failure exceeds 30 percent). The long program of the second cycle may also consist of three or four years of training in a specialized secondary educational institution, such as a pedagogical or business school.
Higher education is provided by both universities and higher schools, although about 90 percent of advanced students are enrolled in universities. Holders of the baccalauréat diploma are admitted without further examinations. The size of the first-year class is not restricted, but a considerable number of students subsequently drop out. In 1968 there were 23 universities in France, the largest of them being the University of Paris (Sorbonne). In 1969 the authorities began breaking up the universities into smaller units, and by the 1973–74 academic year there were about 70 universities, with a total enrollment of 742,000. Of the total number of university students, 118,000 were enrolled in faculties of law and political science, 53,000 in faculties of economics, 237,000 in faculties of philology and the humanities, 118,000 in science and mathematics faculties, and 169,000 in medical and pharmacy faculties. The term of study is six years in the medical faculties, five years in the pharmacy faculties, and three or four years in the others. During the mid-1960’s two-year technological institutes were established at universities to train specialists in narrow fields. In 1973–74 some 35,000 students were enrolled in such institutes.
Most of the students attending higher educational institutions belong to the bourgeoisie, intelligentsia, or “middle class.” Only about 20 percent come from working class or farm families.
In addition to the universities, there are specialized higher schools (engineering, agronomy, business) to which students are admitted on the basis of competitive examinations in the appropriate disciplines. The most famous and privileged of the higher schools are the grandes écoles, notably the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines, the Institut National Polytechnique, the Ecole Nationale des Langues Orientales, and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. In academic level and social prestige the grandes écoles rank above the universities, giving direct access to the economic, financial, or political elite. These schools are the province of the propertied classes; students of working-class origin constitute about 4.7 percent of the total enrollment. Graduates of lycées must complete two years of preparatory classes to be admitted. Some 25,000 students were attending the grandes écoles in 1973–74. The Collège de France occupies a special place in the country’s system of education.
The major libraries, all located in Paris, are the National Library (7 million volumes in 1976), the Library of the Institut de France (more than 1.5 million volumes), the Library of the Sorbonne (more than 1.8 million volumes), the Library of Sainte-Geneviève (1.5 million volumes), and the Library of the Arsenal (1.5 million volumes). Outside Paris the largest library is the National and University Library of Strasbourg, containing more than 3 million volumes.
The principal museums are also located in Paris.
B. L. VUL’FSON
Natural sciences and technology, TO THE 17TH CENTURY. In the Middle Ages the “academy” at Charlemagne’s court studied the scientific legacy of antiquity and Arabic and Indian sources. The tenth to 12th centuries saw technological progress in mining (notably salt mining in Alsace), building, and various crafts, including the making of colored glass for stained-glass windows, enameling, and the production of paper. Monasteries and, with the growth of cities, craft guilds became centers for the systematic collection of scientific information.
From the late 12th and early 13th centuries scientific inquiry flourished at the universities, the earliest of which were founded in Paris in 1215 and Toulouse in 1229. Systematic astronomical observations led to the discovery of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn by G. de Saint-Cloud in 1284. In the 14th century, J. Buridan, a scholar at the University of Paris, demonstrated experimentally the daily rotation of the earth. N. Oresme introduced fractional exponents in mathematics; his Treatise on the Sphere (1350) was one of the first scientific works to be published in French. Journeys to Mongolia, such as G. Rubruquis’s diplomatic mission in 1253–55, broadened the scope of geographic knowledge. The medical school in Montpellier, founded in the 13th century, and the works of the surgeons B. da Longoburgo and H. de Mondeville made French medicine famous throughout Europe.
New universities were founded in Grenoble in 1339, in Marseille in 1409, in Dole in 1422 (moved to Besançon in 1691), and in Poitiers and Cannes in 1432. The Royal Collegium, established in 1530, was later to become the Collège de France.
Book printing was introduced in France in 1470, and throughout the 15th and early 16th centuries innovations contributed to the growth of mining (water wheels for crushing ore, water pumps), metallurgy (blast furnaces), and weaving (fulling machines).
In the 16th century several French navigators made voyages to the New World: P. de Gonneville (early 16th century) and N. Villegagnon (1555) reached the shores of Brazil, and G. Verrazano (1524) and J. Cartier (1534–43) explored the North American coast. N. Chuquet introduced negative and zero exponents in mathematics. In 1569, P. Ramus published the comprehensive 31–volume Treatise on Mathematics. F. Viète systematically developed the foundations of algebra, showing the relation between roots and coefficients of equations in 1591 and introducing the use of letter symbols for known quantities in equations. P. Delorme won fame as an architect and theoretician of building design. B. Palissy described the movement of water on earth and the hydrologic cycle and wrote on agronomy. He also invented a method of covering ceramics with a colored glaze. The works of J. Ruel (1536) and C. Clusius played an important role in the development of botany. P. Belon wrote one of the first works on comparative anatomy (1555), and A. Paré did much to establish surgery as a scientific discipline. In 1528, J. Fernel measured the meridian arc between Paris and Amiens.
17TH TO LATE 18TH CENTURIES. From the early 17th century French scientific work stood on firmer ground. The multifaceted work of R. Descartes, P. Gassendi, and B. Pascal had an enormous impact on 17th-century European science. Engels regarded Descartes’s introduction of the concept of the variable as a turning point in mathematics (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 20, p. 573). In his Geometry (1637), Descartes expounded the principles of the coordinate method. Pascal and P. de Fermât laid the foundation for probability theory. Fermat’s work largely determined the subsequent development of number theory. In their work on determining areas Fermât and Pascal evolved, in geometric form, the principles of differential and integral calculus. G. Desargues and Pascal developed the principles of projective and descriptive geometry. In 1642, Pascal built the first calculating machine.
Of great importance for physics were Descartes’s law of the preservation of the quantity of motion and his concept of the impetus of force, as well as his extensive work in optics. Pascal discovered the laws of hydrostatics and in 1648 demonstrated experimentally the existence of atmospheric pressure. Around 1660, Fermât established the basic principle of geometrical optics. Gassendi, an exponent of atomism, made astronomical observations and was among the first to study the history of science. In the 1630’s M. Mersenne and Gassendi conducted the first experiments in measuring the speed of sound in air. One of the earliest promoters of Galileo’s ideas in France, Mersenne was also known for his work in acoustics. In physiology, Descartes introduced the concept of reflex and attempted to describe reflex actions. S. Vauban initiated the systematic study of fortifications. Meanwhile, geographic exploration continued. In North America, S. de Champlain discovered the northern Appalachians in 1609, and between 1615 and 1648 he and E. Brûlé discovered and explored the Great Lakes. J. Tavernier led expeditions to the Near East and India between 1636 and 1663. J. Thévenot (1656–66), F. Bernier (1656–69), and J. Chardin (1665–80) traveled throughout western Asia and India, and A. Orville journeyed to the Himalayas (1661–64).
In the mid-17th century Paris became the focal point of European scientific thought thanks to Mersenne’s success in creating a system for the continual exchange of scientific information through correspondence. In 1665 the first scientific journal appeared. The next year, under the aegis of the king and with the support of J.-B. Colbert, the Paris Academy of Sciences was formed from a small group of mathematicians and astronomers. The academy’s function was to promote scientific research, the practical application of scientific discoveries, technological progress, and the improvement of crafts. The Dutch scientist C. Huygens was invited to become its first president.
The Academy of Sciences’ efforts in organizing research were rewarded with many scientific achievements. Huygens wrote a number of important works in Paris, including a memoir in which he expounded the wave theory of light; he also built a “planetary machine” that was the prototype of the modern planetarium. Academicians G. Roberval, G. de L’Hôpital, and P. Varignon disseminated the concepts of differential calculus in France. The Danish astronomer O. Roemer, working in France from 1671 to 1681, determined the speed of light in 1675 by observing the occultations of the satellites of Jupiter. N. Cassegrain designed a reflector system with a parabolic and a hyperbolic mirror. E. Mariotte, working independently of R. Boyle, discovered one of the laws of gases. He also devised a method of determining altitude by barometric readings and performed numerous experiments in hydrodynamics. Progress in physics was impeded, however, by the academy’s rejection of Newton’s theories. G. J. Duverney did pioneering work in anatomy. J. P. de Tournefort undertook to compile a universal guide to plants, and the classification he proposed in 1694 was widely accepted prior to Linnaeus’ reforms. The academy’s Paris Observatory, founded in 1667, became a major scientific center. The Italian astronomer G. D. Cassini, whom the academy invited to head the observatory, discovered four satellites of Saturn and formulated the laws of lunar libration.
Academies similar to the one in Paris were created in Nîmes (1682), Lyon (1700), Bordeaux (1712), Dijon (1740), and Toulouse (1729). Specialized institutions were also founded, including a bridges and roads corps (1716), a surgical academy (1731), a naval academy (Brest, 1752), and a mining academy (1778). Astronomical observatories were established in Lyon (1702), Avignon (1706), and Toulouse (1733). In the late 17th and 18th centuries dozens of scientific societies, private natural history museums, chemical laboratories, and pharmaceutical and botanical gardens were founded throughout France.
The publication of the Encyclopedia, or Explanatory Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts brought together the country’s best scientific minds. The Encyclopedists and other representatives of the Enlightenment played a prominent role in the spread of science and technology. Many 18th-century French scientists combined an encyclopedic range of interests with a desire to ally basic research to the solution of practical problems.
A number of French scientists exerted a profound influence on the development of mathematics in the 18th century. J. d’Alembert, who was elected an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1764, used the theory of limits to prove the calculus of infinitesimals. The works of J. Lagrange (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1776) and A. Legendre helped to establish number theory as a systematic science. P. Laplace (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1802) proposed general methods for solving differential equations. Lagrange and Laplace developed a general theory of linear differential equations of any order. G. Monge, Lagrange, and Laplace laid the foundation for the general theory of partial differential equations. Lagrange played a prominent role in creating the calculus of variations. A. Clairaut (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1754), Monge, and J. Meusnier laid the groundwork for differential geometry. Monge devised a general method for depicting three-dimensional figures on a plane. Clairaut also made a major contribution to astronomy and geodesy.
Criticism of Cartesianism by such eminent scientists as Clairaut and P. de Maupertuis and by the Encyclopedists Voltaire, D’Alembert, and D. Diderot helped persuade the Paris Academy to shift to Newtonian views in the mid-18th century. Maupertuis (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1738) introduced the principle of least action (1740), and D’Alembert formulated some basic principles of dynamics (1743). In his Analytical Mechanics (1788), Lagrange substantiated statics and dynamics using the principle of virtual displacements now known as the D’Alembert-Lagrange principle. C. Dufay discovered the existence of two kinds of electric charges (1733–34), and C. de Coulomb established the law for determining the force of electrostatic interaction. The basic principles of visual photometry were formulated in the 1730’s and 1740’s by P. Bouguer, who also wrote a number of works on navigation and shipbuilding. G. Amontons devised an air pressure thermometer (1703), and R. A. de Reaumur (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS, from 1737) invented an alcohol thermometer with an 80–degree scale (1730). In 1783, L. N. M. Carnot published a work expounding a general theory of machines. The astronomical observations made by G. Cassini, J. Cassini, J. Delambre (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1810), N. de Lacaille (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1756), J. J. de Lalande (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1764), J. Picard, and other astronomers at the Paris Observatory made possible the compilation of a number of internationally acclaimed astronomical maps and catalogs.
Progress in chemistry necessitated a critique of alchemy, which was provided by N. Lémery and E. F. Geoffroy in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and later by P. Macquer (1776). In 1718, Geoffroy compiled the first table of chemical affinity, and in 1748, J. Nollet described the diffusion of liquids. From the 1730’s to the 1770’s chemical concepts were based on the phlogiston hypothesis, but after A. Lavoisier’s discoveries and the polemics of the 1770’s and 1780’s the leading French chemists adopted an-tiphlogiston views. The revolution in chemistry was facilitated by the reform of chemical nomenclature carried out between 1782 and 1787 by Lavoisier, C. Berthollet, L. Guyton de Morveau, and A. Fourcroy (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1802). Berthollet proposed the theory of chemical equilibrium, and Guyton de Morveau introduced coke smelting of cast iron into France and suggested chlorine fumigation as a method of disinfection. The mordants developed by Macquer in 1753 and the method of bleaching fabrics with chlorine devised by Berthollet in 1785 were of great importance for the textile industry.
In 1776 D. Dolomieu, the discoverer of dolomite, embarked on a study of Alpine minerals and rocks that was to be a major contribution to geology, mineralogy, and crystallography. J. B. Romé de Lisle invented the goniometer in 1783 and developed the concept of uniform angles in crystals and the idea of the chemical similarity of allied crystals. His work became the basis for the theory of the structure of crystalline minerals. G. de Buffon (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1776) influenced natural science through his Natural History (1749–88), expounding his views on the formation of the earth and its surface and his ideas about the structural unity of the organic world.
Geographic knowledge continued to accumulate as French explorers and scientists ventured into unknown lands and seas. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries Sieur de La Salle, L. Jolliet, and Sieur de La Vérendrye (1730’s and 1740’s) explored North America. G. de Beauchesne and L. Feuillée explored South America in the early 18th century. A. Brüe published the first detailed geographical description of western tropical Africa. Besides de Beauchesne and Feuillée, three other navigators explored the southern ocean: J. Bouvet de Lozier, who reached the edge of the antarctic ice (1738–39), N. Marion-Dufresne (1771), and Y. de Kerguélen-Trémarec (1771–73). L. de Bougainville was the first French navigator to sail around the world (1766–69). A great many geographic discoveries were made in the course of Comte de La Pérouse’s Pacific voyage, which ended tragically.
Between 1735 and 1743, Bouguer and C. de La Condamine (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1754) made degree measurements near the equator in South America. In a parallel expedition to Lapland in 1736–37, P. de Maupertuis measured the meridian arc near the arctic circle. These measurements made possible the first reliable description of the shape of the earth. G. Delisle’s world atlas (1700–14) and the maps by J. N. Delisle were a major contribution to cartography. In the mid-18th century J. d’Anville and others compiled maps of Italy, Africa, and China. J. Guettard’s mineralogical atlas (1780), based on data obtained from geological expeditions in France, and the seven-volume monograph by J. Giraud-Soulavie paved the way for stratigraphie and mineralogical studies. N. Desmarest established the volcanic origin of basalt (1774–77).
In 1778, Chevalier de Lamarck compiled the Flora of France, the first such work. The earliest attempts to classify plants were M. Adanson’s mathematical taxonomy (1763) and a system devised in 1759 by B. de Jussieu (published in 1789 by A. de Jus-sieu). J. Bruguières, B. Lacépède, and M. Brisson worked on animal taxonomy and zoogeography, and P. Lyonnet and L. Daubenton (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1776) wrote on comparative anatomy. The botanist A. Duchesne was the first to describe hereditary changes in plants (1776). Schools of medicine emerged during the 18th century in surgery (F. de la Peyronie, J. Petit), otolaryngology (T. de Bordeu, P. Désault), obstetrics (A. Levret, J. Baudelocque), and pharmacology (A. Baume). P. Fauchard founded the science of dentistry in the first half of the 18th century. The works of A. Parmentier on potato growing and C. Bourgelat on veterinary science were of major importance for agriculture. In 1774, P. Vilmorin and P. Andrieux founded the first selectionist seed-growing firm.
Among important technological inventions were N. Cugnot’s steam-powered wagon (1769) and the paddle steamers built by C. Auxiron (1771) and Marquis d’Abbans (tested in 1783). J. de Vaucanson invented a variety of automatic and mechanical devices, some of which were adopted in industry. M. R. de Monta-lembert (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1760) proposed changes in the building of fortifications that had a significant influence on warfare. In 1783, J. Montgolfier and E. Montgolfier inaugurated the age of aeronautics with their balloon flights.
LATE 18TH AND FIRST HALF OF THE 19TH CENTURIES. The French Revolution brought about far-reaching changes in the organization of French science, including a sweeping reform of royal scientific institutions. The National Institute of Sciences and Arts, now known as the Institut de France, was created in 1795. Three new higher schools—the Ecole Polytechnique, the Ecole Normale Supérieure, and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers—became leading research centers together with the Museum of Natural History, organized in 1793 around the Paris Botanical Garden, which had been founded in 1635. The Mining Council was created in 1793, the Bureau of the Longitudes in 1795, and the Society for the Advancement of National Industry in 1801. Among the society’s members were the scientists Berthollet, Monge, and J. Chaptal. In 1791 patents and prizes were instituted for inventors. The participation of prominent scientists in the reorganization of research and educational institutions (Berthollet, Guyton de Morveau, Lagrange, Monge, and Carnot taught in the new schools) contributed to the improvement of higher education and to the emergence of a new system of organizing research based on national scientific traditions.
One of the revolution’s most important and characteristic reforms, and a major event in world cultural history, was the introduction of the metric system of weights and measures, worked out by Berthollet, Monge, Laplace, and several statesmen, notably Talleyrand. The metric system was adopted in 1795 by a decree of the Convention.
The growing scientific needs of industry, transport, and the military stimulated research in the mathematics of thermodynamics, industrial mechanics, and ballistics. The work of J. Fourier (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1829), S. Poisson (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1826), and L. Poinsot led to a number of mathematical discoveries. Fourier’s Analytical Theory of Heat (1822), for example, was the starting point for the theory of trigonometric series. In pure mathematics, A. Cauchy (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1831) offered a proof of the theory of series and the theory of limits, using the latter to explain differential and integral calculus. Cauchy also laid the foundation for the theory of functions of a complex variable. The works of E. Galois, published in 1846, largely determined the subsequent development of algebra. Laplace and Poisson made a notable contribution to the development of probability theory. J. Liouville (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1840), G. de Coriolis, H. Navier, and J. C. F. Sturm (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1836) were widely known for their work in various areas of mathematics and mechanics. Laplace devised methods of developing complete theories of planetary motion; he also proposed a cosmogonic hypothesis of the formation of the solar system.
The ideas of N. L. S. Carnot (1824), carried further by B. P. Clapeyron (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1830), laid the groundwork for thermodynamics. H. Regnault (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1848) determined as precisely as was then possible the mechanical equivalent of heat. In the 1820’s A. Ampère (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1830) advanced several of the basic laws of thermodynamics. J. Peltier (1834) and A. C. Becquerel discovered thermoelectric phenomena. A. E. Becquerel initiated the study of phosphorescence, E. Malus discovered the polarization of light (1808–11), and A. Fresnel developed the theory of diffraction and interference. In 1819, P. Dulong and A. Petit derived an empirical rule for the constancy of atomic specific heats. In 1820, J. B. Biot and F. Savart established experimentally a law determining magnetic field intensity. D. Arago (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1829) exerted considerable influence on French science. He discovered the magnetizing effect of an electric current and the phenomenon of rotation magnetism, and he established a link between the aurora borealis and magnetic storms. At Arago’s suggestion, U. Leverrier in 1845 took up the problem of the existence of an unknown planet beyond Uranus (Neptune), discovered later on the basis of Leverrier’s calculations, and H. Fizeau and J. Foucault (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1860) performed experiments to measure the speed of light in water and air.
A number of fundamental discoveries were made in chemistry. L. Vauquelin discovered chromium (1797) and beryllium (1798), and B. Courtois discovered iodine (1811). In 1810, L. Thénard (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1826) demonstrated the basic properties of potassium, sodium, and chlorine. In 1826, A. Balard discovered bromine. M. Chevreul (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1853) described the structure of vegetable and animal fats and the process of saponification (1810–23). Theoretical and physical chemistry progressed rapidly. A polemic between J. Proust and Berthollet (1801–08) resulted in the formulation of the law of definite proportions. J. Gay-Lussac (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1829) discovered the law of the thermal expansion of gases in 1802 and the law of the volume ratios of reacting gases in 1808. The theory of radicals proposed by J. Dumas (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1845) and its successor, the theory of types advanced by C. Gerhardt and A. Laurent, were major breakthroughs in the development of a theory of chemical structure.
The achievements in physics and chemistry were matched by advances in mineralogy and geology. R. J. Haüy (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1806) discovered the law of whole numbers, one of the basic laws of crystallography (1784), and A. Bravais described the basic types of crystal lattices (1848). L. Elie de Beaumont (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1857) and P. Dufrénoy compiled a geological map of France (1841) and produced comprehensive works on the country’s geology. Elie de Beaumont proposed a contraction hypothesis to explain the formation of the earth. Like A. Boue, A. d’Orbigny, F. Pictet de la Rive, and many other French geologists and paleontologists of the early 19th century, Elie de Beaumont subscribed to G. Cuvier’s theory of catastrophism. The very term “paleontology” was coined in 1822 by H. de Blainville. A. Brongniart and Cuvier charted the stratigraphy of the Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits in the Paris Basin, and J. Desnoyers identified the Quaternary system (1825–29). In the 1820’s and 1830’s A. T. Brongniart (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1829) founded the branch of paleontology known as paleobotany. C. Sainte-Claire Deville was noted for his work in volcanology and meteorology (1858–61).
The Pacific expeditions of Chevalier D’Entrecasteux and C. Beautemps-Beaupré in search of La Pérouse’s lost ships (1791–93) played an important role in the development of geography. In the 1820’s Beautemps-Beaupré supervised a geographic survey of the French seacoast, resulting in the publication in 1848 of a coastal atlas of France containing some 600 maps. Geographic exploration continued in South America (expeditions led by A. d’Orbigny in 1826–33 and Comte de Castelnau in 1843–17), in West Africa (R. Caillié in 1827–28), and in Tibet and Mongolia (E. Hue and J. Gäbet in 1844–46). J. Dumont-d’Urville s voyages in 1826–28 and 1837–40 resulted in many geographic discoveries. A geographic society was founded in Paris in 1821.
In biology, the most notable achievement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was Lamarck’s theory of evolution, the first integrated theory of evolutionary development. The struggle for the acceptance of evolution as a universal law of animate nature, as illustrated by the debate between Cuvier and E. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1830, largely determined the subsequent development of biology in France. In the continuing search for a natural system of classifying plants and animals, Lamarck and A. de Jussieu made an important contribution to botany. Cuvier introduced the concept of phylum in zoology and advanced the theory of the correlation of organs. The early joint work of Cuvier and E. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire led to a reform of the classification of vertebrates. The zoological studies of Lamarck, F. Dujardin, H. Blainville (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1840), C. L. Bonaparte (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1842), and F. Levaillant (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1809) were widely acclaimed. H. Dutrochet, J. Prévost, J. Dumas, F. Pouchet, and C. Lallemand made a noteworthy contribution to the development of embryology.
Research into the chemistry of respiration and fermentation, begun by Lavoisier in 1789 and continued by Thénard in 1803, played an important role in the development of physiology. F. Magendie, one of the first to use experimental and vivisectional methods in physiology, produced a number of works on the physiology of the nervous system. In 1822, P. Flourens (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1856) discovered the respiratory center in the brain. J. L. M. Poiseuille, known for his work in hydraulics, published a number of studies on hemodynamics and in 1828 was the first to use a mercury manometer to measure blood pressure. H. Milne-Edwards (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1846) advanced the principle of the division of labor and differentiation of organs and tissues. In their study of hybridization A. Sageret and C. Naudin obtained important data on the laws of heredity. I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (honorary member, Petersburg AS from 1856) developed the theory of animal acclimatization. Agriculture benefited from the work of J. Boussingault, one of the founders of agricultural chemistry, and the achievements of A. Vilmorin and L. Vilmorin in developing new varieties of sugar beets and other crops.
A number of French physicians won international recognition, among them the internists J. Corvisart and R. Laënnec, who introduced the use of percussion and auscultation, the psychiatrists P. Pinel and J. Esquirol, and the surgeons G. Dupuytren, D. J. Larrey, and P. F. Percy. In 1836, J. B. Bouilland established a connection between rheumatic fever and heart disease. M. F. X. Bichat worked out a scientific classification of tissues. F. J. V. Broussais founded the physiological school of medicine.
The French Revolution inaugurated a new era in the development of engineering and technology in France. With the help of French scientists the country soon began producing its own steel and manufacturing saltpeter and gunpowder on a large scale. Scientific discoveries led to the rise of several new industries, for example, soda production, begun in 1791 on the basis of a method developed in 1787–89 by N. Leblanc. A. Argand and G. Cárcel designed liquid-fuel lamps, and P. Lebon found a way to produce illuminating gas by distilling wood pulp (1799). In 1806, N. Clément-Desormes and C. Desormes discovered the catalytic effect of nitric oxides in the chamber process of producing sulfuric acid, thereby initiating the widespread use of catalytic reactions in the chemical industry. Among the French inventions that advanced the industrial revolution were the weaving and spinning machines of J. Jacquard and P. Girard, B. Thimmonier’s sewing machine, the water wheel of J. Poncelet (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1857), B. Fourneyron’s turbine, K. F. Drais’ wagon, and C. Chappé’s semaphore telegraph. N. Niepce and L. J. M. Daguerre did pioneering work in photography. The country’s first metal bridge, the Pont des Arts, was built over the Seine in Paris (1802–04), and the first French railroad went into operation (1832). Military engineering was improved by the inventions of H. Delvigne, C. Minié, and F. Tamasier. A. Garnerin invented a parachute (1797), and H. Giffard launched his steam-powered aerostat (1852).
In the first half of the 19th century France’s international scientific contacts expanded as French scientists, among them A. de Bétancourt, B. Clapeyron, and G. Lamé, became directly involved in research in other countries, including Russia.
SECOND HALF OF THE 19TH AND EARLY 20TH CENTURIES. By the latter half of the 19th century the small laboratories attached to French educational and scientific institutions could no longer keep pace with the development of science. To promote research, the Collège de France was reorganized in 1868 to include departments of mathematics, physics and chemistry, and natural science. The French Association for the Advancement of Science was founded in 1872, and various other new organizations were formed, among them the Institute and Observatory of Terrestrial Physics in Clermont-Ferrand (1871), the world’s first biological station, established in Concarneau (1859), the Biological Society and laboratory in Roscoff (1872), the biological stations in Wim-ereux (1874) and Bagnols (1881), and the observatories in Nice (1881) and Besançon (1882).
The second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries saw a growing interest in mathematical analysis, as illustrated by J. Bertrand’s work on the theory of series and groups and C. Hermite’s research on the theory of elliptic functions. (The former became a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS in 1859 and the latter in 1857.) The most famous French mathematician of the period was H. Poincaré (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1895), who did important work on the theory of differential equations, founded combinatorial topology, and proposed the theory of automorphic functions. Poincaré thoroughly analyzed the current theories of optical and electromagnetic phenomena and worked out the mathematical consequences of the “relativity postulate” independently of Einstein. The theory of differential equations was also developed by P. Painlevé (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1924) and E. Picard (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1895 and honorary member of the USSR AS from 1925). The study of algebra was advanced by C. Jordan (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1895).
Several other mathematicians won renown: M. D’Ocagne for his work in nomography, J. Darboux (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1895) for his study of differential geometry, E. J. Cartan for his work on the theory of continuous groups, and J. Hadamard (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1922) for his contribution to number theory. Jordan, E. Borel (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1929), H. Lebesgue (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1929), R. Baire, and A. Denjoy (member of the USSR AS from 1971) laid the foundation for the theory of functions of a real variable. In 1855, A. de Saint-Venant proposed a general theory of torsion. J. Boussinesq published a number of major works on hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, and the theory of elasticity.
A major event in physics was A. Becquerel’s discovery of radioactive radiation in 1896, the investigation of which led Marie and Pierre Curie to the discovery of radioactivity. Becquerel and the Curies were the first French scientists to win the Nobel Prize (1903). Marie Curie became a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS in 1907 and an honorary member of the USSR AS in 1926. Pierre Curie and his brother Paul Jean Curie discovered the phenomenon of piezoelectricity, and Pierre Curie wrote a number of works on the problem of symmetry in physics. P. Langevin (honorary member of the USSR AS from 1929) developed a statistical theory of diamagnetism and paramagnetism based on electronic concepts (1903–05). He also made a significant contribution to the study of the theory of relativity and rela-tivistic electrodynamics. In 1916 he developed a method of generating ultrasound with piezoelectric quartz crystals that was used in underwater reconnaissance and submarine detection. L. Foucault discovered eddy currents. P. E. Weiss posited the existence of an internal magnetic field (1907), and proposed the theory of the domain structure of ferromagnetic materials. F. Massieu worked out the principles of thermodynamic potentials (1869).
In the 1880’s and 1890’s G. Lippman (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1912) performed experiments in light interference that led to the development of the first method of color photography (Nobel Prize, 1908). The astronomers C. Delaunay and F. Tisserand (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1883) studied lunar perturbations, and P. Janssen (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1904) invented the spectral method of observing solar prominences during periods when the sun was not in eclipse (1868). H. Deslandres (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1914) made continuous photographs of the chromosphere of the entire solar disk using the spectroheliograph that he invented in 1891.
In chemistry, M. Berthelot (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1876) synthesized various groups of organic compounds, and C. Wurtz (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1873) made numerous discoveries relating to organic synthesis and other aspects of organic chemistry. In 1874, J. Le Bel proposed the asymmetric carbon atom theory. L. Pasteur’s early work on optical molecular asymmetry laid the foundation for stereochemistry. (Pasteur became a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS in 1884 and an honorary member in 1893.) C. Friedel (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1894) studied organic silicon compounds, and in 1873 he synthesized glycerine and acetone. His work led to the development of the Friedel-Crafts reaction. Of both theoretical and practical importance were L. Cailletet’s gas liquefaction methods (1877) and the work of P. Sabatier (Nobel Prize, 1912) and J. Senderens on hydrogénation catalysis.
In the 1860’s A. Naquet demonstrated the possibility of alternate valences for a number of elements. In 1884, H. Le Châtelier (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1913 and honorary member of the USSR AS from 1926) formulated the general principle of shifting equilibrium in physicochemical systems. He also devised a method of measuring high temperatures with a thermocouple. F. Grignard (Nobel Prize, 1912) and F. Barbier did pioneering work on organometallic compounds. In 1875, P. Lecoq de Boisbaudran discovered gallium, whose existence Mendeleev had predicted. Subsequently, A. Debierne discovered actinium (1899); E. Demarcay, europium (1901); M. Curie (Nobel Prize, 1911) and P. Curie, polonium and radium (1898); and G. Urbain (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1925), lutetium (1907). In 1886, H. Moissan obtained fluorine in free form. He won the Nobel Prize (1906) for his work in electrometallurgy and electrothermics, begun in 1892.
In the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries geographic expeditions were undertaken to Central and South Asia (P. G. Bonvalot in the 1880’s), Africa (A. Grandidier in 1865–70, P. de Brazza in 1875–80 and 1891–92), South America (P. Montolien in 1872), and Antarctica (J. Charcot in 1910). R. Blanchard, J. Brunhes, and P. Vidal de la Blache founded the French school of “human geography.” E. Martonne worked on theoretical problems of physical geography and on the regional geography of Central Europe and France. Other geographers, notably C. Deperet (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1927), dealt with various theoretical and methodological problems and analyzed the natural, sociotechnological, and med-icobiological factors in the human environment. E. Reclus verged on geographic determinism in his general picture of the development of mankind, enhanced by vivid and lively descriptions of countries.
Experimental geology was developed further by G. Daubrée (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1861), and works on descriptive and regional mineralogy, petrography, and volcanology were written by F. A. Lacroix (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1909 and honorary member of the USSR AS from 1925). L. De Launay did pioneering work in metallogeny; A. Lapparent compiled a geological and mineralogical map of France; and H. Darcy and J. Dupuit formulated important principles of hydrogeology. G. E. Haug (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1909) made a major contribution to the study of geosynclines, and his textbook raised the level of geology instruction in many countries. M. Bertrand introduced the concept of periodic tectonic movements and the idea of principal periods of folding. He is also credited with having founded the theory of charriages. Blanchard, Daubrée, and F. Fischer made outstanding contributions to hydrology. L. Teisserenc de Bort established the existence of the stratosphere.
Evolutionary theory spread throughout France, chiefly in the form of the neo-Lamarckism of A. Giard (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1901). A number of works by French scientists led to a revision of classical biological disciplines along evolutionary lines. The botanists P. Van Tieghem (honorary member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1908) and H. Douliot founded the stelar theory. G. Bertrand isolated the first biological catalysts in 1895 and developed the concept of coenzymes. The French school of physiology became world famous through the work of C. Bernard (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1860), one of the founders of modern physiology and experimental pathology. Among Bernard’s students were J. d’Arsonval, who developed a method of electrotherapy, C. Brown-Séquard, who was the first to attempt rejuvenation by endocrinological methods, and L. Ranvier (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1882), who improved the techniques of histological research. In 1902, C. Richet discovered anaphylaxis (Nobel Prize, 1913). Written in the 1860’s, P. Bert’s works on the physiology of breathing were subsequently recognized as being fundamental to aviation and underwater medicine. E. Marey (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg AS from 1902) developed the cardiograph and other instruments for recording physiological processes graphically.
Important research in entomology was done by J. Fabre and his students and in paleontology by A. Gaudry, who discovered the Pikermi fauna. L. Pasteur, the founder of modern microbiology and immunology, exerted a decisive influence on the development of many branches of biology and medicine. As a result of Pasteur’s work the fight against infectious diseases became the most promising branch of French medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. C. Davaine and P. Rayer revealed the etiology of anthrax; C. Laveran won the Nobel Prize in 1907 for his discovery of the causative agent of malaria; F. Widal developed a test for diagnosing typhoid fever; and C. Nicolle won the Nobel Prize in 1928 for his work on typhus and toxoplasmosis. E. Roux demonstrated the role of bacterial toxins in infectious diseases. Notable contributions were made to internal medicine (A. Trousseau, G. Dieulafoy, P. Potain), surgery (E. L. Doyen, R. Leriche), urology (J. Albarran), neuropathology and psychiatry (J. Déjerine, P. Janet, J. Charcot), and general hygiene (A. Bouchardat, A. Proust, Z. Fleury).
At the first international congress of electrical engineers, held in Paris in 1881, M. Deprez described his plans to build a power line, a project that was carried out the following year. In 1854, H. Sainte-Claire Deville invented the first industrial method for producing aluminum, and in 1886 P. Héroult devised a method of producing aluminum by electrolyzing dissolved alumina. Héroult was one of the inventors of the electric arc furnace. G. Bouchardat, working in the late 1870’s, was the first to obtain a synthetic rubberlike product, and H. de Chardonnet discovered a way of making nitrocellulose rayon (1884). In 1867, F. J. Monier took out a patent for reinforced concrete. P. Martin proposed a method of casting steel in regenerative furnaces (1864), and F. Osmond improved the techniques of microscopic metallography. A. de Vathaire was the first to calculate the thermal equilibrium in a blast furnace (1866).
In 1860, E. Lenoir designed the first practical internal combustion engine, and in 1878, A. Bollée developed an independent wheel suspension system. In the 1890’s the first French motor vehicles appeared: the Panhard-Levassor and the DeDion-Bouton. C. Cros introduced the idea of mechanical sound recording (1877), and the brothers L. J. Lumière and A. Lumière invented the motion-picture camera (1895). Such construction feats as A. Eiffel’s 305-meter tower, built in 1889, also played a significant role in the development of engineering. Among important inventions of the period were S. Sommeillet’s pneumatic drill (1857), Z. Gramme’s ring-armature generators (1869), A. Blondel’s oscillograph (1893; Blondel became an honorary member of the USSR AS in 1932), G. Planté’s lead storage battery (1859), Weiss’ powerful electromagnets and various measuring instruments, and A. Rateau’s multiple-runner turbine (1899). Other notable achievements included E. Bouillin’s machines with caterpillar drives (1871–74), A. Mallet’s improved steam locomotives (1876, 1887), J. Baudot’s letter-printing telegraph (1877), A. Santos-Dumont’s dirigibles (1898–1903) and airplanes, and the aircraft designed by C. Ader and by L. Blériot, who flew across the English Channel in his monoplane in 1909.
1918 TO 1945. After World War I efforts were made to coordinate research more effectively and to strengthen the bond between science and industry. The National Office of Scientific and Industrial Research and Inventions was established in 1922. Specialized government scientific institutions were founded: the Agricultural Research Institute in 1922, the Center for Geological and Mining Research in 1932, and the Institute of Construction Engineering in 1933. Basic research was generally conducted by private organizations, of which the most famous were the Pasteur Institute (1888), the Radium Institute (1914), and the Poincaré Institute of Mathematical Physics (1929). The universities embarked on applied research, creating institutes of aerodynamics, chemistry, and engineering. A number of new industrial laboratories were established in radio engineering, electrical engineering, and textile production. The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique was established in 1939 to coordinate all types of scientific work.
Mathematical research flourished in the interwar period. Continuing the work of Poincaré and Picard, J. Hadamard developed the theory of entire functions. P. Appell (honorary member of the USSR AS from 1925) published a basic textbook on theoretical mechanics.
The physicist L. De Broglie (member of the USSR AS from 1958) proposed the theory of the wave properties of matter, laying the foundation for modern quantum mechanics. De Broglie was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1929 for his discovery of the wave properties of electrons. L. Brillouin, one of the founders of the zone theory of solid bodies, published a number of major works on quantum mechanics, magnetism, radiophysics, and information theory.
J. B. Perrin (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1924 and honorary member from 1929) proved conclusively the existence of molecules (Nobel Prize, 1926). In 1925, P. V. Auger discovered the effect of the ionization of an atom in an excited state, and in 1938 he and his colleagues detected extensive atmospheric showers in cosmic rays. In 1934 the nuclear physicists Jean Frédéric and Irène Joliot-Curie (corresponding members of the USSR AS from 1947) discovered the phenomenon of artificial radioactivity (Nobel Prize, 1935). In 1939, J. F. Joliot-Curie and his colleagues showed the possibility in principle of a nuclear chain reaction with the release of atomic energy. There were significant achievements in astronomy: E. Antoniadi’s observations of Mars, Mercury, and other planets, B. Lyot’s filming of solar prominences, A. Danjon’s research on the physics of binary stars, and C. Fehrenbach’s method of measuring the radial velocities of celestial objects.
In chemistry, M. Perey discovered the radioactive element francium. J. B. Senderens did important work on the catalytic conversion of organic compounds, and C. Matignon (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1929) made a major contribution to organic synthesis and thermochemistry.
The leading geographer of the interwar period was E. Martonne, whose principal works were devoted to physical geography, geomorphology, and the classification of climates. The geologist P. Termier (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1925) provided a general description of the structure of the Alps and explained the phenomenon of diapirism. In 1925, M. Gignoux published one of the best studies of the stratigraphy of France, Britain, and Germany. The work of L. Cayeux (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1929) and V. Vaughan on sedimentary rock initiated the science of lithology. E. Martel was one of the founders of speleology. In paleontology, important works were produced by C. Deperet (corresponding member of the USSR AS from 1927) and H. Douvillé (honorary member of the USSR AS from 1929).
The biologist G. Teissier sought to develop a comprehensive theory of evolution, and L. Cuénot introduced the theory of preadaptation. A notable achievement in microbiology was F. d’Hérelle’s description of bacteriophages. R. Souèges’s studies of plant embryology and P. Dangeard’s work on cytology and morphology were widely acclaimed. E. Le Roy and P. Teilhard de Chardin, who first expounded the concept of the noosphere, exerted a significant influence on the development of ecological views. The physiologist L. Lapicque discovered chronaxie.
There were notable advances in medicine. A. Calmette and C. Guérin produced a tuberculosis vaccine (BCG), which was first used on newborn infants in 1921. R. Leriche founded the physiological school of surgery. J. Babinski was one of the first physicians in France to operate on tumors of the central nervous system.
Progress in aviation owed much to the designs of E. Nieuport and H. Farman. In the 1920’s and 1930’s R. Laurin and R. Esnault-Pelterie did pioneering work in jet flight and rocketry. L. Damblanc proposed several rocket designs in the 1930’s. G. Patard invented an industrial method of producing methanol for the Houdry catalytic cracking process.
During the fascist occupation (1940–44), when research institutions and most universities were closed, scientific work virtually came to a halt. A large number of French scientists emigrated, among them the physicists B. Goldschmidt and J. Guerin, who worked on the atomic bomb in the USA.
SINCE 1945. France began its scientific and technological revolution by considerably expanding the government’s role in financing and coordinating scientific research, chiefly through the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Among the leading government agencies, each comprising numerous scientific sections, that were created after the war were the Atomic Energy Commissariat (1945), whose first director was J. F. Joliot-Curie, the National Center for Space Research (1946), called the National Division of Aerospace Research prior to 1961, and the Center for Research in Oceanography and Marine Biology (1946). Scientific work expanded at the older universities and higher schools, and new universities were established in Rouen (1966), Reims (1969), Montpellier (1970), and Tours (1970). Educational associations in various branches of engineering and the natural sciences began to play a leading role at some universities. Early in the 1970’s new polytechnical institutes equipped with scientific laboratories were founded in Grenoble, Nancy, and Toulouse.
The move to expand and improve the country’s scientific base has yielded results: research is being conducted across the entire spectrum of the natural sciences and technology. However, the tendency to militarize science is also having an effect on the growth of research. France tested a nuclear bomb in 1960 and a thermonuclear one in 1968. Moreover, large sums of money have been spent to develop warplanes (Mirage), missiles, and other military hardware.
The famous French school of mathematics continues to do important work in the theory of functions and in functional analysis. Among its members are A. Denjoy, J. Leray (member of the USSR AS from 1966), P. Levy, H. P. Cartan, and the group of mathematicians who since 1937 have been publishing a multivolume comprehensive treatise on the basic branches of mathematics under the collective pseudonym of N. Bourbaki. M. Roy is widely known for his work in mechanics, including his basic research on jet engine theory.
French physicists have achieved notable successes in radio spectroscopy and in the physics of magnetic phenomena. A. Kastler developed the optical pumping method and used it to study low-frequency resonance (Nobel Prize, 1966). L. Néel was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1970 for his research on the properties of antiferromagnetic substances. The first French nuclear reactor was built in 1948 under the direction of J. F. Joliot-Curie. L. Leprince-Ringuet and M. Lhéritier were among the first to find evidence of the existence of mesons. F. Perrin, A. Abraham, and B. P. Gregory have done outstanding work in nuclear physics and A. Guinier and J. Fridel in crystallography. Research is under way in controlled thermonuclear fusion, nuclear magnetic resonance, optics, quantum electronics, low-temperature and high-temperature physics, and semiconductor physics. D. Cha-longe has made a notable contribution to astronomy. Some of the most promising chemical research is being done by P. Hagen-muller (member of the USSR AS from 1976) in solid-state chemistry, by G. Champetier in macromolecular chemistry, and by G. L. Chaudron in metallurgical chemistry.
Under the influence of the “human geography” school a large number of works have been produced on various countries and regions. A noteworthy achievement is the 15-volume World Geography, published between 1927 and 1948. In physical geography, the emphasis has been on comprehensive regional descriptions, best exemplified in the works of J. Dresch (member of the USSR AS from 1966), P. Birot, and P. Sebaq on the Mediterranean, P. Gourou’s studies of Asia, and R. Capot-Rey’s books on Africa. Major works on geomorphology have been produced by H. Baulig, A. Cholley, J. Auboin (member of the USSR AS from 1976), and J. Tricart. P. Pédelaborde has written on climatology and meteorology and G. Chatel on hydrography.
France’s prominence in océanographic research owes much to the comprehensive expeditions undertaken in the 1950’s and 1960’s by the French scientific vessels Aventure, Jeanne d’Arc, and Jean Charcot. Significant work is being done in the physics of the ocean by H. Lacombe and in marine geology by Y. La Prairie. J. Y. Cousteau is known throughout the world for his underwater research. France is actively engaged in research in the antarctic, where comprehensive geophysical and aerological studies are being carried out at the Dumont d’Urville and Charcot stations.
In the biological sciences the greatest successes have been scored in molecular biology. A. Lwoff discovered the hereditary nature of lysogeny and did major work on the regulation of protein synthesis in bacteria. (Lwoff was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR in 1967.) F. Jacob and J. Monod developed the idea of genetic regulation known as the operon concept. In 1965, Lwoff, Jacob, and Monod were awarded the Nobel Prize. Extensive research has been done in virology by P. Lépine (member of the USSR AMS from 1969). Other major research fields include plant morphology (L. Plantefol), hydro-biology (B. Dussart), and various branches of zoology, notably ornithology (J. Dorst) and entomology (R. Chauvin). A large number of experiments have been performed in the phytotron built in 1957 in Gif-sur-Yvette, one of the first such installations in Europe.
French physicians and scientists have won international renown for their work in immunology (C. Levaditi), radiology and oncology (A. M. B. Lacassagne, member of the USSR AMS from 1962), and surgery (J. Duquesne). French agricultural science is highly regarded, particularly the work of R. de Vilmorin and J. Bustarret in selective breeding, plant growing, and plant acclimatization. (Both became members of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the former in 1957 and the latter in 1970.) G. L. Ramon and E. Fauré-Fremiet are known for their work in veterinary science.
Power engineering occupies a prominent place in the technical sciences. Atomic power plants were built in Marcoule in 1956 and near Chinon in the 1960’s, and one of the world’s first tidal power plants was built on the Ranee River in 1966. Outstanding examples of original design in passenger aircraft construction are the Caravelle, in service since 1959, and the Concorde, built jointly with British firms. The Renault and Citroën firms have introduced various innovations in automotive design and production technology. In 1961 a special scientific vessel, the Archimedes, was built for underwater research. France is also recognized for its achievements in experimental nuclear engineering (Mirabelle chamber) and in the design of scientific instruments. A. Lallemand invented an electron camera for photographing faint celestial objects or their spectrums. In 1958, H. de France devised the SECAM color television system. Since the late 1960’s the French have been developing their own computer technology (Plan Calcul).
In the early 1960’s France embarked on a program of space research, and in 1965 a French rocket launched the first French earth satellite, the A-l. Since then a number of other satellites have been developed, among them the FR-1 and the Diapason, as well as original equipment for unmanned interplanetary stations and satellites used to study the magnetosphere, solar physics, cosmic rays, and geodetic and geophysical phenomena.
Much of the scientific research in nuclear physics, oceanography, and space exploration is being conducted jointly with other nations. France is active in many international scientific and technological organizations, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research and the European Space Agency.
France was one of the first Western European countries to cooperate with the socialist countries in science and technology. Agreements signed with the USSR since 1966 provide for collaboration in atomic power research, nuclear physics, space exploration, color television development, and machine tool manufacture. Since the early 1970’s dozens of joint experiments have been conducted aboard the Soviet Oreol and Prognoz satellites, interplanetary stations launched toward Mars and Venus, and the Lunokhod vehicles. Soviet rockets have put into orbit two French unmanned interplanetary stations, and in the summer of 1977 the French Snow-3 satellite was launched in the USSR. At the Institute of High-energy Physics in Serpukhov, Soviet and French physicists are conducting joint experiments using a French Mirabelle chamber.
B. A. STAROSTIN
Social sciences, PHILOSOPHY. The earliest examples of philosophic thought in France were the patristic writings of Hilary of Poitiers in the fourth century and Claude Mamert in the fifth century. Medieval French philosophy was dominated by Scholasticism, expounded by Johannes Scotus Erigena, one of the founders of Scholastic realism. In the 11th and 12th centuries a dispute arose between the realists, led by Bernard of Chartres and William of Champeaux, and the nominalitsts, notably Berengar of Tours, Roscelin, and P. Abélard. The 12th century also gave rise to the unorthodox pantheist doctrines of Amalric of Bene and David of Dinant. In the 13th century, when the University of Paris became the center of French philosophy, the reigning Au-gustinianism was supplanted by a scholasticized Aristotelianism, which Alexander of Hales and Thomas Aquinas used to buttress Catholicism. This brand of Aristotelianism was opposed by the Averroists Guillaume of Saint-Amour, Siger of Brabant, John of Jandun, and Pierre Dubois, who subscribed to a materialist interpretation of Aristotelianism. In the 14th century the nominalists at the University of Paris assailed orthodox Scholasticism. Jean Buridan, Nicole Oresme, and Nicole of Autrecourt followed the English philosopher William of Ockham in rejecting dogmatic Scholasticism in favor of the empirical study of nature.
In the 16th century, the emergence of capitalist relations and the country’s economic and political growth contributed to the spread of the humanist and Reformation ideas of J. Lefèvre d’E-taples, P. Ramus, M. de Montaigne, F. Rabelais, J. Bodin, and E. de La Boétie. The 17th century, a crucial period in the development of a distinctly French philosophy, produced R. Descartes, one of the founders of modern Western European philosophy. Cartesianism divided into a materialist branch (J. Rohault, P. Régis) and an idealist one, represented by Jansenism (B. Pascal) and occasionalism (N. de Malebranche). P. Gassendi attempted to revive the atomistic and ethical ideas of Epicurus.
The 18th century was the age of Enlightenment and materialism in French philosophy. One of the first men of the Enlightenment was P. Bayle, who took a critical view of metaphysics. Reflecting the most progressive trends in scientific and social thought and clashing constantly with feudal and clerical ideology, French 18th-century materialism took two forms: deism, expounded by Voltaire, Baron de Montesquieu, E. de Condillac, J. J. Rousseau, J. Robinet, A. Turgot, and Marquis de Condor-cet, and atheism, espoused by J. Meslier, J. O. de La Mettrie, D. Diderot, C. Helvétius, P. H. Holbach, P. S. Maréchal, and C. Volney. Diderot’s Encyclopedia was enormously important for the development of a materialist world view. French 18th-century materialism influenced progressive philosophical and sociopolitical thought in many countries, including Russia, and provided the philosophical basis for the ideology of the French Revolution.
In the first half of the 19th century French Enlightenment thought and materialism came under attack from such bourgeois ideologists as J. de Maistre. Alongside idealist philosophy, revived by A. Destutt de Tracy, F. P. Maine de Biran, and P. Royer-Collard, there appeared eclecticism (V. Cousin) and vulgar materialism (P. Cabanis).
From the early 1830’s the positivism of A. Comte and E. Littré attracted a large following. The Utopian socialists Comte de Saint-Simon and C. Fourier sought to justify theoretically the urgent task of transforming society.
Two opposing trends, positivism and irrationalism, coexisted in French bourgeois philosophy in the second half of the 19th century. Scientific progress fostered a positivist approach to the philosophy of science (H. Poincaré, P. Duhem). Nevertheless, spiritualism, whose leading exponents were F. Ravaisson-Mollien, E. Boutroux, L. Brunschvicg, and C. Renouvier, was recognized as the official philosophy of the universities. At the end of the 19th century positivism declined, to be superseded by the intuitionism of H. Bergson.
The early 20th century witnessed a revival of religious philosophy in the Protestant modernism of L. A. Sabatier, the Catholic modernism of M. Blondel, E. Le Roy, and A. Loisy, the neo-Thomism of J. Maritain and E. Gilson, and the Christian existentialism of G. Marcel. In the 1920’s and 1930’s foreign philosophical trends were assimilated and reinterpreted, specifically neo-Hegelianism (J. Wahl, J. Hyppolite, A. Kojeve) and phenomenology (J. P. Sartre, M. Merleau-Ponty). French atheistic existentialism was rooted in foreign philosophy.
Since the mid-20th century the more influential trends have been existentialism, expounded by Sartre, A. Camus, Merleau-Ponty, S. de Beauvoir, G. Bataille, and F. Jeanson; personalism, developed by E. Mounier, J. Lacroix, P. Landsberg, P. Ricoeur, and M. Nédoncelle; the philosophy of P. Teilhard de Chardin; and the neorationalism of G. Bachelard. A reorientation in philosophical thought began in the 1960’s with the development of various forms of structuralism by C. Lévi-Strauss, M. Foucault, J. Lacan, and J. Derrida.
Marxist philosophical ideas were disseminated in France from the 1880’s, largely through the efforts of the early French Marxists J. Guesde, P. Lafargue, and G. Deville. The creation of the French Communist Party in 1920 heralded a new phase in the development of Marxist philosophy in France. Over the next two decades French philosophers evinced a deep interest in Marxism-Leninism, and the Communist leaders M. Thorez, W. Rochet, and J. Duelos dealt with philosophical questions in their works. In the 1940’s the French Marxists G. Politzer, J. Solomon, and C. Hainchelin denounced fascism and the anti-popular policies of the reactionary bourgeoisie. After World War II, M. Cachin published works assailing the religious world view, and H. Mougin polemicized tirelessly against bourgeois philosophy. Works on the history of philosophy were also produced. In the mid-1950’s and especially in the 1960’s French Communists had to combat revisionism, principally the ideas of H. Lefebvre and R. Garaudy.
In the 1970’s Marxist philosophers were examining general Marxist-Leninist methodological and epistemological problems, questions relating to historical materialism, and contemporary sociological and sociopolitical issues. Problems of Marxist theory have been studied by L. Althusser, M. Gaudelier, and L. Sève, and Lenin’s theoretical legacy has been elucidated by J. Fréville, Althusser, G. Cogniot, G. Besse, M. Simon, J. Milhau, and D. Lecourt. Cogniot, M. Verret, A. Casanova, and Besse have addressed themselves to the subject of religion. Rochet, Duelos, L. Figuères, and C. Prévost have written about the younger generation, and S. Laurent and J. Thibaut have studied the intelligentsia. Gaudelier and J. Chesneaux have discussed problems pertaining to economic formations. Marxist philosophy is taught at the New (formerly Workers’) University of Paris and at the Maurice Thorez University. Research conducted at the Center for Marxist Studies is published by the Communist and progressive press: L’Humanité, Cahiers du communisme, France nouvelle, La Pensée, and La Nouvelle Critique.
SOCIOLOGY. Of tremendous importance for the development of French sociology was the system proposed by A. Comte, who also coined the word “sociology.” In the second half of the 19th century F. Le Play headed the conservative trend in sociology, and J. A. de Gobineau propounded reactionary racist ideas that were later taken up by G. V. de Lapouge. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries four basic schools emerged. The first, the school of social science, developed Le Play’s ideas. The members of the school, notably H. de Tourville, E. Demolins, and P. Bureau, published in the journal La Science sociale, founded in 1886. The second school included contributors to the journal Revue internationale de sociologie, founded in 1893, and members of the International Institute of Sociology, established in the same year by R. Worms. Two dominant theoretical tendencies may be identified among the school’s various currents: organi-cism, which compared society to a biological organism (Worms, A. Fouillée), and psychologism, which viewed social processes as variations of psychological ones and sociology as a branch of psychology (G. Tarde, G. Richard, G. L. Duprat). The third school was represented by the Catholic sociologists O. Habert, S. Deploige, and G. Legrand, exponents of Thomism. The fourth, the French school of sociology founded by E. Durkheim, included M. Mauss, M. Halbwachs, F. Simiand, C. Bougie, G. Davy, and P. Fauconnet, all of whom published in the journal L’Année sociologique, founded in 1898. This was the dominant school down to the 1930’s.
After World War II empirical research became firmly established in French sociology. Since the 1950’s French sociologists have done important studies of industry and labor (G. Friedmann, P. Naville, A. Touraine, J. D. Reynaud), classes and social strata (C. Durand, M. Crozier, S. Mallet), urbanization (P. H. Chombart de Lauwe, R. Ledrut), rural life (H. Mendras), politics (R. Aron, M. Duverger, J. Meynot, J. Ellul), organizations (M. Crozier), education (P. Bourdieu, J. C. Passeron, V. Isambert-Jamati), and the family (A. Michel, A. Girard). Other fields of research have included mass communications (J. Cazeneuve, E. Morin, G. Friedmann), public opinion (J. Stoetzel), demography (A. Sauvy), social forecasting (J. Fourastié, B. de Jouvenal), art and literature (L. Goldmann, R. Escarpit, P. Francastel, J. Duvignaud), leisure (J. Dumazedier), and the developing countries (G. Balandier, F. Perroux). Bourdieu, Passeron, J. C. Chamboredon, and R. Boudon are noted for their work in sociological methodology.
The most significant trends in bourgeois sociology in the 1950’s and 1960’s were the apologetic concept of the unified industrial society advanced by Aron and Perroux, the idealist microsociology of G. Gurvitch, and the technological determinism of Fourastié. Around 1970, Touraine introduced the concept of the post-industrial society. The “sociopsychoanalysts,” notably G. Mendel, have developed certain of Freud’s ideas. Non-Marxist structural-functional analysis as a general theoretical and methodological trend is exerting a latent influence on empirical research and some theories.
PSYCHOLOGY. French psychological thought has traditionally been influenced not only by philosophy, primarily Cartesianism, but also by psychiatry and neurology, in particular the ideas of P. Pinel and J. Charcot. These influences are already discernible in the work of the late 19th- and early 20th-century psychologist T. Ribot, the first major French representative of psychology as an independent experimental science. P. Janet’s study of personality and behavior was based on pathopsychological material. A. Binet, whose intelligence tests for schoolchildren, the Binet-Simon scale, contributed significantly to modern psychological diagnostics, also began by studying mental disorders and hypnosis. The leading experimental psychologists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were P. Guillaume, B. Bourdon, who focused on sensory processes, and G. Dumas, who studied emotions, thought processes, and voluntary acts. H. Piéron and his followers, among them A. Fessard, did outstanding work in psy-chophysiology, attempting to interpret neuropsychic functions in the broader context of the biological evolution of the organism. The basic works of P. Fraisse are devoted to time perception.
G. Politzer strengthened Marxist ideas in French psychology by propounding a Marxist-based “concrete psychology.” The dialectical materialist theory of the psyche also influenced H. Wallon, a leading child and genetic psychologist of the inter-war period. After World War II, I. Meyerson sought to introduce principles of historicism into psychology. French psychologists are doing important work in medical, social, child, and engineering psychology.
The study of philosophy, sociology, and psychology is promoted by various societies and organizations, among them the philosophy section of the National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), the French Philosophical Society, the Federation of French Philosophical Societies, the Center for Sociological Studies, the National Institute for Demographic Studies, the French Institute of Public Opinion, the Institute of Social Sciences of Labor, and the French Psychological Society.
The leading scholarly journals in these three disciplines are Archives de philosophie (founded 1923), Esprit (1932), Etudes philosophiques (1926), Revue de métaphysique et de morale (1893), Revue philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger (1876), Temps modernes (1945), Analyse et prévision (1966), Annales: Economies, sociétés, civilisations (1929), L’Année sociologique (1898), Archives européennes de sociologie (1960), Revue française de sociologie (1960), L’Année psychologique (1894), and Journal de psychologie normale et pathologique (1904).
T. A. SAKHAROVA (philosophy), A. B. GOFMAN (sociology), and M. G. IAROSHEVSKII (psychology)
HISTORIOGRAPHY. During the early Middle Ages, when France was part of the Frankish state, local annals were kept in nearly every monastery and diocese. The earliest major historical works were universal chronicles, best exemplified by the sixth-century History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours and the seventh-century chronicle of Fredegarius. Semiofficial records such as the Annals of St. Bertin (eighth-ninth centuries) were compiled during the Carolingian age. In the 11th and 12th centuries the chronicles became the leading form of historical narrative. The most famous chronicles of this period were the 11th-century Chronicle of Nantes and the 12th-century chronicles of Orderic Vital and Guibert de Nogent. The royal policy of promoting state centralization was reflected in historical works, which began to justify the need for a strong monarchy. These views were first expressed in a 12th-century biography of King Louis VI by the abbot Suger. The royal codex known as the Grandes Chroniques de France was compiled between the 13th and 15th centuries.
The medieval chronicles shared a feudal-clerical world view and a providentialist outlook on history. When knights and townsmen began writing chronicles in the 13th and 14th centuries, they injected secular elements, as illustrated by the 14th-century Chronicle of J. Froissart. Written during the popular disturbances of the 14th century, the chronicles of Jean de Venette and an anonymous monk at the Abbey of Saint-Denis are imbued with a deep sympathy for the common people. A new kind of historical writing, the memoir, appeared in the 13th century; for such in fact were the chronicles of the Crusaders G. de Villehar-douin and Sieur de Joinville. The 15th-century Memoirs of P. de Comines signal a shift toward humanist historiography, portraying statesmen realistically and attempting to identify historical causes and effects. The narrative serves as a vehicle for Comines’s ruminations on the meaning of history and political wisdom. The main humanist historians of the 16th century were A. La Popelinière and A. de Thou.
During the Reformation and the 16th-century Wars of Religion, a large number of historical works written by Catholics and Calvinists carried a strong political message, among them the Universal History by the Huguenot d’Aubigne and the works of the Calvinists P. Duplessis-Mornay and F. Hotman and the Catholic J. Boucher, directed against tyranny. J. Bodin, who defended the emerging absolute monarchy, set out to discover the laws of history; unlike the humanists, he evolved a theory of progress. Bodin also stressed the influence of the geographic environment on history and attempted to develop scientific methods of studying the past.
In the 16th century J. Scaliger introduced the auxiliary disciplines of metrology and chronology, and in the following century the Maurists J. Mabillon and B. de Montfaucon founded paleography and diplomatics. The first historical sources were published, as well as multivolume works, some of them histories of the French provinces, based on sources. Secular scholars of the 17th century, among them L. G. Bréquigny, E. Baluze, and Sieur Du Cange, also analyzed and published source material. Du Cange laid the foundation for French Byzantine studies.
In the 18th century, the ideological conflict between the bourgeoisie and the reactionary nobility that led to the French Revolution was reflected in historiography in the dispute between the Romanists (J. Dubos) and the Germanists (H. Boulainvilliers) over the origin of France’s social and political system. Under the influence of Enlightenment ideas, 18th-century historians took a rationalist approach to historical questions, rejecting teleological explanations of the historical process. The philosophes sought to broaden the geographic scope of history and to revive universal history (Voltaire being one of the first to transcend the prevailing Europocentrism). Condorcet developed a theory of historical progress, and Montesquieu stressed the influence of the natural and geographic environment on social development. Although he was close to the philosophes, J. J. Rousseau refused to view historical progress as an unmixed blessing, perceiving its internal contradictions in a society composed of antagonistic classes.
The French Revolution had a profound effect on the development of French historical thought and historiography. His personal experience of the revolution prompted A. Barnave to link European political shifts and revolutions in the 16th to 18th centuries to changes in forms of ownership. The Utopian communist G. Babeuf and his followers saw history as a perpetual struggle between oppressors and oppressed, in other words as a class struggle. One of the highest achievements of the first half of the 19th century was the philosophy of history expounded by the Utopian socialist Saint-Simon, who viewed human development as a regular and progressive succession of social systems culminating in the establishment of a society free of exploitation. Although his interpretation of history was an idealist one, Saint-Simon believed that modes of production, forms of property, and the class struggle played an important role in the historical process.
In the first half of the 19th century French historiography was dominated by the romantic school. The reactionary romantic historians J. de Maistre, L. Bonald, Vicomte de Chateaubriand, J. Michaud, and Comte de Montlosier countered Enlightenment ideas with providentialism and a defense of the Middle Ages and Catholicism. The leading historians of this period, however, were liberal bourgeois in outlook. Through the prism of their bourgeois theory of classes and class conflict they studied the Middle Ages (A. Thierry, F. Guizot) and the English (Guizot) and French (F. Mignet, A. Thiers) bourgeois revolutions. In the 1830’s a petit bourgeois democratic current emerged in French romanticism. Its most famous representative, J. Michelet, regarded the common people, not the bourgeoisie, as the main force in French history.
Between the 1830’s and the 1860’s the French Revolution was studied from several distinct positions: petit bourgeois socialism (P. Bûchez, L. Blanc), Utopian communism (E. Cabet, G. Tri-don), and radical democracy (Vicomte G. d’Avenel). The Revolution of 1848 impelled bourgeois historians to reexamine the more radical ideas advanced during the bourgeoisie’s struggle against the nobility. The subsequent development of bourgeois historiography was influenced by the views of A. de Tocqueville, who sought to prove that the French Revolution was unnecessary. The immediate response to the Paris Commune of 1871 was a reactionary reexamination of the French Revolution by H. Taine and his followers.
The positivist approach that prevailed in bourgeois historiography in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had its merits. It affirmed the cognitive possibilities of history as a science and stressed critical methods of source study. The scholarly and class limitations of the positivist historians lay in their hostility to socialism and to revolutionary conceptions of historical development and their adherence to evolutionism and pluralism. Many of them rejected broad syntheses. During this period the teaching of history expanded, and historical scholarship benefited from the founding of new university history departments, historical societies, and journals. G. Monod, who in 1876 founded the first general historical journal, the Revue historique, played a large role in giving a new direction to the study of history.
In the field of ancient history, J. E. Renan won acclaim for his works on early Christianity. Medieval studies flourished, although the positivist historians rejected certain achievements of early 19th-century French historiography, primarily the view of the class struggle as a force in medieval history. Monod, E. Lavisse, A. Giry, A. Luchaire, C. Langlois, and C. Seignobos focused on the history of medieval social institutions, particularly the state and law. N. D. Fustel de Coulanges, who launched the study of early medieval agrarian relations as a specialized field, introduced the concept of continuity from antiquity to the Middle Ages, reflecting his hostility to revolution. His conclusions were questioned by E. Glasson, P. Viollet, and G. Flach, who advocated the commune theory. The foremost scholars in medieval economic history were G. Fagniez, E. Levasseur, and H. See (the last two also studied modern economic history).
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the study of the French Revolution became a specialized field dominated by bourgeois-republican historians such as A. Aulard and P. Sagnac. The revanchist feelings of the ruling classes after France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) stimulated a heightened interest in the history of the Napoleonic wars and the foreign policy of Napoleon I. The Napoleonic era was studied from a nationalist point of view, chiefly by rightist-liberal and conservative historians of the academic school (most were members of the French Academy). The school included A. Sorel, A. Vandal, F. Masson, and L. Madelin. French historians showed a greater interest in the history of other European countries, including Russia (A. Rambaud), Germany (Lavisse), and Great Britain (E. Halévy, P. Mantoux). The emergence of the “critical school” in medieval studies at the turn of the century signaled a crisis in bourgeois historical thought. The historians of this school reexamined the positivist bourgeois-liberal historical concepts of the second half of the 19th century from a reactionary methodological standpoint. The school did not, however, assume a leading place in French historiography, its influence being most apparent in the works of C. Petit-Dutaillis on the history of the medieval state. The positivists, led by Aulard, Sagnac, and G. Pagés, continued to hold sway.
In the 1880’s a Marxist trend emerged in French historiography. Its leading exponent, P. Lafargue, dwelt on theoretical problems of the materialist view of history, criticizing bourgeois historical methods. Lafargue also wrote a number of valuable works describing French society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Socialist historiography, represented by J. Jaurès, G. Renard, P. Louis, and A. Zevaès, came into its own in the early 20th century. Although certainly influenced by Marxism, it was inherently reformist and eclectic, as reflected in the collective Socialist History, some of whose best volumes were written by Jaurès, the work’s organizer and editor.
Marxism gained ground after the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia and the formation of the French Communist Party in 1920. The party’s leaders—M. Thorez, M. Cachin, and J. Duelos—attached great importance to the study of history, and in their own works tried to interpret the revolutionary traditions of the French people. The first generation of professional Marxist historians, among them J. Bruhat, A. Cornu, and A. Soboul, emerged in the 1930’s. The interwar period also saw significant changes in French bourgeois historiography. It became apparent that positivist, predominantly descriptive, historiography was unable to formulate a coherent view of the historical process or to withstand the growing influence of Marxism-Leninism. The growth of the natural sciences also stimulated a reexamination of the cognitive methods of historical scholarship. Schools of thought emerged that tried to modernize bourgeois historiography by taking new directions in historical research. These quests were influenced by the Durkheim school of sociology, by H. Berre’s theory of cultural and historical synthesis, and by the Vidal de la Blache school of geography, which stressed the influence of demographic processes and the natural environment on society.
In the 1930’s the Annales school developed around the journal Annales d’histoire économique et sociale, founded in 1929 by M. Bloch and L. Febvre. (In 1946 the journal was renamed Annales: Economies, sociétés, civilisations.) Taking a critical view of narrative political history but at the same time rejecting historical materialism as a coherent theory of history, the Annales school called for the creation of a “global” history based on the study of economic and social phenomena and “collective psychology.” They held that the study of history must be closely linked to the other “human sciences.” Concurrently, the socialist historian E. Labrousse gave impetus to a new trend in modern socioeconomic history by emphasizing the statistical study of cyclical price and income fluctuations, regarded as the key to explaining the historical process. Paralleling the shift of power that occurred during the French Revolution itself, the Aulard bourgeois-liberal school of Revolutionary studies was supplanted by a radical democratic trend represented by A. Mathiez, who undertook a study of mass movements and the social policy of the Jacobin dictatorship. The progressive Marxist-influenced historian G. Lefebvre, who became the leader of this trend in 1932, studied revolution “from below” by analyzing the role of the popular masses, primarily the peasantry. Labrousse and Lefebvre had a strong influence on French historiography in the postwar period.
In the interwar period many historians were attracted to the study of the origins and history of World War I. Bourgeois historians such as P. Renouvin essentially exonerated French foreign policy. Works on “colonial” history, notably those of A. Mar-tineau and G. Hanotaux, defended the supposedly civilizing mission of French colonialism. The October Revolution of 1917 sparked a renewed interest in the Paris Commune of 1871 on the part of both reactionary historians (G. Laronze) and liberal bourgeois ones (Seignobos). G. Bourgin examined the Commune from a social-reformist position. As before, the workers’ and socialist movement was generally studied by historians whose sympathies were either social-reformist (Zevaès, E. Dolléans) or an-archosyndicalist (P. Louis).
After World War II the spread of world revolution, the development of science and technology, and the increasing influence of Marxism substantially modified bourgeois historiography. Unlike West German and Anglo-Saxon historiography, French scholarship was not particularly susceptible to neo-Kantian ideas, whose only prominent exponent was H. Marrou. Nor was the enthusiasm of such historians as M. Foucault for the structuralism of the ethnologist C. Lévi-Strauss widely reflected in actual historical research. The most influential trend of the 1950’s and 1960’s was the Annales school, whose brilliant exponent and leader until the late 1960’s was F. Braudel. In the postwar period historians began using quantitative methods to deal with sources yielding large series of statistics, a task that has been lightened since the 1960’s by modern computers.
French historians have given much attention to the material life of society. Important works on the socioeconomic, chiefly agrarian, history of the Middle Ages and the early modern period (through the 18th century) have been produced by G. Duby, P. Goubert, P. de Saint-Jacob, and E. Le Roy Ladurie. R. Baehrel has written on the history of “economic conjunctures” and P. Chaunu on the history of trade. Regional and thematic research is being done on the history of modern industry and transport (P. Leon, F. Caron, M. Gillet), banks (J. Bouvier, B. Gille), and the 18th- and 19th-century bourgeoisie (J. Sentoux, A. Daumard, A. Tudesq). Historical demography has evolved into a separate discipline with its own journal, the Annales de la démographie historique. Some of the best work in demography has been done by M. Reinhard and A. Armengaud. A rapidly growing field is the study of sociohistorical psychology (R. Mandrou, M. Vovelle). Historians specializing in international relations are taking greater account of socioeconomic, demographic, and psychological factors (Renouvin, J. B. Duro-selle). There is more interest in the history of Russia and the Slavic countries (R. Portal), Germany (J. Droz), and the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (H. Deschamps). Such historians as Braudel and J. Le Goff have produced broad syntheses encompassing large regions or the entire world.
Many works by French scholars contain valuable material, and their conclusions, albeit sometimes very interesting, are no substitute for a coherent monistic theory of history. Rejecting historical materialism, French bourgeois historians cling either to some form of economic materialism (geographism, technicism) or, as is more often the case, to a concept similar to the positivist theory of factors. While acknowledging the great importance of material conditions in history, bourgeois historiography focuses on technology, trade, and the natural environment, often ignoring the most important qualitative aspect of economic life: production relations and historically determined forms of property. Postwar bourgeois historiography, particularly the Annales school, typically underestimates the role of political upheavals, primarily revolutions, in historical development. Works dealing with social structures and mass movements in the Middle Ages and modern times are often pointedly directed against the Marxist concept of classes and class conflict. This attitude pervades the works of R. Mousnier, M. Mollat, P. Wolff, and Le Roy Ladurie. The Marxist-Leninist view of the French Revolution has been attacked by F. Furet and D. Richet. Some economic historians, notably J. Marczewski and J. Toutain, aim to create a purely quantitative economic history that completely ignores the class aspects of economic development. Simultaneously, however, professional historians are increasingly turning to the history of the working class and the workers’ movement in the 19th and 20th centuries. Noteworthy studies have been published by J. Maitron, M. Agulhon, R. Trempé, and M. Perrot. Contributors to the journal Le Mouvement social belong to various, mostly leftist, trends. Some bourgeois historians who write about the workers’ movement, notably A. Kriegel, are hostile to Marxism-Leninism.
As early as 1944–45 the Committee on the History of World War II was founded, and since then many works have been devoted to the war and the Resistance movement (H. Michel). Introduced before the war by A. Siegfried, “politology” has been developed by F. Goguel, M. Duverger, and R. Rémond, who study the history and typology of political parties and state institutions, as well as the history of elections. In the field of colonial history bourgeois historians generally adhere to neocolonialist views (H. Brunschwig, H. Deschamps), although the left socialist C.-A. Julien has dealt with the subject from a democratic standpoint.
In the postwar years the Marxist trend has grown markedly stronger. A number of French Marxist historians are widely respected both at home and abroad: C. Parain, noted for his work on the agrarian history of the Middle Ages and the early modern period; P. Vilar, who has written on the socioeconomic history of Spain; Soboul, known for his work on the French Revolution; and Duelos, Bruhat, C. Willard, J. Dautry, E. Tersen, and M. Choury, who have devoted themselves to the revolutionary, workers’, and socialist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. Marxists are giving much attention to contemporary history. A collective history of the French Communist Party (PCF) has been published under the direction of Duelos and F. Billoux, as well as works on the Popular Front (C. Willard, J. Chambaz) and the Resistance (A. Guérin). Marxist historians are also studying the history of the peoples of the former French colonies in Central and West Africa (J. Suret-Canale) and Madagascar (P. Boiteau). On the initiative of the PCF, the Center for Marxist Studies was organized in 1959, and five years later the Maurice Thorez Institute was founded under the PCF Central Committee.
The principal historical journals are the Revue historique (founded 1876), Revue de synthèse (1900), Revue d’histoire économique et sociale (1908), Annales: Economies, sociétés, civilisations (1929), and Cahiers d’histoire de l’Institut Maurice Thorez (1966).
A. D. LIUBLINSKAIA (to 1789) and A. V. ADO (since 1789)
ECONOMICS. In France the study of economics as an independent discipline began in the 17th century. The most prominent French mercantilist was A. de Montchrétien, who coined the term “political economy.” P. Boisguillebert, the founder of French classical bourgeois political economy, was also one of the originators of the labor theory of value. His ideas were further developed by the Physiocrats F. Quesnay and A. Turgot. The men of the Enlightenment criticized feudal production relations. From the second half of the 18th century Utopian socialist theories were expounded, first by Morelly and G. de Mably and later by G. Babeuf, E. Cabet, Comte de Saint-Simon, and C. Fourier, all of whom had a significant influence on the development of Marxist thought.
In the first half of the 19th century vulgar political economy was founded by J. B. Say, who advanced the theory of three production factors. Say’s view that crises of overproduction were impossible had a strong influence on the bourgeois theory of reproduction. F. Bastiat also drew on vulgar political economy in developing his theory of the harmony of interests. Say and Bastiat paved the way for the theories of liberalism that were widely accepted in French economics down to the middle of the 20th century.
The petit bourgeois socialists of the first half of the 19th century, notably P. J. Proudhon, regarded the industrial revolution as the source of all conflicts in capitalist society, but they upheld the principle of private ownership of the means of production. They questioned the conclusion, arrived at by A. Smith and D. Ricardo, that capitalism was entirely progressive, pointing out its contradictions. Their views laid the foundation for petit bourgeois political economy. In the 1860’s marginalism was introduced by A. Cournot. Marx’ economic theories, spreading to France in the 1870’s and 1880’s, were popularized by P. Lafargue and J. Guesde.
In the first half of the 20th century French economists achieved significant results in developing a theory of state finances. A. Aftalion’s principle of acceleration was widely accepted by bourgeois economists. In the early 20th century C. Gide expounded the theory of cooperative socialism, which V. I. Lenin showed to be Utopian.
After World War II, Marxist political economy gained ground. The Marxist economists M. Thorez, W. Rochet, J. Duelos, G. Marchais, P. Boceara, H. Claude, and P. Herzog analyzed the structure and growth trends of the French economy and the general crisis of capitalism. Of particular importance for the development of Marxist economic thought was the international theoretical conference on state-monopoly capitalism organized by the Central Committee of the French Communist Party (PCF) and held in Choisy-le-Roi in 1966. The two-volume work State-Monopoly Capitalism: Essays in Marxist Political Economy, prepared by the PCF Central Committee, was published in 1971. The joint leftist governing program adopted in 1972 by the PCF and the Socialist Party was an important step toward solving the economic and social problems confronting France.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s socialist successes and the growing instability of capitalism gave rise to three logically related apologias in French economics: the theory of planned capitalism (P. Bauchet, F. Perroux); the theory of the industrial society, whose various forms include R. Aron’s two types of industrial society, J. Fourastié’s affluent society, and J. Ellul’s technological society; and the theory of convergence (M. Duverger, J. Moch).
Postwar bourgeois economic thought has been perceptibly influenced by Keynesianism and the neoclassical trend, both schools having largely been developed by British, American, and German bourgeois economists. Another major trend, the sociological school represented by Perroux, F. Bloch-Lainé, C. Gru-son, J. Lecaillon, A. Marchai, and P. Massé, has taken a macroe-conomic approach to economic phenomena that does not overlook social processes. In the 1940’s and 1950’s this approach was clearly reflected in the theory and practice of government regulation and programming, particularly in the development of a government accounting system recognized as the best in the capitalist world. In the 1960’s the so-called new French school, whose leading theoreticians were S. C. Kolm, E. Malinvaud, T. de Montbri-al, and L. Stoleru, emerged as a counterweight to the sociological trend. It drew on neoclassical concepts and on the monetary credit and exchange theories that J. Rueff and M. Allais had derived from neoclassical ideas between the 1920’s and 1950’s. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s neoclassical concepts were used to justify the substitution of market and private monopoly regulation for certain direct forms of government regulation. The neo-classicists shaped the French economic policy of “industrial imperative,” whereby priority is given to state support of the leading monopolies. Since the mid-1970’s, however, as the signs of crisis have become more apparent, the neoclassical influence has somewhat waned. In an effort to overcome sectorial and regional imbalances in the economy and to make the economy more efficient, the French ruling circles have begun revising their economic policy in favor of limited socioeconomic changes. International economic problems have been studied by G. Marcy, M. Byé, and G. de Lacharrière.
Among the leading research institutions are the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (founded 1946), the National Institute of Demographic Research (1945), the National Institute of Agronomic Research (1946), the Institute of Applied Economics (1944), the Center for the Study of Socioeconomic Problems (1961), and the Society for the Study of Economic and Social Development (1958). Research is also conducted by university economics departments, schools of economics, the research departments of banks, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance.
The major economics journals are the Revue d’économie politique (founded 1887), Revue économique (1950), Les Collections de l’INSEE (1969), Economie et statistique (1969), Statistiques et études financières (1949), L’Expansion (1967), and Le Nouvel Economiste (1975).
Articles on economic problems are also published in the theoretical journals of the French Communist Party: Cahiers du communisme (founded 1924) and Economie et politique (1954).
V. IU. PRESNIAKOV
GEOGRAPHY. The publication of the collaborative multivolume World Geography (1875–94) under the direction of E. Reclus gave rise to a tradition of picturesque descriptions of the world emphasizing its inhabitants. Area studies became the core, as it were, of geography, which developed chiefly as an academic science. The late 19th century saw the emergence of the French school of “human geography,” whose founder, P. Vidal de la Blache, achieved recognition for his integrated descriptions of the French pays. In the 1930’s and 1940’s the members of this school, among them J. Brunhes, A. Demangeon, and R. Blanchard, produced a new multivolume World Geography that included comprehensive regional descriptions of all countries.
A characteristic feature of the human geography school was its espousal of the theoretical principles of geographic possibilism and historicism. Although its historicism inspired a deeper interest in social issues, the school lacked the requisite understanding of the importance of society’s class structure and the leading role of production. Despite the appearance of specialized studies in physical geography (E. de Martonne, H. Baulig, J. Dresch), the emphasis continued to be on area studies, which focused on North America, the Mediterranean, and North Africa. M. Sorre, a leading representative of traditional human geography, produced the impressive three-volume Fundamentals of Human Geography (1947–52), which thoroughly analyzed the natural, sociotechnological, and medical-biological factors in the human environment.
Since the 1950’s the influence of the human geography school has waned in the face of growing specialization. Population geography, now a separate discipline, is becoming highly demographic (J. Beaujeu-Garnier, G. Veyret-Verner). Geographers are making extensive use of quantitative methods and economic indicators. Territorial economic planning has stimulated the production of regional atlases and a number of works on “gravitation regions” (J. Labasse) and on the growth of urban networks (J. Coppolani). Indeed, urbanism is fast becoming the most absorbing topic in French geography (G. Chabot, J. Bastié, M. Rochefort), and in a number of cases urban problems are being treated from a Marxist or quasi-Marxist point of view (P. George, I. Lacoste). The number of studies in various branches of economic geography is also growing. The progressive effort to develop the applied aspects of geography, theoretically defended by M. Philipponneau, has given geography a definite place in various specialized research centers, particularly those devoted to urban studies, regional planning, and tourism.
While continuing to regard geography as a unified discipline, a view supported by the traditional emphasis on regional studies, French geographers see themselves as “specialists in systems,” an expression introduced in 1974 by Beaujeu-Garnier. Greater attention is being given to theoretical problems and the development of systematic approaches. Under the direction of P. George, French geographers have recently completed the 36-volume Geography and Its Problems (Magellan series), describing the economic geography of each country and discussing the various branches of geography.
French geographers have exerted a considerable influence on the development of the science in Africa and Latin America (A. Bernard, J. Dresch, M. Le Lannou, P. Monbeig), in Canada (R. Blanchard), and in Italy.
The main learned societies are the Association of Geographers of France, affiliated with the Geography Institute of the University of Paris, and the Geographic Society, which publishes Actageographica (1947) and the Annales de géographie (1891), since 1942 the official bulletin of the Paris Geographic Society. A number of regional geographic journals are also published.
V. V. POKSHISHEVSKII
JURISPRUDENCE. The science of law has traditionally occupied an important place in French culture and social science. Its origins date back to the 13th century, when three trends emerged in legal studies: (1) the systematization and interpretation of common law (for example, P. de Beaumanoir’s Les Coutumes du Beauvaisis), (2) the academic study of Roman law in the manner of the glossators and postglossators, and (3) the development and systematization of canon law. Between the 14th and 16th centuries many jurists, among them G. Bouillet, C. Dumoulin, and A. Loisel, wrote on common law. The most famous work on common law was F. Bourjon’s French Common Law and the Customs of Paris, Expounded as Principles, published in 1747. The humanist, or French, school that emerged in the 16th century aimed to restore Roman law to its pure form by expunging later accretions. The most prominent representatives of this school were J. Cujas (1522–90) and H. Doneau (1527–91). A gradual merging of the study of common law and Roman law between the 14th and 16th centuries did not erase the distinction between the legists, authorities on secular Roman law who generally supported the crown, and the decretists, experts in canon law. The most famous legist was J. Bodin, who introduced the important concept of sovereignty into state law.
In the 17th century the teaching of French law was introduced into the law schools of all French universities, and the title “Professor of French law” was created. Among the most eminent of the early professors of French law was R. Pothier, whose Course on the Law of Obligations (1761–64) was used in drawing up the Napoleonic Code in the early 19th century.
The 18th-century philosophes, notably Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot, Rousseau, Helvétius, and Holbach, played a progressive role in the development of French legal thought. By giving concrete form to the basic premises of their social philosophy—the idea of the inalienable rights of man and the citizen and the antiabsolutist demand that rule of law replace rule of man—the philosophes developed a number of the most important democratic principles of state organization, lawmaking, justice, and legal responsibility, principles which were incorporated into the legislation of the French Revolution. Engels maintained that the ideas of the French Enlightenment provided the text for the Declaration of the Rights of Man (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 22, p. 311). Many leaders of the French Revolution were known for their legal writings; J. P. Marat, for example, wrote the Plan for Criminal Legislation (1780) and J. P. Brissot, the Theory of Criminal Laws (1781).
In the first half of the 19th century positivism became firmly entrenched in French jurisprudence, engendering the exegesis school, whose members for the most part wrote commentaries on the Civil Code of 1804. The same approach prevailed in university law faculties. The school’s most prominent representatives, called the great commentators, were A. Duranton, author of the 22-volume Course on French Law According to the Civil Code (1834–42), C. Aubry and C. Rau, coauthors of the eight-volume Course on French Civil Law (1869–78), C. Démolombe, author of the 31-volume Course on the Napoleonic Code (1845–82), and V. Marcadé, author of the 12-volume Theoretical and Practical Explanation of the Napoleonic Code (1866–67). Positivist principles also held sway in criminal law and in administrative and state law. Bourgeois liberalism found expression in the “juridical school” of positivist state law, whose leading exponents were L. Michoud, G. Jèze, A. Esmein, and R. Carré de Malberg. In the late 19th century the influence of the exegesis school declined, although many works deemed classics in the 20th century, for example, the civil law texts of M. Planiol, G. Ripert, Colin-Capitant, and Julliot de La Morandière, were written in the exegesis tradition.
The new direction taken by jurisprudence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries mirrored the adaptation of bourgeois law first to monopoly capitalism and then to state-monopoly capitalism, an adjustment requiring the modification of a number of legal institutions and principles. The characteristically positivist cult of law was supplanted by a demand for free judicial discretion. The new outlook was championed by F. Geny, J. Cruet, R. Saleilles, and the other members of the school of “free law.” The works of L. Duguit and M. Hauriou, as well as those of G. Morin and R. Savatier on civil law, reflect a sociological orientation in French jurisprudence.
Comparative jurisprudence developed earlier in France than in the other bourgeois countries; the Society of Comparative Legislation was founded in 1869. The leading authorities on comparative jurisprudence were Saleilles and E. Lambert in the first half of the 20th century and R. David from the 1940’s through the 1960’s.
Since World War II, French jurisprudence has been even more influenced by sociology and political science. The new political science developed by M. Duverger, G. Burdeau, and M. Hauriou—a blend of sociology and constitutional law—has given jurisprudence a “politological” character. An analogous process is affecting such disciplines as international public law and international relations (D. Colard). The growing working-class struggle for social rights has stimulated the study of labor law; outstanding work in this field has been done by G. Lyon-Caen, G. Camerlynck, and A. David. Administrative law, another expanding field, has been studied by M. Waline, G. Vedel, J. Rivero, P. Lavigne and G. Braibant. In criminal law, whose leading authorities are J. Pinatel and P. Bouzat, more attention is being given to criminology. The concept of new social defense (seeSOCIAL DEFENSE, THEORY OF) has been developed by M. Ancel. Recent writing on the general theory of law and the philosophy of law, strongly influenced by neo-Thomism, is negligible. The sociology of law has been studied by G. Gurvitch, L. Lévy-Bruhl, and J. Carbonnier.
Socialist politicolegal thought, developing for the most part outside the framework of official jurisprudence, derives from the doctrines of the 18th-century Utopian socialists J. Meslier, G. de Mably, Morelly, G. Babeuf, and Saint-Simon. Marxist views on the state and law were disseminated by J. Guesde and P. La-fargue. Two noteworthy works appeared in the 1970’s: Revolution and the Future of Law (1974) by M. Veil and R. Veil and Institutions and Power in France: The Institutional Reflection of State-Monopoly Capitalism (1975) by A. Demichel, F. Demichel, and M. Piquemal. Much of the juridical research in France is done in the universities.
A major law journal is the progressive Revue de droit contemporain (founded 1954), published by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Other important journals are the Revue internationale de droit comparé (1869), Revue historique de droit français et étranger (1855), Revue trimestrielle de droit civil (1902), Journal du droit international (1874), Revuegénérale de droit international public (1894), Revue de science criminelle et de droit pénal comparé (1936), Revue du droit public et de la science politique en France et à l’étranger (1894), Revue française de science politique (1951), Archives de philosophie du droit (1957), and Droit social (1938).
V. A. TUMANOV
LINGUISTICS. In the Middle Ages questions of language were discussed in the course of philosophical polemics about the nature of names (seeNOMINALISM), and Latin handbooks were published. The study of French, which was becoming the national language, as well as other languages, gave rise to linguistics as a science in the 16th century. The first bilingual dictionaries and foreign grammars were written in this period, and in 1599, J. Scaliger attempted the first classification of languages. In 1532, R. Estienne published his two-volume Latin Dictionary. The earliest French grammars were those of J. Dubois, written in Latin (1531), and L. Meigret, written in French (1550). Orthographic problems were vigorously debated. Two aspects of language study emerged: the normative, found in Meigret’s works, where the concept of norm was first introduced; and the comparative, expressed in H. Estienne’s grammars comparing French to Greek and Latin.
In the 17th and 18th centuries linguistics developed in conjunction with the study of the French language, the description and standardization of which was an important national goal. Two approaches to language were developed: the normative and the logical-philosophical. The normative approach was taken by the grammarians C. F. Vaugelas and D. Bouhours, who adopted as the literary norm the language of the educated (courtly) circles. The logical-philosophical approach was embodied in the Port-Royal grammar (seePORT-ROYAL GRAMMAR), which made reason the criterion of correctness for linguistic norms. The first attempt to create a universal typological grammar based on logic, the Port-Royal grammar marked the beginning of general linguistics and influenced the 18th-century French grammarians N. Beauzée, C. Dumarsais, and E. de Condillac, who did important work on the syntax of complex sentences. Notable achievements in un-ilingual lexicography were the explanatory dictionaries of J. Nicot (1606) and A. Furetière (1690) and the first edition of the Academy dictionary (1694), all of which helped to standardize the language. In the 17th century scholars such as G. Ménage became interested in etymology and the history of the French language, and the classical languages were studied more thoroughly, as evidenced by the publication in 1678 of Sieur Du Cange’s three-volume Dictionary of Medieval Latin. In the 18th century J. J. Rousseau and D. Diderot dealt with philosophical questions concerning the origin of language.
In the early 19th century French scholars began to study Sanskrit, ancient Egyptian, and Arabic. F. Raynouard’s works, published from 1816 on, laid the foundation for the comparative study of the Romance languages. In the second half of the 19th century G. Paris and P. Meyer studied Old French and published old texts. F. Godefroy compiled an Old French dictionary, and E. Littré and A. Darmesteter published Old French grammars in 1863 and 1888, respectively.
The late 19th century and the first half of the 20th were characterized by the growth of comparative-historical linguistics, an interest in general linguistic problems, and the study of modern French. Various fields of general and French linguistics developed: semantics (M. Bréal), phonetics (J. P. Rousselot, P. Passy, M. Grammont), grammar (J. Damourette, E. Pichón), dialectology (J. Gilliéron), the history of language (E. Bourciez, L. Foulet, F. Brunot), the study of popular speech (L. Sainéan), and stylistics (J. Marouzeau). French dictionaries were compiled by E. Littré, P. Larousse, and Darmesteter. Working in Paris, F. de Saussure and A. Meillet played a leading role in the development of comparative-historical linguistics. The scope of language study broadened to include not only Latin and ancient Greek (A. Ernout, M. Lejeune, P. Chantraine), but also the Celtic (J. Loth), Iranian (E. Benveniste), Slavic (A. Mazon, A. Vaillant), Finno-Ugric (A. Sauvajeot), Caucasian (G. Dumézil), Semitic, and African languages. Important works on general linguistics were produced by Meillet, J. Vendryes, and H. Delacroix.
The Paris sociological school founded by Meillet and Vendryes, which stressed the social nature of linguistic phenomena, played a major role in the development of French and world linguistics. Also influential were Gilliéron’s school of linguistic geography and the linguists of the Geneva school, who developed some of Saussure’s ideas using French as a basis. Brunot’s analysis of linguistic facts, from meanings to means of expression, and G. Guillaume’s psychosystematics, which dealt with the evolution of grammatical forms and their use in speech, were important advances in French linguistic thought.
Various philosophical trends have influenced the development of linguistics in France: Cartesianism in the 17th and 18th centuries, sensationalism in the 18th century, positivism in the 19th century, and the sociology of E. Durkheim in the first half of the 20th century. In the late 19th and the 20th centuries a number of scholars, notably P. Lafargue and M. Cohen, drew on Marxist methodology.
Since the 1950’s significant work has been done on the French language and its dialects, the range of languages studied has broadened, and linguists have given much attention to the sociological and general philosophical aspects of language. There is considerable diversity in methodology. The cultural-sociological school, represented by Benveniste, G. Gougenheim, Cohen, and G. Matoré, relates the facts of language to civilization and national history. The other leading schools are the functional (A. Martinet), the structural-semantic (P. Pottier, A. J. Grei-mas), the logical (C. Serrus, O. Ducrot), the structural, using distributive or transformational methods (L. Tesnière, J. Dubois, N. Ruwet), and the statistical (P. Guiraud, C. Muller). Linguistic questions are often linked to semiotics, sociology, the history of civilization, literary criticism (textual theory), and psychology. Such fields of applied linguistics as lexicography, audiovisual pedagogy, and experimental phonetics are flourishing.
Linguistic research is being conducted at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, at universities, at phonetics centers in Paris, Strasbourg, Grenoble, and Aix, and at lexicographic centers in Besançon and Nancy, which use automatic textual processing equipment. The foremost learned society is the Paris Society of Linguistics, founded in 1864.
The principal linguistic periodicals are the Bulletin de la Société de linguistique de Paris (founded 1869), Revue des langues romanes (1870), Romania (1872), Revue de linguistique romane (1925), Le Français moderne (1933), Le Français dans le monde (1961), Etudes de linguistique appliquée (1962), La Linguistique (1965), Langages (1966), and Langue française (1969).
V. G. GAK
Scientific institutions. In 1958 the French government created several science policy-making bodies: the Interministerial Committee for Scientific and Technological Research, the Consultative Committee for Scientific and Technological Research, and the General Delegation for Scientific and Technological Research. The Ministry of Industrial and Scientific Development, created in 1969, and reorganized as the Ministry of Industry and Research in 1974, was charged with promoting applied research and development.
Scientific research organizations are divided into four groups: university, state, private, and nonprofit. Research potential is concentrated in and around Paris, where about 61 percent of the country’s research personnel and two-thirds of its scientific institutions are located. In the early 1970’s the universities and higher schools accounted for 17 percent of all research and development, state institutions for 27 percent, the private sector for 55 percent, and nonprofit organizations for 1 percent.
Most of the basic research is carried out in universities and higher schools. The Ministry of Education has jurisdiction over the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, more than 700 university teaching and research subdivisions, and such “great institutions” as the Collège de France, the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Paris Observatory, the Museum of Natural History, and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. The approximately 120 grandes écoles are under the authority of various ministries. The most famous of these schools are the Ecole Polytechnique, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines, the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.
Several specialized national research institutes were created by the government after World War II, among them the National Center for Space Research, the Atomic Energy Commissariat, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and the National Institute of Agricultural Research. Two more were established in the late 1960’s, the National Center for Océanographic Research and the Delegation for Information Science. In addition to conducting theoretical and applied research, these institutions coordinate research in their respective fields and advise the government on scientific policy.
Military research is highly centralized. The bulk of it is done by universities and state and private institutions on contract from the armed forces.
Applied research is also carried out by such state institutions as the state aeronautics company Nord Aviation, the National Company for the Study and Production of Aircraft Engines, and the National Office for Aerospace Studies and Research and by the nationalized companies Electricité de France, Charbonnages de France, and Gaz de France.
Comparatively few of the major private firms conduct applied research on the grand scale of the Saint-Gobain monopoly (chemicals, atomic energy, glass) and the France-Atome industrial atomic energy concern. The Houston Company, the Company for the Production of Electrical Materials, and the Merlin Gerin Company are engaged in electronics research, and the Creusot and Schneider companies are working on industrial applications of atomic research. The growing interest in basic research shown by large private firms is evidenced by the founding of the Center for Oil and Coal Research and the basic research laboratory of the Thomson Company. Approximately 90 professional associations, subsidized by firms in their respective industries, are also engaged in research. Small and medium-sized firms, which account for about half of the private-sector research in France, operate within the framework of the National Association for Technological Research, founded in 1953.
The nonprofit research sector is made up of state foundations, including the Foundation for Research in Science and Technology, the Foundation for Economic and Social Development, and the Foundation for Assistance and Cooperation; private foundations, the largest of which is the Solidarity Foundation; several medical institutions, notably the Claude Bernard Association, the Gustave Roussy Institute, the Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, and the Pasteur Institute; the Institut de France; and various learned societies.
Between 1958 and 1966 allocations for research increased at an unprecedented rate, averaging 22 percent annually. Expenditures for scientific and technological research rose from 0.97 percent of the gross national product in 1958 to 2 percent in 1965, peaking at 2.23 percent in 1967. After 1968 a relative reduction in spending for science caused this indicator to decline steadily to 1.68 percent in 1973. The average increase in allocations for science from 1959 to 1973 was 14 percent.
In 1973 the nation spent 19.18 billion francs for research and development, of which the state contributed 12.33 billion. The state typically allocates enormous sums for research, although in the early 1970’s its share steadily declined, dropping from 68 percent in 1968 to 64 percent in 1973. Of the total amount allocated for research and development in 1973, the private sector absorbed 56 percent and the government and higher educational institutions about 42 percent. A breakdown by type of research shows that 17.3 percent of the total expenditures went for basic research, 33.9 percent for applied research, and 48.8 percent for development.
In 1973, some 87,000 researchers and engineers were employed in the state and private sectors (67,000 if calculated in terms of full workdays). In the early 1970’s the equivalent of about 190,000 full-time employees were engaged in scientific research and development, 27.5 percent of whom were scientists and engineers, 39.6 percent technicians, and 32.9 percent other personnel. In the early 1970’s scientific research personnel were distributed as follows among the research sectors: 22 percent worked in higher educational institutions, 32 percent in the state sector, and 46 percent in private industry and nonprofit organizations. Scientific workers in the state sector devote about 70 percent of their working time to research and 17 percent to teaching. In higher educational institutions research occupies about 30 percent of the working time, teaching about 46 percent.
G. I. LIUBINA
REFERENCESStarosel’skaia-Nikitina, O. A. Ocherkipot istorii nauki i tekhniki perioda Frantsuzskoi burzhuaznoi revoliutsii, 1789–1794. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Iz istorii frantsuzskoi nauki: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1960.
Kuznetsov, B. G., and I. B. Pogrebysskii. Frantsuzskaia nauka i sovremennaia fizika. Moscow, 1967.
Ileczko, B. Nauchnye issledovaniia vo Frantsii. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from Polish.)
Aleksandrovskaia, O. A. Frantsuzskaia geograficheskaia shkola kontsa XIX-nachala XX veka. Moscow, 1972.
Meynier, A. Histoire de la penseé géographique en France (1872–1969). Paris, 1969.
La Politique scientifique et l’organisation de la recherche en France. Paris, 1971.
Rousseau, P. Survol de la science française contemporaine. Paris, 1974.
Histoire générale des sciences, vols. 1–2. Edited by R. Taton. Paris, 1957–58.
Druesne, G. Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique. Paris, 1975.
Kon, I. S. Pozitivizm v sotsiologii. Leningrad, 1964.
Kuznetsov, V. N. Frantsuzskaia burzhuaznaia filosofiia XX v. Moscow, 1970.
Sève, L. Sovremennaia frantsuzskaia filosofiia. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from French.)
La sociologie au XX siècle, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1947.
Duvignaud, J. Anthologie des sociologues français contemporains. Paris, 1970.
Vainshtein, O. L. Zapadnoevropeiskaia srednevekovaia istoriografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Istoriografiia novogo vremeni stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1967.
Istoriografiia novoi i noveishei istorii stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1968.
Alpatov, M. A. Politicheskie idei frantsuzskoi burzhuaznoi istoriografii XIX v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Larat, P. Les Historiens du XIX siècle. Paris, 1946.
Comité française des sciences historiques: Vingt-cinq ans de recherche historique en France (1940–1965), vols. 1–2. Paris, 1965.
Kukenheim, L. Esquisse historique de la linguistique française et de ses rapports avec la linguistique générale. Paris, 1966.
Pokrovskii, A. I. Frantsuzskaia burzhuaznaia politicheskaia ekonomiia: Obnovlenie ili krizis? Moscow, 1961.
Evoliutsiia form organizatsii nauki v razvitykh kapitalisticheskikh stranakh. Moscow, 1972.
Guide to World Science, vol. 3: France. London, 1968.
Barre, R. Economie politique, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1969–70.
In 1980, France had 14,000 newspapers and other periodicals with a total circulation of approximately 11 million, including 86 daily newspapers. Thirteen daily newspapers with a total circulation of about 5 million are published in Paris. Most newspapers are owned by such large press groups as the Hachette Group and the monopolistic Hersant Group or are controlled by industrial monopolies.
The most influential daily newspapers published in Paris are France-Soir, a bourgeois newspaper controlled by the R. Hersant press group (since 1941; circulation, 686,300), Le Parisien libéré, a rightist tabloid published by the Amaury Group (since 1944; circulation, 470,500), Le Figaro, a rightist conservative newspaper that was acquired by the Hersant Group in 1975 (since 1826; circulation, 406,200), L’Aurore, controlled by the M. Boussac textile group (since 1944; circulation, 349,100), and Le Monde, France’s most informative and influential bourgeois newspaper (since 1944; circulation, 550,000).
Other major daily newspapers published in Paris are La Croix (since 1880; circulation, 27,600), Les Echos, which reflects the views of economic and financial circles (since 1908; circulation, 66,000), Le Quotidien de Paris (since 1974; circulation, 30,000), Le Matin (since 1977; circulation, 150,000), and Libération (since 1973; circulation, 50,800). The largest bourgeois centrist provincial newspaper is Ouest-France, published in Rennes (since 1944; circulation, 35,700).
The French Communist Party publishes the daily newspaper L’Humanité, since 1920 the party’s official organ (since 1904; circulation, 200,000). The party also publishes the weeklies L’Humanité-Dimanche, the Sunday edition of L’Humanité (since 1948; circulation, 450,000), Révolution (since March 1980, instead of France Nouvelle; circulation, 150,000).
Until 1975, French radio and television were under the management of the Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF), a state-run company founded in 1939. In 1975, ORTF was replaced by several state-owned companies. Radio France comprises France-Inter, France Culture, and France Musique, each with its own program. There are three independent television companies, the Société Nationale de Télévision-Télévision Française I (TFI), the Société Nationale de Télévision en Couleur-Antenne 2 (A2), and the Société Nationale de Télévision-France Régions 3 (FR3), each with its own channel. In 1977, radio programs were broadcast abroad in five languages.
On the territory of what is now France, several literatures coexisted, often in mutual contact. The earliest was that of the Celts, or Gauls, whose songs and legends have not been preserved. Breton literature was a development of Celtic literature; Provençal literature flourished in the south beginning in the tenth century. Catalan literature developed in the province of Roussil-lon but did not extend beyond its regional borders. Until the 18th century there was also a considerable body of literature written in Latin.
Medieval folkloric literature originated in France toward the ninth century in the form of work songs, wedding songs, tales, and legends; these works were later reworked and written down. The earliest written examples of French literature date from the second half of the ninth century and include religious poems influenced by Latin literature, such as the Cantilène de Sainte Eulalie. In the tenth and 11th centuries the earliest epic poems appeared in a martial milieu. These were the chansons de geste, composed by jongleurs who were familiar with Latin literature and folklore. The chansons de geste dealt with national historical events of the eighth to tenth centuries, such as internecine feudal wars and the wars of Charlemagne and his descendants with the heathen; these events were interpreted in the spirit of their time. The chansons de geste, which celebrated heroic martial exploits, soon developed into cycles. The Chanson de Roland recounted the deeds of Charlemagne and his companions. In the Chanson de Guillaume, about Guillaume d’Orange, a brave and faithful vassal opposed the weak and perfidious king. The work contained comic elements, placed increased emphasis on exotic motifs and fantasy, and included the theme of love. A third cycle, Girart de Roussillon, dealt with internecine feudal wars and presented vivid portrayals of rebel barons.
The chansons de geste were written down from the late 11th century through the 13th century, a period when courtly literature was flourishing and urban literature was emerging. Other works written at this time included lives of the saints, dramas composed in Latin, learned poetry and prose by Alain de Lille, Guibert de Nogent, and Pierre Abélard, and satirical poetry written by goliards, or wandering students. This period was also marked by the development of education, by an interest in the Greek and Roman classics, by serious philosophical inquiry, and by the establishment of the main genres of medieval French literature. The poetry of Gace Brulé (died after 1212) and Thibaut de Champagne (1201–53) sensitively and powerfully depicted the inner life of men of the epoch.
The formation and development of the character of men and women were the central themes of the chivalric romance, a genre that emerged around the mid-12th century. The first romances were reworkings of ancient Greek and Roman historical legends and epics; examples were the Roman d’Alexandre, Roman de Thèbes, Roman d’Enéas and Roman de Troie, all written by Benoît de Sainte-More between 1140 and 1165. They are historically inaccurate, the heroes and milieus are typically feudal, and attention is focused mainly on martial feats and amorous episodes. The earliest verse renderings of the Arthurian legends were those by Wace (c. 1100 to after 1174), but the creator of the versified chivalric romances of the Breton cycle was Chrétien de Troyes (c. 1130–c. 1191), the author of Erec et Enide, Yvain, and Perceval. Works of the last third of the 12th century included versions of the legend about Tristan and Yseult by Béroul and Thomas and romances about the self-sacrificing love of a young hero and heroine who triumph over all obstacles; examples were Floire et Blancheflore and Aucassin et Nicolette. Jean Renart’s works (early 13th century), including L’Escoufle and Guillaume de Dole, depicted everyday life.
In the 13th century the compilation of complex cycles of tales and romances led to the writing of lengthy prose renderings of the Arthurian legends and to a series of prose romances based on Byzantine works; an example was the Roman de Cassiodore. The most important examples of the courtly poem, or lay, were those by Marie de France (late 12th century). Courtly ideals were expressed allegorically in the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, which was completed around 1270 by Jean de Meun.
The 12th century witnessed the emergence of French historiography, whose earliest representatives were G. de Villehardouin (c. 1150–c. 1213), J. de Joinville (c. 1224–1317), and J. Froissart (c. 1337–after 1404). An outstanding pre-Renaissance historian was P. de Commines (1447–1511). In the 12th century the theater became independent from liturgical drama. The first plays, called miracle plays, dealt mainly with religious themes but also sought to reflect actual life in a realistic manner. Adam de la Halle (c. 1240–c. 1286) founded the comic theater; his followers of the 14th and 15th centuries wrote the first allegorical comedies, known as soties (satires) and farces. Religious and ethical problems were dealt with by the morality plays and mystery plays of the 15th century.
The satirical trend in French literature was represented by versified tales called fabliaux, which emerged in the late 12th century, and by the animal epic Le Roman de Renart (mid-12th-mid-13th century), which combined an allegorical depiction of feudal life with moralization. The tragic aspects of human life and the anxieties of humble urban dwellers were depicted by Rute-beuf (c. 1230–85) in his satirical verse and his fabliau Miracle de Théophile.
The 14th and 15th centuries constituted a period of transition in French literature. Poetry made wider use of the devices of the courtly lyric, but at the same time there was a search for new poetic forms. Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300–77), Eustache Deschamps (c. 1346–c. 1407), Christine de Pisan (1363–c. 1431), Alain Chartier (1385–c. 1434), and Charles d’Orléans (1394–1465) refined earlier poetic themes, such as love for an unattainable lady, and also conveyed the spirit of the age. These poets dealt with such subjects as the national tragedy of the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), the disintegration of the feudal world outlook, and the search for a meaning to life outside religious dogma. The works of F. Villon (c. 1431–after 1464) were marked by great lyric depth, realism, and a sense of tragedy. In the 14th and 15th centuries the chivalric romance became imbued with nationalistic and folkloric motifs, as seen in Mélusine by Jean de’Arras (14th century). The moribund world of chivalry was depicted by A. de La Salle (1388–between 1462 and 1469) in Jehan de Saintré; the conflict between the nobility and urban dwellers was reflected in the anonymous collection Cent Nouvelles nouvelles (c. 1462), which was influenced by Boccaccio.
In the late 15th century, France entered the Renaissance. Contacts with Italy grew, printing developed, interest in the humanities and the Greek and Roman classics increased, and the hegemony of religious ideology was weakened. In the early 16th century the French humanists J. Lefèvre d’Etaples (1450–1536) and G. Budé (1467–1540) dealt with topical philosophical, social, and political issues and opposed scholasticism and religious orthodoxy. King Francis I sympathized with the humanist trend, assisted writers, encouraged the translation projects of J. Amyot (1513–93), and gave his patronage to scholars.
The greatest representative of Renaissance literature in France was F. Rabelais (1494–1553). In Gargantua and Pantagruel, Rabelais’s profound erudition and daring ideas were combined with an extensive depiction of French life and with an emphasis on the folk origins of French literature. It was in Rabelais’s works that Renaissance realism took form. The tale of Panurge, which recounted Panurge’s private life as an individual (book 3), served as a prototype for later European novels. The works of the poet and satirist C. Marot (1496–1544) were thematically related to those of Rabelais.
The French lyric poets of the first half of the 16th century were influenced by Italian Neo-Petrarchism with its spiritual quest and its search for formal innovations; examples were the Lyon poets M. Scève (1501?–after 1560) and A. Héroët (1492–1568) and the salon poet M. de Saint-Gelais (1491–1558). Greater sincerity was evident in the works of the Lyon poet L. Labé (c. 1524–66). Pla-tonism influenced the lyric poetry of M. de Navarre (1492–1549), whose collection of short stories entitled the Heptaméron realistically depicted urban life. The collection of short stories Nouvelles Recréations (published 1558) and the philosophical dialogues in prose Cymbalum Mundi (published 1537) by de Navarre’s secretary, B. Des Périers (c. 1500–1544?), as well as the short stories of N. du Fail (c. 1520–91), were also in the realist tradition.
In the mid-16th century the poets of the Pléiade, P. de Ronsard (1524–85), J. du Bellay (1522–60), R. Belleau (1528–77), and E. Jodelle, inaugurated a reform of French poetry and drama. The Pléiade emphasized the humanist element in French poetry, introduced the sonnet, the ode, the eclogue, and the epic poem, and promoted the development of a national literary language. The best works of the Pléiade poets—lyrics devoted to love, philosophy, and nature and to elegiac and civic themes—profoundly and comprehensively explored the inner life and social relationships of men of the period. In the works of the dramatists and poets Jodelle and J. Grévin (1538–70), which were still in the Renaissance tradition, classical traits were already discernible.
The poets of the late 16th century, T. A. d’Aubigné (1552–1630), J. Vauquelin de la Fresnaye (15357–1606), and P. Desportes (1546–1606), continued the traditions of the Pléiade poets, but their lyrics included baroque elements that reflected such tragic contradictions of the period as the Wars of Religion (Huguenot Wars). Lyric poetry, the drama, and epic poetry were imbued with religious themes and biblical symbolism, as seen in the plays of R. Gamier (1534 or 1544–90). Satire, following the tradition established by Rabelais, verged on the grotesque and was used for political purposes in such works as La Satire Ménippée (1594). The Renaissance tradition was continued by M. de Montaigne (1533–92), the author of the Essays, a unique and original survey of the aspirations, hopes, and disillusion-ments of the Renaissance, as well as of its social, spiritual, and artistic traditions. Montaigne’s work was popularized by the moralist P. Charron (1541–1603). Montaigne’s skepticism prepared the way for a number of 17th-century ideological trends in France.
In the early 17th century the realistic, classical, and baroque trends that had begun evolving in the 16th century underwent a complex process of development and transformation. These trends often fused, as in the prose romance Astrée by H. d’Urfé (15677–1625). The influence of baroque aesthetics was also evident in the early work of C. Sorel (1602–74), the creator of the novel of everyday life, which followed the realistic traditions of Rabelais.
French classical poetry was developed by F. de Malherbe (1555–1628), who wrote lyrics in the “high” style, and by the satirist M. Régnier (1573–1613), a follower of Renaissance free-thinking and realism. Malherbe continued the traditions of the Renaissance and sought to develop literary standards based on aesthetic quality and a sense of balance. In the mid-17th century the baroque trend became foremost. It was reflected in the tragicomedies of A. Hardy (c. 1570–1632), the tragedies of A. de Montchrétien (1575–1621), the novels of G. de La Calprenède, M. de Scudéry, and M. de Gomberville, and the poetry of V. Voiture (1598–1648) and J. de Gombauld (c. 1570–c. 1666). The works of Tristan l’Hermite (1601–55) were only partially affected by the preciosity then in vogue.
The realistic trend in French literature was to a great extent based on the realist and Epicurean doctrines of P. Gassendi (1592–1655). Gassendi’s followers were the libertins, or freethinkers, whose number included T. de Viau (1590–1626), M.-A. de Saint-Amant (1594–1661), and Cyrano de Bergerac (1619–55). Sorel was associated with the group as well.
The aesthetics of classicism underwent further development in the theoretical works of J. Chapelain (1595–1674), C. Vaugelas (1585–1650), J. L. G. de Balzac (1597–1654), and F. d’Aubignac (1604–76), who formulated the theories of the three unities and of literary genres and style. The classicistic trend was furthered by the rationalist philosophy of R. Descartes (1596–1650) and by the work of the Académie Française (founded 1635). Classicism was most influential in the theater, particularly in tragedy. A prominent classical dramatist was J. de Rotrou (1609–50), whose early works were influenced by baroque aesthetics. P. Corneille (1606–84) first wrote romantic verse and comedies and later composed tragedies that followed the classical canons. Corneille’s mature works were marked by an intensified lyricism and by highly complex plots, thus contradicting the principles of classicism. Corneille sought to express the most critical conflicts of his time—the opposition of the individual to society and of personal life to that of a society dominated by an absolute monarchy; these conflicts were the focus of the tragedies Le Cid (1637), Horace (1640), and Rodogune (1644).
The founder and most outstanding representative of the classical comedy was Molière (1622–73). From a standpoint of common sense and of fidelity to the national spirit, he satirized the negative sides of contemporary society. The chief targets of his ridicule were the conceit and servility of the bourgeoisie in relation to the aristocracy, as seen in The Bourgeois Gentleman (1670). In the comedies Tartuffe (1664), The Misanthrope (1666), and The Miser (1668), Molière created powerfully depicted character types with psychological depth and from many strata of society. The vices of the aristocracy—dissoluteness, hypocrisy, and parasitism—were also satirized by Molière, as in Don Juan (1665).
A number of 17th-century French prosaists focused on man’s character and psychology and on satirical depictions of mores. They included the moralistic prosaists F. de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80), B. Pascal (1623–62), and J. de La Bruyère (1645–96), the novelist M. de La Fayette (1634–93), author of La Princesse de Clèves (1678), the poet N. Boileau-Despréaux (1636–1711), and the fabulist J. de La Fontaine (1621–95), whose literary sources were folk poetry and the works of Renaissance writers.
Classicism remained the dominant trend in French literature of the second half of the 17th century, having become established in epistolary prose (M. de Sévigné), memoirs (Cardinal de Retz and La Rochefoucauld), and sermons (J. B. Bossuet). At the same time, novels that dealt with everyday life and that sometimes manifested baroque literary traits were written by P. Scarron (1610–60) and A. Furetière (1619–88). In the second half of the 17th century, classicism again acquired features of preciosity, as seen in works by P. Quinault. Works anticipating the Age of Enlightenment were written, among them Les Aventures de Télémaque by F. Fénelon (1651–1715) and articles by C. de Saint-Evremond (c. 1616–1703). The plays of J. Racine (1639–99) revealed the tragic insolubility of the conflict between man and the state, which Racine viewed as a despotic force similar to an Oriental tyranny; these issues were dealt with in Andromaque (1668) and Britannicus (1670). Predominant in Racine’s plays was the psychology of the hero, a victim of somber, irrational forces and of uncurbed passions, as seen in Phèdre (1677).
In the late 17th century, trends in French culture increasingly foreshadowed the Age of Enlightenment, as seen in B. Fon-tenelle’s L’Histoire des oracles (1687), but the imitative classicism of the first third of the 18th century, as exemplified in the plays of P. J. de Crébillon (1674–1762), hindered the advance of the Enlightenment. Rococo literature, which was imbued with a spirit of hedonism, skepticism, and pretended freethinking, emerged at this time. The epigram was the main genre of rococo lyric poetry. Among the most noteworthy rococo poets were G. A. de Chau-lieu (1639–1720), C.-A. La Fare (1644–1712), J.-B.-L. Gresset (1709–77), and C.-J. Dorat (1734–80). The poet J.-B. Rousseau (1670 or 1671–1741) sought to combine the playful lightness of the rococo with the canons of classicism. The rococo prosaists C.-H. Voisenon and S.-J. de Boufflers wrote primarily short stories and erotic tales. Such representatives of the Enlightenment as Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Diderot made use of the literary devices and the element of surprise that were typical of the rococo.
During the first half of the 18th century, the comedy and the novel developed intensively. Comedy followed the tradition of Molière in the work of C. Dufresny and J.-F. Regnard. An increased social awareness and a sense of realism were evident in such works of A. R. Lesage (1668–1747) as Turcaret (1709). P. C. de Marivaux (1688–1763) wrote comedies with intricate, refined dialogue that imparted a whimsical complexity to the characters. The comedies of P. Destouches (1680–1754) and P. C. Nivelle de La Chaussée (1692–1754) were edifying in tone.
In the novel of the period, realistic descriptions of mores predominated. Lesage’s Gil Bias (1715–35) was an outstanding picaresque novel. In The Life of Marianne (1731–41) by Marivaux and in Manon Lescaut (1731) by A. F. Prévost (1697–1763), the characters’ psychology was carefully developed, and representatives of high society were satirized and contrasted to spontaneous and forthright characters. C.-P. J. de Crébillon (1707–77), whose Le Sopha (1742) was influenced by rococo aesthetics, depicted in his novel Les Egarements du coeur et de l’esprit (1736) the parasitism and callousness of the aristocracy, as did C. P. Duelos (1704–72). Montesquieu (1689–1755) portrayed French life with exaggerated satire in The Persian Letters (1721).
In the first half of the 18th century the leading position in French literature was taken by Voltaire (1694–1778). Voltaire was a major poet and satirist, as seen in his epigrams and in La Pucelle d’Orléans (1755), and a dramatist who made use of the classical canons to serve the ideals of enlightenment, as in Mahomet (1742). Voltaire was also an outstanding prosaist—the author of the novels Zadig (1748) and Candide (1759)—and a philosopher, historian, and publicist writer.
In 1751 the Encyclopedia began publication; it was edited by D. Diderot (1713–84), J. d’Alembert, and other philosophes, who expressed the radical views of the vanguard of the Third Estate.
Diderot created the bourgeois drama, examples of which were later written by M.-J. Sedaine (1719–97), L.-S. Mercier (1740–1814), and P. A. C. de Beaumarchais (1732–99). Diderot also wrote a number of works dealing with aesthetics. His novels The Nun (1760) and Jacques the Fatalist (1773), as well as his novella in dialogue form, Rameau’s Nephew (1762–79), were major works of Enlightenment realistic prose.
The movement away from enlightened rationalism was associated with a cult of nature and spontaneity and with the depiction of man’s inner life. In literature, this trend was marked by the emergence of sentimentalism. The novels La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761) and Emile (1762) and the Confessions (1766–69) of J.-J. Rousseau (1712–78) introduced a new hero from the Third Estate and fully revealed his changeable and contradictory character. Rousseau’s followers were Mercier and N.-E. Restif de la Bretonne (1734–1806), who dealt with man in his everyday life and in relation to others, and J. H. Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737–1814), who tended to treat life’s conflicts in an idyllic manner.
Before the French Revolution, preromanticism emerged in French literature, as seen in the works of J. Cazotte (1719–92). In the poetry of E. Parny (1753–1814), elegiac motifs foreshadowing romanticism were combined with a keenly antireligious spirit and with rococo literary devices. The deterioration of feudal ideals and the social and moral decline of the nobility were revealed by J.-B. Louvet de Couvray (1760–97) and in particular by P. Choderlos de Laclos (1741–1803) in the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) and by Beaumarchais in The Marriage of Figaro (1784), a comedy notable for its revolutionary spirit. The classical tradition was continued by the sensitive lyric poet A. M. de Chénier (1762–94) and by the dramatist M.-J. de Chénier (1764–1811), whose tragedies were imbued with civic fervor.
Revolutionary classicism was the leading literary approach during the French Revolution. New plays were written by M.-J. Chénier and P. Fabre d’Eglantine (1750–94), and odes and anthems were composed by P.-D. Lebrun (1729–1807) and J.-T. Desorgues (1763–1808). The revolutionary song entitled the “Marseillaise,” by C. J. Rouget de Lisle (1760–1836), became widely known, as did publicist writings by Robespierre and Marat and essays by Mercier. The heir of the Enlightenment ideals was P.-S. Maréchal (1750–1803), who expressed Jacobinic views in his topical proclamation songs and the antityrannical farce Last Judgment Over the Kings (1793).
Early in the 19th century, the leading trend in French literature was romanticism. Conservative romanticism comprised a feudal reaction to revolutionary events, a defense of Christianity, and a repudiation of the freethinking Enlightenment humanists; these reactionary views were expressed by the publicist writers J. M. de Maistre (1753–1821) and L. Bonald (1754–1840). The authority of the church was affirmed in the treatise Le Génie du christianisme (1802) by F. R. de Chateaubriand (1768–1848). However, the literary importance of Chateaubriand’s novellas Atala (separate edition, 1801) and René (separate edition, 1802) extended beyond the author’s original intention: it was in these works that the theme of the superfluous man first appeared in European literature.
At this time writers who recognized the historically progressive role of the revolution attacked the ideologists of the Restoration. Madame de Staël (1766–1817), in On Literature (1800), appealed for a more liberal social system in France. Her novels Delphine (1802) and Corinne (1807) introduced an idealized heroine in conflict with her surroundings who sought spiritual emancipation. A solitary hero was the focus of the confessional novels Adolphe (1815) by B. Constant (1767–1830) and Obermann (1804) by E. P. de Sénancour (1770–1846). Jean Sbogar (1818) by C. Nodier (1780–1844) was a romantic novel about a mysterious bandit. In poetry, the French romantics expanded the potentialities of the alexandrine and of rhyme, as seen in the collection Poetic Meditations (1820) by A. de Lamartine (1790–1869). The works of A. de Vigny (1797–1863) reflected an evolution from a tragic conflict with reality to a struggle with god.
The second stage of French romanticism was associated with the prerevolutionary and revolutionary movements of the 1830’s and 1840’s and was clearly manifested in the works of V. Hugo (1802–85). Hugo’s epic cycle Legends of the Ages (1859–83) and his collection of poems on the Paris Commune of 1871, The Terrible Year (1872), completed the reform of French poetry that had been begun by the romantics. The main elements in the lyrics of A. de Musset (1810–57) were spontaneous emotion, joy in life, irony, and sorrow. An influential representative of romanticism in the 1820’s and 1830’s was the literary critic C. A. Sainte-Beuve (1804–69).
The triumph of progressive trends in the romanticism of the 1830’s was fully manifested in a sharp polemic on the theater that was conducted between the romantics and the neoclassicists. On the eve of the July Revolution of 1830, this controversy became political in character. Hugo’s preface to his drama Cromwell (1827) was the culmination of the polemic and a manifesto of the aesthetics of progressive romanticism.
The novel of the period combined lyric, epic, and dramatic elements, as seen in Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), Les Misérables (1862), and Ninety-three (1874), de Vigny’s The Fifth of March (1826), and de Musset’s Confession of a Child of the Century (1836), as well as in the novels of George Sand (1804–76) and Alexandre Dumas (Dumas père, 1802–70). The main theme in Sand’s works was woman’s struggle for human rights; examples were Indiana (1832) and Consuelo (1842–43); E. Sue (1804–57) posed social problems in such romansfeuilletons as The Mysteries of Paris (1842–43). T. Gautier (1811–72) and G. de Nerval (1808–55) wrote refined poetry and prose. Gautier’s works represented a transition to pure poetic form, and those of de Nerval were marked by many symbolic levels of meaning.
The revolutionary enthusiasm of the 1830’s and 1840’s promoted an intensive development of progressive romanticism and laid the foundations for a realistic interpretation of contemporary social relationships. From the beginning, French critical realism combined an acute grasp of social issues and a comprehensive understanding of history with vivid depictions of actual life. Traits of realism were evident in the pamphlets of P.-L. Courier (1772–1825) and in the satires and songs of P. J. de Béranger (1780–1857), H. Moreau (1810–38), and A. Barbier (1805–82). The summit of realism was attained in the novels of Stendhal (1783–1842) and of H. de Balzac (1799–1850).
Stendhal and Balzac strongly influenced 19th-century Western European critical realism, and their methods of realistic characterization contributed to the development of world literature. Stendhal’s novel The Red and the Black (1831) established the psychological trend in realism with the author’s analysis of the many aspects of his hero’s character. Julien Sorel’s death was shown to result from his attempt to oppose bourgeois society single-handedly. Stendhal varied this theme in the novels Lucien Leuwen (1834–36; first title The Green Hunter, published 1855, published in full 1929) and The Charterhouse of Parma (1839). In the cycle of novels and novellas La Comédie humaine (1829–48), Balzac sought to develop his concept of the mutual interdependence of all things and to analyze French society during the Restoration and the July Monarchy. Balzac focused on the disintegration of the family in Le Père Goriot (1834–35), on the power of gold in Gobseck (1830), and on the moral decline of the individual in La Peau de chagrin (1830–31). The sources of the inner conflicts in La Comédie humaine were the social tensions of the times and the difficulties of human life. The master of the short story during this period was P. Mérimée (1803–70), who sought to depict local color realistically by using the methods of the historian and the ethnographer, as seen in Mateo Falcone (1829) and Carmen (1845).
In the late 1840’s and the early 1850’s, the ideological and aesthetic contradictions in French literature intensified. Realistic songs and poetry were written by P. Lachambeaudie (1806–72), P. Dupont (1821–70), and L. Ménard (1822–1901), who championed the victims of the June Days of 1848. The best civic poetry dealing with the Revolution of 1848 was written by Hugo in his collection Punishment (1853).
After the coup d’état of 1851, the ideological opponents of the republicans were the Bonapartist authors O. Feuillet (1821–90), M. Du Camp (1822–94), and E. About (1828–85). Literary works vindicating the bourgeoisie during the Second Empire countered the principles of realist art with those of the école du bon sens, a movement in the theater that opposed the exaggerations of romantic drama; its proponents were the dramatists F. Ponsard (1814–67), E. Augier (1820–89), and Alexandre Dumas (Dumas fils, 1824–95). G. Courbet sought to continue Balzac’s traditions in his paintings. Attempts to interpret these traditions in terms of literary theory were made by Champfleury (1821–89) in his collection of articles Réalisme (1857) and by L. E. Duranty (1833–80) in the journal Réalisme, which he edited in 1856 and 1857. However, the literary works of Champfleury and Duranty, as well as those of H. Murger (1822–61), dealt mainly with everyday life. The same was true of the works of the brothers Jules Goncourt (1830–70) and Edmond de Goncourt (1822–96), whose novels Germinie Lacerteux (1865) and La Filie Elisa (1877) inaugurated naturalism in French literature.
G. Flaubert (1821–80) attacked bourgeois morality, mores, education, and political life in the novels Madame Bovary (1857), The Sentimental Education (1869), and Bouvard and Pécuchet (1861). Flaubert focused on man’s limitations and futile search for depth of feeling and fullness of life in a bourgeois society.
The lyric poets represented in the collections Le Parnasse contemporaine (1866–76), C. Leconte de Lisle (1818–94), T. de Banville (1823–91), Sully-Prudhomme (1839–1907), and F. Coppée (1842–1908), manifested their nonacceptance of the bourgeois world by excluding it from their aesthetic sphere. Leconte de Lisle turned to themes from ancient Greek and Indian mythology and from Scandinavian sagas, L.-H. Bouilhet (1822–69) followed the traditions of Oriental poetry, and J. M. de Heredia (1842–1905), those of the Italian Renaissance.
In his works, C. Baudelaire (1821–67) refused to make concessions to a bourgeois milieu and depicted the fate of art and the artist in the contemporary world with bitterness. Baudelaire revealed the evils of society and portrayed the triumphant bourgeoisie in grotesque colors in the collection of poems The Flowers of Evil (1857).
As a result of the scientific and technological progress of the 1860’s and 1870’s, the adventure novel and science fiction emerged; examples were the novels of J. Verne (1828–1905). Interest grew in the humanities, for example, in the history of the arts and of religion, as seen in the History of the Origins of Christianity (vols. 1–8, 1863–83) by J.-E. Renan (1823–92).
The patriotic national upsurge that took place during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 and the Paris Commune of 1871 inaugurated a new era in French literature. Many writers devoted their lives and works to the ideals and revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. E. Pottier (1816–87), described by V. I. Lenin as “one of the greatest propagandists by song” (Soch., 5th ed., vol. 22, p. 274), in June 1871 wrote the “Internationale” (published 1887). Pottier depicted the lofty spirit of the Commune and the example it set in the narrative poem The Paris Commune (1876). The heroism of the Communards was celebrated in the poems of Louise Michel (1830–1905), the songs of J. B. Clément (1836–1903), and the poetry of E. Vermersch (1845–78), E. Châtelain (1829–1902), and C. Hugues (1851–1907). The “Parisian Battle Song” by A. Rimbaud (1854–91) dealt with the Commune.
The editor of the newspaper Le Cri du peuple, J. Vallès (1832–85), was a participant in the Paris Commune whose realistic trilogy of novels Jacques Vingtras (1879–86) recounted the life and revolutionary struggle of a young man of the 19th century. L. Cladel (1835–86) depicted the heroism of the Commune with revolutionary and romantic fervor in the novel INRI (1872–87; published 1931; translated into Russian as Jacques Ratas, 1933). The Paris Commune and the socialist working-class movement that developed in the 1880’s and 1890’s revealed the class antagonisms of bourgeois society and influenced the masters of critical realism.
E. Zola’s cycle of novels The Rougon-Macquarts (1871–93) was a sociopsychological study of society during the transition from capitalism to imperialism; an outstanding novel in the series was Germinal (1885). In the 1880’s, Zola was the recognized theoretician of naturalism, but he later opposed naturalism and used the realistic method to depict complex interrelationships among characters typical of the period, as in Money (1891) and The Debacle (1892). Zola’s view that the emerging trend of socialism would be the society of the future was reflected in the novel Labor (1901).
Guy de Maupassant (1850–93) expressed a strong aversion to the commonplaceness of bourgeois life in the novel A Woman’s Life (1883). Maupassant attacked the political intrigues of the Third Republic in the novel Bel-ami (1885) and speculative trading in stocks in the novel Mont Oriol (1886); he was also strongly opposed to colonialism. Maupassant’s short stories constituted a broad panorama of everyday life and mores in France during the last quarter of the 19th century. Masterful imagery and a diversity of realistic character types were typical of the works of A. Daudet (1840–97), the author of the trilogy Tartarin of Tarascón (1872–90).
In the poetry of the late 19th century, the leading trend was that of symbolism. The main symbolist poets were S. Mallarmé (1842–98), the author of the eclogue “The Afternoon of a Faun” (c. 1865; published 1876), P. Verlaine (1844–96), A. Rimbaud, the author of “The Drunken Ship” and “Sonnet on Vowels,” and P. Fort (1872–1960). P. Alexis (1847–1901) and O. Mirbeau (1850–1917) continued the naturalist tradition.
The early novellas and novels of C.-M.-G. Huysmans (1848–1907) were realistic portrayals of the life of the people, as seen in the novel Marthe (1876). Huysmans was later influenced by the decadent trend in his novel Against the Grain (1884). P. Bourget (1852–1935), who depicted a young man of the 19th century in the novel The Disciple (1889), in the 1890’s followed the trend of reactionary chauvinist literature. The leading figure in that trend was M. Barres (1862–1923), the author of the trilogy The Novel of National Energy (1897–1902).
Realistic literature at the turn of the 20th century was in opposition to the literature of the imperialist reaction, as exemplified in the works of C. Maurras (1868–1952) and P. Adam (1862–1920). The novels of colonial life by P. Loti (1850–1923) and C. Farrère (1876–1957) were typical literary manifestations of the imperialist reaction. The realistic literature of the late 19th century was also opposed to decadent literature, as exemplified in the works of M. Schwob (1867–1905) and A. Gide (1869–1951) and of such avant-gardists as A. Jarry (1873–1907). The great realists, who had been influenced by the concepts of socialism, were at the vanguard of French literature of the period; they included A. France (1844–1924), R. Rolland (1866–1944), J. Renard (1864–1910), and C.-L. Philippe (1874–1909).
In the tetralogy L’Histoire contemporaine (1897–1901), A. France expressed his sympathy for the working class. He attacked bourgeois civilization in novels imbued with fantasy, satire, and the grotesque, for example, Sur la pierre blanche (1904), L’Ile despingouins (1908), and La Révolte des anges (1914). Renard, a contributor to the newspaper L’Humanité from the first day of its publication, was a civic activist whose biting irony was aimed at the idle, hostile bourgeoisie, as seen in the novella Carrot Top (1894). In Bubu de Montparnasse (1901), Philippe depicted the parasitism of the worst elements of Parisian society; in contrast, his Le Père Perdrix (1902) portrayed the worldly wisdom of the poor.
E. Le Roy (1836–1907) realistically depicted the life of ordinary people in his epic novel Jacqou le croquant (1899), and L. Pingaud (1882–1915) and Gabrielle Sidonie Colette (1873–1954) stressed the interrelationship between man and nature. E. Rostand (1868–1918) won fame with his heroic comedy Cyrano de Bergerac (1898). Rolland’s world view, which was based on socialist concepts, linked individual aspirations with the course of history. Between 1898 and 1902, Rolland wrote a cycle of dramas about the French Revolution that included The Wolves, The Triumph of Reason, Danton, and The Fourteenth of July. The cycle was a classic of realism that established the civic orientation of French democratic dramaturgy. The ideological quest of the creative artist was the subject of Rolland’s Jean-Christophe (1904–1912). Rolland’s novel Colas Breugnon (1918) revived the Renaissance tradition of Rabelais.
Because of opposition to the symbolist aloofness from reality, the literary trend of unanimism emerged in 1906; its followers, who included G. Duhamel (1884–1966), C. Vildrac (1882–1971), and J. Romains (1885–1972), maintained an illusory belief in harmony among different classes of society. The romantic tradition remained alive in the lyric Bildungsroman by Alain-Fournier (1886–1914), Le Grand Meaulnes (1913). Modernist and realist trends were intricately interwoven in the works of M. Proust (1871–1922). Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (1913–27) was one of the first literary works to use the device of the stream of consciousness.
A vivid sense of history impelled the Catholic author P. Claudel (1868–1955) to advance beyond the symbolism of H. de Régnier (1864–1936) and the neoclassicism of J. Moréas (1856–1910). Claudel dealt with acute social problems in his trilogy of dramas comprising The Hostage (1911), Crusts (1918), and Humiliation of the Father (1920). The genuine emotions and lucid poetic language of the fantaisiste poets T. Derème (1889–1941), P.-J. Toulet (1867–1920), and F. Careo (1886–1958) were in contrast to the mystical vagueness and lofty manner of the symbolists. G. Apollinaire (1880–1918), who was influenced by the modernist fin de siècle trend, evolved an original manner combining realism and surrealism in the poetry collection Alcools (1913) and in the cycle of novellas Hérésiarque and Co. (1910). Apollinaire also wrote Calligrams (1918), a lyric and epic chronicle of the war.
A new stage in the development of French literature began with World War I (1914–18) and the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. The novels Under Fire (1916) and Clarity (1919) by H. Barbusse (1873–1935), the founder of socialist realism in French literature, reflected the growth of revolutionary consciousness among the French people. In 1919, Barbusse founded the international writers’ organization Clarté (Clarity), which sought to aid the Soviet Union and to support the peace movement. Barbusse’s True Tales (1928) and his critical study Zola (1932) were antireactionary in spirit, as were the publicist writings of P. Vaillant-Couturier (1892–1937), who was acquainted with V. I. Lenin in 1921 and wrote descriptive essays on the USSR.
After writing the collection of articles Above the Battle (1915), Rolland expressed a revolutionary humanism in the epic novel The Soul Enchanted (1922–23). Rolland’s new realism also influenced his aesthetics, as seen in his article “Lenin: Art and Action” (1934), as well as his publicist writings and his drama Robespierre (1939). Rolland was the ideological inspirer of the international antifascist front; he also organized international peace congresses.
Two prominent writers of the 1920’s and 1930’s were the moralist philosopher Alain (1868–1951) and the poet P. Valéry (1871–1945), who abandoned symbolism and evolved toward intellectual verse. Outstanding avant-garde writers were B. Cendrars (1887–1961), P. Reverdy (1889–1960), the cubo-futurist J. Cocteau (1889–1963), the dadaist T. Tzara (1896–1963), and the surrealists A. Breton (1896–1966), P. Eluard (1895–1952), L. Aragon (born 1897), P. Soupault (born 1897), and A. Artaud (1896–1948), the author of the avant-garde Le Manifeste du théâtre de la cruauté (1935).
The international writers’ congresses held in 1935 and 1937 for the promotion of culture helped unite democratic writers. Novels were written on the working class and its participation in the social struggle during the period of the Popular Front, among them Banned Demonstration (1935) by L. Moussinac (1890–1964), Pain de brique (1937) by J. Fréville (1898–1971), Green Zone (1935) by E. Dabit (1898–1936), and La Grand lutte (1937) by T. Rémy (born 1897). Aragon wrote the poetry collection Hurrah, Urals! (1934) and the novels The Bells of Basel (1934) and Residential Quarter (1936). In the 1930’s, J.-R. Bloch (1884–1947) acquired a revolutionary outlook, as seen in the novel Spain! Spain! (1936).
A. Malraux (1901–76), a progressive writer, condemned fascist aggression in Spain in his novel Man’s Hope (1937). Romain’s turn to rightism was evident in his Men of Good Will (vols. 1–27, 1932–46). J. Giono (1895–1970), the author of the pacifist novel The Great Herd (1931), manifested a conservative and Utopian outlook in his novel The Song of the World (1934). Outspokenly reactionary trends in the French literature of the late 1930’s were apparent in the works of H. de Montherlant (1896–1972) and L.-F. Céline (1894–1961).
The increasing influence of critical realism was evident in works by R. Martin du Gard (1881–1958), F. Mauriac (1885–1970), and Duhamel. The multivolume novel The World of the Thibaults (1922–40) by Martin du Gard revealed the spiritual impoverishment of the bourgeoisie and of the social democratic political leadership on the eve of World War I. Mauriac’s novels Thérèse Desqueyroux (1927), The Viper’s Tangle (1932), and The Unknown Sea (1939) combined Catholic tendentiousness with sharp criticism of bourgeois life. Duhamel attacked the self-interest of the bourgeoisie but rejected social acts promoting moral reform, as seen in the cycle of novels Salavin (vols. 1–5, 1920–32).
Works of critical realism written during the 1920’s and 1930’s included the play Steamboat “Tenacity” (1919) by C. Vildrac, the novel Wooden Crosses (1919) by R. Dorgelès (1886–1973), the collection of short stories Premiers contes (1935) by A. Maurois (1885–1967), the collection of short stories The Happiest Time (1937) by M. Arland (born 1899), the novel Diary of a Country Priest (1936) by G. Bernanos (1888–1948), the novel Le Sang noir (1935) by L. Guilloux (born 1899), and works by P. A. Ar-noux (1884–1973) and M. Aymé (1902–1967). Socially significant issues are the subject of plays by J. Giraudoux (1882–1944), for example, La Guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu (1935) and by J. Anouilh (born 1910), for example, The Savage (1938). A romantically inspired opposition to the inhuman logic of capitalist development is apparent in the works of P. Macorlan (1882–1970) and A. Dhôtel (born 1900).
During World War II (1939–45), the literature of the antifascist Resistance emerged. The newspaper L’Humanité continued publication, and new antifascist publications were founded, including Résistance, La Pensée libre, and Les Lettres françaises, the journal of the Comité National des Ecrivains (founded 1942). The scope and literary value of the patriotic poetry of the Resistance were inspired by a lofty ideological content and a civic consciousness. Examples were Le Livre ouvert II (1942) and Poésie et vérité 1942 (1942) by P. Eluard, the collections of poems Heartbreak (1941) and The French Dawn (1945) by Aragon, the cycle of tragic poems L’Abattoir by E. Guillevic (born 1907), and the poetry collection Le Poing fermé (1945) by Madeleine Riffaud (born 1923). The first Resistance novella published was The Silence of the Sea (1942) by Vercours (born 1902).
After abandoning surrealist experimentation, R. Desnos (1900–45) based his poetry on folk songs. J. Prévert (1900–77) contrasted fascist barbarism with abiding memories of normal life and happiness in peacetime. The theme of responsibility for the fate of the homeland was the focus of works by two Catholic writers: J. Cayrol (born 1911), the author of Poèmes de la nuit et du brouillard (1946), and L. Masson (1915–69), who wrote Poèmes d’ici (1942). The poetry of H. Michaux (born 1899), R. Queneau (born 1903), J. Audiberti (1899–1965), F. Ponge (born 1899), and R. Char (born 1907) is imbued with a sense of hopelessness and grief, although the predominant theme of these poets is one of civic enthusiasm.
The Resistance movement clearly revealed the decisive role of the people, the working class, and its vanguard, the French Communist Party, in the achievement of national independence. The advance from the tragedy of 1940 to the liberation of Paris in 1944 was recorded in many works. They included the publicist writings of Bloch, the autobiographical On the Raft “Medusa”: Diary of a Political Prisoner (1945) by L. Moussinac, the novella Flight (1947) by G. Cogniot, satirical and sociopsychological short stories by Fréville and P. Courtade (1915–63), and the novella Ceux qui vivent (1947) by J. Laffitte (born 1910). Les Lettres des fusillés, a book published in 1946, was a document testifying to the heroism of the Communist members of the Resistance.
The heroic struggles of French patriots were recounted in the novel Le Puits des miracles (1945) by A. Chamson (born 1900), the eyewitness chronicle The November 12th Train (1943; published 1965) and the novella The Last Detachment (1946) by M. Druon (born 1918), the collection of short stories The Fine for a Rip in the Cloth Is Two Hundred Francs (1945) by E. Triolet (1896–1970), and the publicist writings of F. Mauriac, including Le Cahier noir (1943). In the novel The Communists (1949–51), Aragon recorded the history of France at this crucial period in its development.
Many French writers lost their lives during the war. J. Decour (1910–42) was executed, J. Prévost (1901–44) and A. Chenne-vière (1908–44) were lost in battle, and P. Unik (1909–45), Desnos, M. Jacob (1876–1944), and B. Fondane (1898–1944) died in fascist concentration camps. A. de Saint-Exupéry (1900–44), the author of Pilote de guerre (1942) and of the philosophical tale The Little Prince (1943), was lost in action.
The experience of the war years provided material for French realistic prose from the late 1940’s to the 1950’s. Examples were the novels Strange Game (1945) by R. Vailland (1907–65), Time of the Death (1953) by P. Gasear (born 1916), Death Is My Profession (1953) by R. Merle (born 1908), Où l’Herbe nepousse plus (1952) by G. Magnane (born 1902), and Commander Watrin (1956) by A. Lanoux (born 1913). Druon’s trilogy The Curtain Falls (1948–51) depicted the period between the two world wars and the moral degradation of the ruling classes that led France to a national catastrophe. In his trilogy on bourgeois family life, The Rezeau Family (1948–73), H. Bazin (born 1911) attacked the domestic oppression that arouses the hero’s protest.
In the mid-20th century, critical realism became the foremost trend in French literature, as seen in works by M. Genevoix (born 1890), G. Chevallier (1895–1970), M. Pagnol (born 1895), P. Hériat (1898–1971), M. Fombeure (born 1906), E. Robles (born 1914), G. E. Clancier (born 1914), R. Grenier (born 1919), B. Clavel (born 1923), P. Lainé (born 1942), and B. Poirot-Delpech (born 1929). The works of Simone de Beauvoir (born 1908), H. Troyat (born 1911), Françoise Sagan (born 1935), and R. Sabatier (born 1923) are marked by conflicting traits of naturalism and realism. In the 1950’s the poets Saint-John Perse (1887–1975) and P. de La Tour du Pin (1911–75) wrote their best works; the same was true of J. Roubaud (born 1932) and B. Vargaftig (born 1934) in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
The attainments of bourgeois mass culture have been countered by the works of writers following the method of socialist realism, who depict actual life in France. The efforts of workers to revive their homeland were described by A. Stil (born 1921) in the collection of short stories The Word “Miner,” Comrades (1949); the peace movement was depicted by P. Gamarra (born 1919) in the novel The Lilac of St.-Lazare (1951). Marxist-Leninist authors opposed the French imperialist wars in Indochina; examples were the documentary novel Black River (1953) by Courtade and the novel La Dernière Cartouche (1953) by J. P. Chabrol (born 1925). French imperialist wars in Algeria were the subject of the poetry collection Si j’en crois le Jasmin (1958) by M. Riffaud. The writers who followed the method of socialist realism demanded radical changes in living and working conditions, as seen in Le Musette de Jean Brécot, natif de Touraine (1951) by G. Monmousseau (1883–1960) and the novel Pierrette Amable (1954) by Vailland. The aesthetics of socialist realism were developed by Aragon in his critical study La Lumière de Stendhal (1954). A number of historical novels, including La Semaine sainte (1958) by Aragon and Les Fous de Dieu (1961) by Chabrol, analyzed the role of the people in the historical process.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, socialist and critical realism in French literature continued an ideological and aesthetic conflict with the conservative and reactionary views of such writers as T. Maulnier (born 1909) and with decadent and modernist schools and trends. The most important of these was the existentialism of A. Camus (1913–60) and J.-P. Sartre (1905–80), who in the late 1960’s supported the new leftists. Existentialist concepts underwent varying interpretations; these concepts were reflected in the theater of the absurd of E. Ionesco (born 1912) and S. Beckett (born 1906), as seen in their plays Rhinoceros (1959) and Waiting for Godot (1952), respectively. The influence of existentialism was also apparent in the new novel (nouveau roman), an example of which was The Golden Fruits (1963) by Nathalie Sarraute (born 1900), in the film screenplay Last Year at Marienbad (1961) by A. Robbe-Grillet (born 1922), and in works by M. Butor (born 1926) and C. Simon (born 1913). Existentialist motifs were evident in Anouilh’s drama Becket, or the Honor of God (1959).
Many French writers have abandoned existentialism and the theory and practice of modernism. A. Adamov (1908–70), who at first followed the approach of the theater of the absurd, later wrote plays expressing social criticism, for example, the tragedy The Spring of ’71 (1961) and the tragic farce Holy Europe (1966). A. Salacrou (born 1899) was the author of surrealist dramas in the 1920’s but after the war wrote a tragedy about the Resistance, Les Nuits de la colère (1946), and the drama Boulevard Durand (1960), devoted to strikes of dock workers.
The trend of socialist realism in the French literature of the mid-1960’s and the 1970’s was engaged in a persistent conflict with the revisionism of H. Lefebvre, R. Garaudy, and P. Daix; the intensity of this ideological conflict was expressed in varying ways in literary works. Aragon wrote a new version of his novel The Communists in 1967, as well as the experimental psychological novel Théâtre/Roman (1974). The novels Le Canon “Fraternité” (1970) by Chabrol and 72 Soleils (1975) by Gamarra testify fully to the vigor and viability of the literature of socialist realism.
A. D. MIKHAILOV (prior to the 19th century) I. B. DIUSHEN (from the early 19th century to 1870) V. P. BALASHOV (after 1871)
Literary theory and criticism. The forerunners of critical literary studies in France were the works Défense et illustration de la langue française (1549) by J. Du Bellay and Abrégé de l’art poétique français (1565) by P. de Ronsard, both of which sought to systematize literary genres. In the 17th century, important contributions to the development of literary theory in France were made by F. Malherbe, J. L. Balzac, and N. Boileau, whose The Art of Poetry (1674) formulated the theory of classicism. An important factor in the evolution of literary theory was the dispute between the classicists and modernists (querelle des Anciens et des Modernes) of the late 17th century. In this dispute, Boileau defended the unshakable authority of classical literature, and C. Perrault (1628–1703) and Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657–1757) defended the right of contemporary authors to be guided by the needs of the times.
During the Enlightenment, the literary criteria of classicism were often criticized, but in general the representatives of the Enlightenment did not reject these criteria definitively. The conflict with classicism became the focus of the romantics’ aesthetic program. Mme. de Staël was the first to formulate the principle that social and historical factors influence literature. Anti-classical views were further developed in Stendhal’s Racine and Shakespeare (1823–25) and in works by V. Hugo.
The collections of literary essays Monday Chats (1851–62) and New Mondays (1863–70) by C. A. Sainte-Beuve established the biographical method of literary criticism, according to which a writer’s work was viewed as an expression of his inner world. H. Taine (1828–93) sought to refute Sainte-Beuve’s subjective method. In La Philosophic de l’art (1865–69), Taine drew on the achievements of the natural and social sciences to establish the school of cultural history in literary criticism. However, Taine’s theory disregarded the role played by social and ideological contradictions and was unable to explain the emergence of different literary trends during the same epoch. F. Brunetière (1849–1905) attempted to overcome this lack by attributing literary development to the mutual influence of various literary approaches, a view developed in his L’Evolution des genres dans l’histoire de la littérature (1890).
In the late 19th century and the early 20th century the theories of the school of cultural history in France were further developed by E. Faguet (1847–1916) and G. Lanson (1857–1934). The impressionist criticism of A. France, J. Lemaître, and R. de Gourmont was in opposition to the Taine school of literary theory. Striking examples of an increasingly systematized approach to the study of literature was contained in several works by Proust, including Contre Sainte-Beuve (published 1954).
The first work of Marxist literary theory in France was Les Origines du romantisme (1885–96) by P. Lafargue (1842–1911). In the 20th century, French literary criticism was greatly influenced by the intuitionism of H. Bergson (1859–1941), elucidated in Le Rire (1900) and later systematized by A. Thibaudet. C. Du Bos, who used the method of close reading, combined intuitionism with an impressionist approach. Bergson’s views on literary criticism were opposed by the abstract rationalism of J. Benda (1867–1956). The critics R. Lalou (1889–1960), L. Cazamian, and P. van Tieghem adhered to the principles of historicism. The Marxist writers P. Vaillant-Couturier, J.-R. Bloch, and L. Aragon contributed to the development of progressive French literary criticism in the late 1930’s.
Prominent postwar bourgeois literary critics have included R. M. Albérès (born 1921), P. Boisdeffre (born 1926), G. Picon (born 1915), and P. H. Simon (1903–70), who view the history of literature through the prism of philosophy. The philosophical approach in postwar French literary criticism resulted from the growing role of Marxism and from the vogue of existentialism. J.-P. Sartre favored an active, engagé (socially and politically aware) literature, but the metaphysical nature of his existentialism greatly limited its influence.
In philosophy and literature, neopositivist structuralism has replaced existentialism. As a method it is highly heterogeneous: the literary and linguistic structuralism of R. Barthes (1915–80), A. Greimas, and T. Todorov (born 1939) is accompanied by the psychoanalytic structuralism of J. Lacan and the sociological structuralism of L. Goldmann (1913–70). The leftist journal Tel Quel (since 1960) adheres to the structuralist trend in literary criticism. The French philosopher G. Bachelard (1884–1962) was instrumental in the development of structuralist literary criticism. Bachelard founded the school of structuralist and symbolist literary interpretation, whose followers include M. Blanchot (born 1907), G. Poulet (born 1902), and J. P. Richard (born 1922).
The weekly journal Les Lettres françaises (1942–72), edited by Aragon, helped advance Marxist literary criticism in France. Marxist literary criticism consistently upholds the principle of social analysis in literature and stresses the important role of art in the class struggle. The influence of progressive literary criticism is increasing owing to the extensive publication of literary criticism with a progressive viewpoint in the periodicals L’Humanité, La Pensée, La Nouvelle Critique (since 1948), L’Europe (since 1923), and La France nouvelle.
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The oldest works of art found in what is now France date from the Paleolithic; they include polychrome paintings of animals at Lascaux and Font-de-Gaume and animal sculptures from La Madeleine and Le Tue d’Audoubert. During the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, megalithic structures were erected in Carnac.
The Iron Age is represented by remains of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures.
Greek colonies were founded on the southern coast of France in the early sixth century B.C. Their art had a considerable influence on the culture of the Celts. Classical Gallo-Roman art developed in Celtic (Gallic) cities after the Roman conquest. Remains include stone temples (Nîmes), theaters (Orange), triumphal arches, tombs (St. Remy), aqueducts (Nîmes), sarcophagi, funerary reliefs, and mosaics. In works of the representational arts, elements of the classical Roman style blend with local elements derived from Celtic tradition, especially in northern Gaul and in rural settlements.
Medieval art developed in France beginning in the fifth century, during the rise of the barbarian states; the predominant trend in this period was Merovingian art. The Carolingian Renaissance, which flourished in the eighth and ninth centuries, produced many palace complexes and monasteries and marvelous ivory carvings and illuminated manuscripts.
Carolingian art was the basis of the Romanesque style, which flourished from the tenth to 12th centuries. The medieval French city, which developed during this period, featured an irregular layout and narrow streets. Houses had two or three stories, with arcades for stores and workshops on the first story and living quarters on the second; notable examples are the houses in Cluny (c. 12th century). Feudal lords lived in severe castles surrounded by massive blind walls, with donjons and citadels; of special interest are the structures in Carcassonne. Churches and monasteries were the prevailing building types in Romanesque architecture. Churches were most frequently laid out in the shape of a Latin cross. They had a high central nave topped by a semicircular vault and a fully developed choir with chapels. Two towers flanked the western facade, and a powerful eight-sided tower rose above the crossing. This style is typified by the Cluny III Church in Cluny (1088–12th century).
The principles of Romanesque architecture led to the development of many local architectural styles. For example, the vast churches built in Aquitaine were crowned by rows of domes on pendentives or squinches, such as St. Front in Périgueux (after 1120) and the severe fortress-like single-aisle churches in Languedoc, for example, the cathedral in Agde (late llth-early 12th centuries). Churches with one to three aisles and splendidly sculpted portals were built in Provence, for example, St. Tro-phime in Aries (c. 1180–1200), while Auvergne was known for its compact churches with splendid polychrome masonry, such as the church of the Monastery of St. Nectaire (first half of the 12th century). The churches in Poitou, while severe and geometric, were ornamented with columns, arcatures, carvings, and sculpture, for example, Notre Dame la Grande in Poitiers, while laconic, wide, and well-lighted churches were typical of Champagne and Normandy, notably La Trinité in Caens.
Romanesque church architecture was closely linked with stone carving and monumental sculpture, which were used to ornament capitals and portals and sometimes entire facades, as in Notre Dame la Grande in Poitiers. A preference toward dramatic composition and low relief characterized the sculptural ornamentation of churches in Languedoc, such as St. Sernin in Toulouse (11th—13th centuries), and in Burgundy, for example, the tympana of the cathedrals in Vézelay and Autun. Graeco-Roman traditions remained strong in Provence, as seen in the portal of the Church of St. Trophime in Aries (c. 1180–1200).
In the painting of this period, figures were stylized, two-dimensional, and linear; however, they possessed dramatic expressiveness. Dynamic stylization and a “barbaric” splendor distinguished the jewelry, Limoges enamel, fabrics, and embroidery of the time, for example, the Bayeux Tapestry (late llth-early 12th centuries; Museum of Queen Matilda, Bayeux).
The Gothic style evolved in the cities of northern France in the 12th century. This period witnessed the growth, reconstruction, and fortification of old cities and the rise of new cities, which usually had a regular, maximally compact grid-type layout, with cathedral and market squares. The main public building of a city was the cathedral. The typical French Gothic cathedrals are three- to five-aisle basilicas with a transept and semicircular ambulatory around the choir, a row of chapels, a high and spacious interior, and a western facade flanked by two towers and dominated by three portals and a central rose window.
The works of Early Gothic architecture, such as the church of the Abbey of St. Denis (1137–44), the cathedrals in Sens (c. 1140) and Laon, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and Chartres Cathedral (1194–1260), to some extent retained massive walls, heavy ribs, horizontal composition of the facade, and heavy double flying buttresses. A strong emphasis on vertical lines and an abundance of sculpture and decorative details are typical of the majestic Late Gothic cathedrals in Reims (13th-14th centuries) and Amiens (1220–88) and of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris (1243–48). In the late 13th and 14th centuries the construction of cathedrals underwent a crisis. Architectural articulation, now serving no structural purpose, was concealed under abundant ornamentation. The sinuous lines of the flamboyant style became dominant, as in the Church of St. Ma-clou in Rouen (1434–70).
Palaces with rich interiors took the place of castles, for example, the papal palace in Avignon and the Château de Pierrefonds (1390–1420). The 15th century saw the development of wealthy town houses (hôtels) with tall roofs, high windows, newell staircases, and elements of Renaissance ornamentation; for example, the house of Jacques Coeur in Bourges.
Gothic sculpture in France was marked by renewed interest (spiritual in nature) in physical beauty, human emotions, and true natural forms. Outstanding examples include the reliefs and statuary on the western portal of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris (c. 1165–1225) and on the northern portal of Chartres Cathedral (before 1222), the profoundly human image of Christ (Le Beau Dieu) on the western portal of Amiens Cathedral (c. 1230), and the sculptural group The Visitation of Mary on the western portal of Reims Cathedral (1230–70). In the late 13th century sculpture became mannered and refined, reflecting the current concept of courtly love and chivalry. Of note are the statues on the western facade of Strasbourg Cathedral. In the 14th century, stone sculptural groups were made more rarely, but altars were decorated with paintings and painted wood sculpture. In late medieval French sculpture, mannered stylization and the exalted depiction of human figures were closely intertwined with a love for realistic details.
In Gothic painting the main element of chromatic ornamentation was the stained-glass window. The colors of stained glass were at first intense and vibrant, for example, in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and Chartres Cathedral; however, in the second half of the 13th century they became lighter. Frescoes, although largely supplanted by stained glass, were painted on the walls of palaces and castles, for instance, in the papal palace in Avignon (14th—15th centuries). Gothic illuminated manuscripts were marked by a stronger tendency toward the truthful representation of nature and an interest in richer, more profound subject matter. Psalters, books of hours, romances, and fabliaux were illuminated. Easel paintings and portraits appeared, revealing the influence of Dutch and Italian art. A decisive move toward the representation of reality is evident in the work of the Limburg brothers, illuminators of Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (c. 1411–16; Condé Museum, Chantilly). The works of Gothic decorative applied art, including sculptural ornaments, enamels, tapestries, and carved furniture, were marked by fine craftsmanship and thorough finishing.
The joie de vivre and elegance associated with the French Renaissance originated as early as the second half of the 15th century, for example, in the comfortable yet majestic and imposing châ-teaus of the kings and nobles and in hôtels, which were at once functional and whimsical. These structures retained the logical design, emphasis on vertical lines, handsome composition, and interesting silhouettes of Gothic architecture, while introducing light and elegant ornamentation and the subtle articulation of the wall surfaces. Notable examples include the châteaus in Amboise (1492–98) and Gaillon (1501–10) and the Hôtel de Bourgthé-roulde (1501–37) and the Bureau des Finances (begun 1569) in Rouen.
In addition to the famous Italian masters invited to France by Francis I, including Leonardo da Vinci, highly educated French architects gained prominence, for example, N. Bachelier, P. Delorme, P. Lescot, and J. A. du Cerceau. A fine example of the true French style of Renaissance architecture is the Francis I wing in the château at Blois. Blois and the other picturesque châteaus of the Loire Valley are harmoniously integrated with the surrounding landscape; they include Azay-le-Rideau (1518–29), Chenonceaux (1515–22), and Chambord (begun 1519). Hôtels were built with elegant facades, for example, the Hôtel Bernuy in Toulouse and the Rocaille in Orléans, both of which date from the first half of the 16th century. Even town halls (hôtels de ville) approached the elegance and splendor of palaces. The festive interiors of the Palace of Fontainebleau, where the Italian masters Rosso Fiorentino and Primaticcio worked, are sumptuously decorated with wood carvings, frescoes, and stucco-work. The most beautiful creation of the High Renaissance in France was the new Louvre in Paris, designed by the architect P. Lescot and the sculptor J. Goujon.
Several local schools evolved in the representational arts in the 15th century, the most important being the Loire school. The essentially secular nature of Early French Renaissance art originated at the royal court in the mid-15th century. Its leading representative was the painter J. Fouquet. M. Colombe was the first French Renaissance sculptor. Beginning in the mid-15th century, woodcut engravings also incorporated traits of the Renaissance, such as chiaroscuro, the effective rendering of three-dimensional figures, and elements of direct perspective.
In the early 16th century the royal court became the center of artistic life. As a result of France’s campaigns in Italy, classical statues and works of the Italian Renaissance were brought into the country, and Italian artists arrived. The artistic culture of the court also stimulated the development of mannerism among artists of the first and second Fontainebleau schools, which flourished in the 1530’s and 1540’s. An increased interest in man’s inner world found extraordinarily powerful expression in the portraits (including both drawings and paintings) of J. Clouet the Younger, Corneille de Lyon, Etienne Dumoustier, and Pierre Dumoustier.
In sculpture, the humanist ideals of the Renaissance were expressed in the translucent figures of J. Goujon, while Gothicized elements dominated the works of P. Bontemps and L. Richier. The contradictions of the Late French Renaissance, as well as heightened dramatic effects, became evident in G. Pilon’s sculptural groups and portrait busts.
As a result of the consolidation of absolutism in the 1600’s, especially in the latter half of the century, artists were obliged to exalt the monarch and glorify his power. The state also extended its authority over artistic life. The Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture was founded in 1648, and the Royal Academy of Architecture in 1671. The “grand manner” favored by the absolutist monarchy employed certain traits typical of classicism, for example, strict and rational logic and compositional balance and restraint; the style also used mass and space for dramatic effect.
These devices were employed with remarkable brilliance in the imposing city and country residences of the king and the aristocracy and the hôtels of the bourgeoisie. Paris was adorned with geometrically correct and stylistically integrated squares, such as the Place Dauphine (1607), Place des Vosges (1606–12), Place des Victoires (1685–86), and Place Vendôme (1685–1701), the last two of which were built by the architect J. Hardouin-Mansart. In the course of building the Place Vendôme, architects developed a type of house with arcades on the first floor, a colossal order of pilasters joining the second and third floors, and a high mansard.
Structures of this period include palaces of scrupulous proportions, such as the Palais Richelieu (now known as the Palais Royal; 1629–36, architect J. Lemercier). Other outstanding works include the strictly classical eastern facade of the Louvre (1667–74, C. Perrault), the Hôtel des Invalides (1671–76, architect L. Bruant) and the Cathédrale des Invalides (1680–1706, Hardouin-Mansart), and the Sorbonne and its church (1629–54, architect J. Lemercier). Majestic triumphal arches were built, such as the Porte St. Denis, as well as bridges. Châteaus also changed in appearance. They were now built as complexes consisting of a palace and service buildings with strictly proportioned parks; examples include Vaux-le-Vicomte (1656–61, architect L. Le Vau) and especially Versailles (1661–1689, architects Le Vau and Har-douin-Mansart; park designed 1660’s by A. Le Nôtre). City and country palaces became compact in form and more restrained in decoration, for example, the Luxembourg Palace in Paris (1615–20, architect S. de Brosse) and the Maison Lafitte near Paris (1542–50, architect F. Mansart).
The leading figure in the official school of painting was S. Vouet, who eclectically combined elements of Roman baroque, the academism of the Bolognese school, and the mannerism of the Fontainebleau school. In the first third of the 17th century a group called the painters of reality opposed official art, poeticizing the everyday life of the common man. Outstanding examples include the genre scenes of Valentin, the spiritually pure and restrained paintings of G. de La Tour, and the pictures of L. Le Nain, which loftily affirm the dignity of the common people. Many of P. de Champagne’s portraits are marked by penetrating characterization. J. Callot’s etchings are notable for their keen social observation, as well as their elements of the fantastic and the grotesque.
Classicism, which became dominant in the painting of the second third of the 17th century, rejected the imperfection of reality and turned to the cult of reason, which developed into a complete system of aesthetics. The paintings of N. Poussin, the leading representative of French classicism, are distinguished by their precise composition, severe style, and clarity of plastic form. They reflect the ideal of the free man who lives in happy union with the rational laws of nature. C. Lorraine idealized nature in profoundly lyrical idyllic landscapes.
In the late 17th century, C. Le Brun dictated French artistic life and set the rules for the grand manner. He also supervised the lavish ornamentation of palaces in Paris and Versailles. In the second half of the century, partly under Champagne’s influence, portraits of the nobility radiated magnificence and splendor. The two leading portraitists of the period were H. Rigaud and N. de Largillière. Engraved portraits and reproductions, for example, the works of R. Nanteuil, G. Audran, and G. Edelinck, attained a high level of mastery. Works of sculpture, mainly decorative statuary and portraits, were also executed according to the requisites of the grand manner. However, the genre was dominated by classical tendencies, notably the works of F. Girardon and A. Coysevox. P. Puget’s sculptures are charged with drama and a somewhat coarse vitality. Works of decorative applied art were also marked by opulence and splendor, for example, the inlaid furniture of A. C. Boulle, tapestries, and jewelry.
The grand manner declined in the first half of the 18th century. An important factor in this process was the design of elegant hôtels for the nobility and bourgeoisie. While retaining a rather severe external appearance, these buildings had comfortable, intimate interiors in the refined rococo style; a fine example is the Hôtel de Soubise in Paris (c. 1735, architect G. G. Boffrand). In urban planning during the same period, principles that had been formulated earlier were further developed, notably at Versailles. City planners in various cities designed formal radial streets and series of squares. Outstanding examples include the regular network of streets and squares in Bordeaux, especially the Place de la Bourse (begun 1728, architect J. Gabriel), the ensemble of three squares in Nancy (1752–61, architect E. Here), and the Place Louis XV in Paris (now Place de la Concorde; 1754, architect J.-A. Gabriel).
In the second half of the 18th century the worsening crisis of absolutism led to the development of enlightened classicism, stressing sobriety and logic in architectural planning, as well as simplicity and naturalness of form. Structures in the classical style include hôtels with small, comfortable rooms, churches, palaces, theaters, public buildings, and various service buildings on estates. Of special note are the Church of Ste. Geneviève in Paris (now the Panthéon; 1758–90, architect J. G. Soufflot), the Petit Trianon Palace in Versailles (1762–64, architect J.-A. Gabriel), the Grand Theatre in Bordeaux (1773–80, architect V. Louis), and the Ecole Militaire in Paris (1751–75, architect J.-A. Gabriel).
The character of the representational arts was typified by the exquisitely lyrical landscapes of A. Watteau, which evoked an entire world of subtle emotions by means of the whimsical, musical quality of their compositional rhythms and their palette. The decorative refinement of Watteau’s works had a certain influence on the rococo style, which evolved in the 1720’s and 1730’s in direct connection with the principles of architectural decoration. The works of F. Boucher, C. Van Loo, and N. Lancret, for example, include panels, carpets, and overdoors ornamented with mythological scenes, allegories, and fêtes galantes. With the most delicate colors they depict human figures in coquettishly mannered poses. They are openly hedonistic and often have erotic overtones but at the same time are filled with subtle poetry.
The sculpture of the first half of the 18th century included works in the traditional monumental style of the Versailles school, for example, those of G. Coustou and E. Bouchardon, as well as rocaille decorative sculpture, for example, the works of J. B. Le Moyne. Democratic views were embodied in the works of “the painter of the Third Estate,” J. B. Chardin, which are noted for their ability to express lyrical emotion and for their clear composition. Democratic tendencies are also evident in the analytically precise portraits of M. Q. de La Tour, the emotionally appealing images of J. B. Perroneau, and the inspired sketches of scenes from Parisian life by G. de Saint-Aubin.
In the mid-18th century, thinkers of the Enlightenment appealed to artists to become socially responsible and to use art as a means of improving human mores. This led to radical changes of the classicist ideals and to the development of a sentimental and moralizing trend, for example, the works of J. B. Greuze. The increased interest in nature stimulated the development of landscape painting, represented by J. Vernet, L. G. Moreau the Elder, H. Robert, and partly H. Fragonard, whose genre scenes and portraits are marked by a sincerely poetic, emotional perception of reality.
The main current in art in the second half of the 18th century was determined by the spread of classicism. At first works in this style were intimate and lyrical, for example, the paintings of J. M. Vien and, to some extent, the sculptures of J. B. Pigalle and E. M. Falconet. As social antagonisms were intensified, classicist works came to express the desire for immediate change that seized the French nation on the eve of the revolution. The mood of the people was captured in J. A. Houdon’s courageous, severe, and psychologically profound sculptures. The civic zeal of classicism became truly revolutionary in J, L. David’s paintings. In decorative applied art the whimsical and refined forms of rococo yielded in the mid-18th century to more severe and restrained forms in interior decoration, furniture, jewelry, and ceramics. New genres that developed during the French Revolution included political cartoons and caricatures, works of porcelain on political themes, and stage design for revolutionary mass festivities.
As early as the late 18th century, architects were attempting to create a new Utopian architecture. Of special interest are the fantastic designs of E. L. Boullée, C.-N. Ledoux, and J. Le Queulx. These attempts clearly revealed certain tendencies rooted in the classicism of the second half of the 18th century; architects deliberately upset classical proportions, making their designs conform to the principles of geometry and functional utility. The public buildings of the Napoleonic empire were ostentatious and triumphant in character. Outstanding works of the Empire style in Paris include the Church of La Madeleine (1806–42, architect A. Vignon), the Arch of Triumph on the Place de l’Etoile (now Place De Gaulle; 1806–37, architect J. F. Chalgrin), and the Vendôme Column (1806–10, architects J. B. Lepère and J. Gondouin). At the same time the design of strictly functional buildings for utilitarian use became very important.
Large-scale reconstruction works were carried out in Paris in the mid-19th century, most of them directed by G. E. Haussmann, prefect of the department of the Seine. Amiens, Nantes, Orléans, Toulouse and other cities were partially rebuilt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The structures erected in the second half of the 19th century were in the eclectic style, such as the Opéra and the Sacré Coeur Basilica (begun 1875, architect P. Abadie), both in Paris. However, a new, rational view of architectural design derived from eclecticism was promoted by E. Viollet-le-Duc and H. Labrouste. New types of public and commercial structures developed, such as covered markets, department stores, shop arcades, railroad stations, libraries, elevators, and depots. Notable examples in Paris include the Bibliothèque Ste. Geneviève (1843–50) and the Bibliothèque Nationale (1861–69), both designed by Labrouste, and the Eiffel Tower. At the turn of the 20th century numerous structures in the art nouveau style were built, for example, G. Guimard’s works in Paris, including the city’s subway stations (c. 1900) and the Castel Béranger (1897–98). Reinforced concrete came into use in the 1860’s.
By the early 19th century, classicism in the representational arts had lost its revolutionary fervor and degenerated into a pompous and cold academism, for example, David’s later canvases and the works of P. N. Guérin and F. Gérard. The heroic passion of the early works of A. Gros rang false as the artist turned to the idealization of Napoleon I. The techniques and devices of classicist painting clashed with romantic themes in the works of A. L. Girodet-Trioson and in some works of P. Prude’hon. J. A. D. Ingres stubbornly maintained the traditions of classicism in his paintings on Greek and Roman themes, striving to create an abstract harmonious ideal. However, in his portraits he revealed brilliant artistry, especially in his compositional use of lines, and made use of his extremely keen observation.
During the Restoration and the July Monarchy a school of romanticism evolved in bitter opposition to classicism. Romantic painters included T. Géricault and E. Delacroix. The most brilliant examples of romantic sculpture are F. Rude’s relief La Marseillaise on the Arch of Triumph, P. J. David d’Angers’s portrait sculptures, and A. L. Barye’s animal works.
The rift between different artistic trends widened by the late 1830’s. Pseudoclassicist salon art, for example, the works of T. Couture, gained popularity. The canvases of H. Vernet and the melodramatic historical pictures of P. Delaroche and E. Meissonier are marked by superficial romantic effects. This trend was opposed by the later romantics, who realistically depicted society and nature. As a result, the painting of genre scenes, portraits, and especially landscapes developed further. The unpretentious beauty of the French countryside was rediscovered by the landscape painters G. Michel and P. Huet. Landscape painting reached its highest level in the works of the masters of the Barbizon school, including T. Rousseau, J. Dupré, N. Diaz, C. F. Daubigny, and C. Troyon, and in the subtle and inspired works of C. Corot. The works of H. Daumier and some graphic works of P. Gavarni are significant for their sociopolitical content.
The Revolution of 1948 had a powerful democratizing impact on the intellectual life of France and inspired the greatest representatives of critical realism. The work of G. Courbet and J. F. Millet expressed sympathy for the wretched condition of the working people, whom they depicted truthfully, with simplicity and poetic beauty.
After the Bonapartist coup d’etat of 1851, when reactionary forces were on the offensive, democratic art lost much of its militant social commitment. In the 1860’s the realist innovations of E. Manet were the central focus of the country’s artistic life. Manet depicted the beauty of the everyday life of his contemporaries. Manet’s work had a significant effect on impressionism, which developed in the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. Outstanding painters of the impressionist school included C. Monet, C. Pissarro, and A. Sisley. The organic unity of man and his environment is embodied in the buoyant, lucid, optimistic works of A. Renoir and in the works of E. Degas, who sometimes expressed a bitter irony.
The most remarkable works of sculpture of the 1850’s and 1860’s are the decorative, clear, and cheerful figures of J. B. Car-peaux, the dynamic, severe images of working people by A.-J. Dalou, and the expressive grotesques of Daumier. The most brilliant French sculptor of the last quarter of the 19th century was A. Rodin, who rejected the cold, abstract nature of academism, infusing his work with heroism, drama, and psychological tension.
By the mid-1880’s, several artists tried to modify the principles of impressionism or to overcome its limitations. The main painting trends of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are collectively referred to as postimpressionism. Neo-impressionists such as G. Seurat and P. Signac applied the latest discoveries in optics to art, creating the schools of divisionism and pointillism. Various versions of symbolism developed at more or less the same time as impressionism. The symbolists, who included P. Puvis de Cha-vannes, G. Moreau, O. Redon, and M. Denis, influenced the development of art nouveau. This style, represented by the Nabis in the representational arts and by E. Gallé and R. Lalique in decorative applied art, combined the poetics of symbolism with a strong emphasis on the decorative use of form.
The works of realist artists, such as J. Bastien-Lepage, L. Lhermitte, and J. F. Raffaeli, were on the whole devoid of social criticism. Social comment was typical only of the masters of political cartoons, such as T. Steinlen, and caricature, for example, J. L. Forain. The works of prominent postimpressionist artists reflect their painful and contradictory search for stable intellectual and moral values and for new means of expression. This is true of the impassioned paintings of V. Van Gogh, which are pervaded by a great love for man, as well as the psychologically intense pictures of P. Cézanne, the flatly decorative and symbolic Tahitian idylls of P. Gauguin, and the bold scenes of Parisian life by H. de Toulouse-Lautrec.
In the early 20th century the architect T. Garnier formulated various concepts that led to the regularization of urban construction. A. Perret defended the aesthetic value of the reinforcedconcrete skeleton, specifically its plastic and spatial possibilities; he applied his ideas in the construction of an apartment block on Rue Franklin (1903) and the Theatre des Champs-Elysées (1911–13), both in Paris. The main principles of a new architecture were formulated in the 1920’s and 1930’s. They included the functional and structural reinterpretation of forms and the common use of concrete, glass, and steel. Such innovative principles influenced Le Corbusier in his proposal of five points of new architecture and were embodied in the Villa Savoye in Poissy near Paris (1929–31, architect Le Corbusier) and the school complex named after K. Marx in Villejuif near Paris (1931–33, architect J. Lurçat).
Nevertheless, innovative structures remained exceptions, and neotraditionalist buildings dominated the architectural scene, for example, the Palais de Chaillot in Paris (1936, architect L. Azéma). The construction of such buildings was discontinued only after World War II (1939–45), when architects were faced with the task of rebuilding cities destroyed during the war, for example, the port section of Le Havre (1947, architect A. Perret). The large-scale construction of housing was undertaken in the mid-1950’s. New designs included freely arranged ensembles of four- to five-story buildings and residential towers. Major projects were executed in the center of cities, such as Mourenx in the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (1958–60, architect R. Coulon) and industrial settlements, for example, Vert near St. Etienne (begun 1953, architects A. Sive and M. Roux). However, most construction was done on the outskirts of large cities.
Attempts were made to soften the harshness of regular urban planning by using undulating walls in the residential complexes of the Cité de l’Abreuvoir and the Cité des Courtilières near Paris (1959–61, architect E. Aillaud), incorporating public buildings of unusual design in residential complexes, for example, Aillaud’s kindergarten in the Cité des Coutilières, and employing striking silhouettes. These attempts were only partially successful.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, much new construction was undertaken in the suburbs of Paris and in Paris itself.
The public buildings and churches erected by Le Corbusier in the 1960’s, such as the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Rondchamp, and the series of works he did in India from 1950 to 1957 had a considerable influence on world architecture. In Le Corbusier’s buildings, inner space is subordinated to the complex harmony of irrationally combined elements. Light aluminum and steel structural members, suspended panels, and double-curvature vaults and shells are used in public buildings of various types and diverse architectural appearance. Bold approaches to engineering and design distinguish several modern structures in Paris, for example, the hall of the National Center for Industries and Technology (1958; architects R. Camelot, J. de Mailly, and B. Zehrfuss, engineer N. Esquillan), the UNESCO building (1953–57, architects M. Breuer and B. Zehrfuss), and the Office of French Radio Broadcasting and Television (1959–63, architect H. Bernard). Remarkably expressive monuments have also been built, for example, the Memorial to the Victims of the Fascist Concentration Camps on the Ile de la Cité in Paris (1961, architect H. Pingusson).
Painters and sculptors have continued to lose interest in social themes and the solution of current problems. Many have become preoccupied with artistic form, often making it an end in itself. Artistic trends, often diametrically opposed to one another, appear and disappear with kaleidoscopic speed and variety. Many foreign artists come to Paris, and their works have become an integral part of the history of French art. P. Picasso, for instance, belongs to the school of Paris. Paris itself remains one of the leading international centers of bourgeois art and of the capitalist art market.
The fauvists, active from about 1905, were headed by H. Matisse and included A. Marquet, G. Rouault, A. Derain, M. de Vlaminck, and R. Dufy. Cubism came to the fore in 1907 and was represented by P. Picasso, G. Braque, and J. Gris.
Surrealism gained popularity after World War I (1914–18). World War II was followed by the spread of various currents of abstract art. Prominent abstractionists include A. Manessier, P. Soulages, S. Poliakoff, and G. Mathieu. Other trends include op art, for example, the works of V. Vasarely; pop art; and kinetic art, represented by N. Schoffer. In the 1970’s, French artists turned from abstractionism to various types of figurative art, such as hyperrealism.
French art on the whole has always remained true to the humanist traditions of artistic culture. The works of M. Utrillo, for example, maintained these traditions. The progressive trends of French art were strengthened by the many artists active in the Resistance and in the struggle for peace and democracy. Of special importance are the impassioned protest of artists against war and fascism and their concern with the international struggle for peace and with the life of the working people. These themes are typical of many works of P. Picasso and F. Léger. A neorealist movement, represented by B. Taslitzky and A. Fougeron, arose after 1945. Great successes have been achieved in the art of caricature, notably by J. Effel. Discontent and disenchantment are manifest in the ascetic painting of the miserabilists, for example, B. Buffet.
The traditions of humanist art are also strong in sculpture. They are evident in the heroic and dramatic works of E. A. Bourdelle; the harmonious sculptures of A. Maillol; the psychologically expressive portraits of J. Bernard, C. Despiau, and M. Gimond; the socially-oriented works of G. Salendre; and the monuments of F. Salmon, which are filled with heroic pathos.
France has remained a leading center of the art industry, for example, in the design of clothing, furniture, tapestries, ceramics, and objects of glass and metal.
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Basdevant, D. L’Architecture française des origines à nos jours. Paris, 1971.
French folk songs, which form the basis of France’s musical culture, are rooted in the ancient folklore of the Celtic, Gallic, and Frankish tribes that lived in what is now France. Surviving visual depictions and literary materials attest to the important role that music and dance played in social and family life and in religious rites.
French folk songs are characterized by an elegant and free melodic line, a close relationship between words and music, and a clearly defined structure. The typical meter of the French folk song is 6/8, although dance music is generally in 2/4; the predominant modes are the major and the natural minor. Refrains often contain nonsense syllables. Ancient folk song genres include laments, dance songs, drinking songs, shepherds’ songs (pastourelles), love songs, wedding songs, and the songs of the various trades.
Various provinces have their own distinctive songs. The songs of northern France reflect the influence of the Norman and Breton cultures; those of southern France have been influenced by Spanish and Basque music. Folk songs often describe historical events, military campaigns, and peasant uprisings against the feudal lords. Among the earliest folk songs is the chanson de geste, a distinct genre of epic poem associated with religious legends and sung to a constantly repeated refrain. This genre, a product of the Catholic Church, derived from the intoning of saints’ lives. It has been suggested that the Cantilène de Sainte-Eulalie and other early medieval poetic works, notably the renowned Chanson de Roland, were set to music and chanted.
Beginning in the early fourth century folk refrains came into increasing use in the religious services of the Christian Church, which adapted them to the Latin texts. In the eighth and ninth centuries the Gallican chant, which was the special music of the Gallican rite, was supplanted by the Gregorian chant. The purpose of the music was to increase the mystical effect of the Latin texts. In time, church music changed substantially, although it retained many elements of the Gregorian chant; these changes included the use of French.
Secular music, which was performed at the court of the Frankish kings and in the castles of the feudal lords, developed simultaneously with sacred music. Choral schools (maîtrises) at monasteries and castles played an important role in the development of music in the ninth century. These schools gave instruction in voice and instrumental performance and formulated rules of composition. The Monastery of St. Martial, in Limoges, occupied a special place in the history of French music. By the tenth century the parts of the mass were established. Folk music underwent development by minstrels and jongleurs, who performed narrative ballads and didactic and humorous songs; their performances were often accompanied by joyous dancing to the sound of vertical flutes, lutes, and percussion instruments.
The musical poetry of wandering bards, or troubadours, flourished from the 11th to 13th centuries. The troubadours included Count Guillaume IX of Aquitaine, Bernart de Ventadorn, Bertrán de Born, J. Rudel, and G. Riquier. Although this musical poetry emerged under Provençal feudalism, it spread to northern France, where the tradition was carried on by the trouvères. The troubadours and trouvères glorified the courage and virtues appropriate to the knight and extolled the ideals of courtly love. Their songs and narrative poems, which survived in the oral tradition and greatly influenced French lyric poetry, were taken up by wandering minstrels.
The economic and cultural development of the cities, such as Toulouse, Montpellier, Limôges, and Arras, fostered the rise of urban poet-singers, who left their mark on the themes and genres of the art of the troubadours and trouvères. One of these poet-singers was Adam de la Halle, who composed numerous motets and songs; he also wrote the famous comedy Le Jeu de Robin et Marion (c. 1283).
The development of urban culture lay behind the flowering of polyphony, early examples of which date from the ninth to 14th centuries. As early as the ninth century, church musicians composed works that involved diaphony, or the organum duplum, in which two melodies are heard simultaneously. One of the most brilliant polyphonic composers of this period was the monk Pérotin, who helped found the first school of European choral polyphony, the Paris school.
In the Early Renaissance (14th century) church music gradually freed itself of the rigid standards of the Gregorian chant. Urban culture was enriched by new genres of vocal polyphony. The mystery play emerged and achieved great popularity. The development of folk singing was promoted by religious and secular festivals that included processions, games, and the dancing of jongleurs; these festivals were staged in monasteries and city squares and at the courts of feudal lords and kings.
The humanist musical aesthetics of the Early Renaissance found its most brilliant expression in the work of the composer and poet Guillaume de Machaut, who was a master of polyphony, and the composer, mathematician, and music theorist Philippe de Vitry; both men were leading representatives of ars nova, a progressive movement in music that took its name from de Vitry’s treatise Ars nova. This trend contributed to the development of polyphonic vocal music and greatly influenced sacred and secular music in other European countries. The further development of polyphony is associated with G. Dufay, Josquin des Prez, and J. Okeghem. Other figures of this movement include C. Jannequin, a master of choral polyphony; C. Goudimel, the creator of the Huguenot chant; and C. de Sermisy, whose choral compositions, such as motets and madrigals, remain of artistic value. Of special importance is O. Lasso, a master polyphonist of the Netherlands school; his work links the music of France, Italy, and Flanders.
In 1528, P. Attaingnant founded a music publishing house in Paris that brought out a series of collections of secular vocal works, including folk songs of various French provinces, and instrumental works for wind instruments and the lute, harpsichord, spinet, harp, and guitar; the instrumental compositions were primarily dance accompaniments.
Contacts between French and Italian musicians increased in the 16th and 17th centuries. Developments in the Italian musical theater, in particular, exercised a growing influence in France. In 1581 the Italian Baltazarini (B. Beaujoyeulx) staged in the Louvre the first French ballet, the Ballet comique de la reine, to the music of J. de Beaulieu and J. Salmon. Italian music was propagated with the help of Cardinal Mazarin, who invited to Paris composers and opera companies from Venice and Bologna. The Italians acquainted the French public with the opera, a genre new to France. The reign of Louis XIV was marked by an extraordinarily magnificent court life and the pursuit of luxury and entertainment by the Parisian court and the feudal aristocracy. Musical theaters of various types were established in Paris; they cultivated mainly mythological and allegorical genres in the classical mode. Italian music also influenced the development of homophonic vocal music (seeHOMOPHONY).
In 1659 one of the first French operas, Pastorale, was written by the composer R. Cambert in collaboration with the poet P. Perrin. In 1669, Cambert and Perrin received a royal patent to establish a permanent opera theater, which opened in 1671 as the Royal Academy of Music and Dance (seeGRAND OPÉRA).
In 1672, J.-B. Lully became the theater’s director. With the librettist P. Quinault, Lully developed the classic opera-ballet of the French court; these ballets de la cour were sumptuous spectacles, usually based on love scenes from classical mythology. Lully’s finest operas, or “lyric tragedies,” include Thésée (1675), Atys (1676), and Armide (1686). His style of vocal declamation was of great importance to the French lyric tragedy, and his overtures and dance interludes influenced the development of French instrumental music. Lully directed the court ensemble Les Petits-Violins du Roi, which included an orchestra (the Twenty-four Violins), soloists, a choir, and other groups.
Music for the theater was also written by such composers as M.-A. Charpentier, who wrote the opera Médée (1693), and A. Campra, whose works include the opera-ballet L’Europe galante (1697) and the lyric tragedy Tancrède (1702). Lully’s successors turned the court opera into a potpourri of ballets, dances, and entr’actes. National schools of instrumental music developed simultaneously with the opera; J. Titelouze wrote for the organ, D. Gaultier for the lute, J. Chambonnières for the harpsichord, M. Marais for the viola da gamba, and M.-R. Delalande for the violin.
The early 18th century witnessed a considerable advance in the art of the harpsichord; this advance was primarily associated with F. Couperin, who developed a refined and expressive style, but J.-F. d’Andrieux and J.-P. Rameau also made important contributions. The first symphonies were composed in the mid 18th century by F.-J. Gossec. The opera, however, remained the leading genre in French music throughout the 18th century. Rameau composed such brilliant operas as the lyric tragedies Hippolyte et Aricie (1733), Castor et Pollux (1737), and Dardanus (1739) and the opera-ballet Les Indes galantes (1735). The greatest French composer and music theorist of the 18th century, Rameau formulated the theoretical foundations of harmony and radically renewed the means of musical expression; the weight of historical tradition, however, prevented him from radically reforming the obsolete lyric tragedy.
The emergence of a new genre, the opéra comique, was aided by the bitter polemic between the proponents and opponents of the Italian opera buff a, the former representing bourgeois democratic circles and the latter the aristocracy. This “war of the buffoons” was touched off in 1752, when an Italian opera company came to Paris and staged several opere buffe, including G. Pergo-lesi’s La serva padrona. The progressive trend represented by the new genre was supported by the encyclopedists, whose work was instrumental in formulating a new aesthetics of opera and a new music theory; the encyclopedists included D. Diderot, J. L. d’Al-embert, and, most importantly, J.-J. Rousseau, who composed the first French opéra comique, The Cunning-Man (1752). The opéra comique, which became the leading musical genre, was represented by E. Duni and F. Philidor and by composers who introduced a more serious subject matter into the genre, such as P. A. Monsigny, composer of Le Déserteur (1769), and A. E. M. Grétry, composer of Lucile (1769). Works in this genre were staged at the Opéra Comique, which had been founded in 1715 as a temporary theater at the Saint-Germain Fair; it assumed its present name in 1801.
The ideas of the encyclopedists also played a major role in preparing the way for the reforms of C. W. Gluck, which resulted in a new operatic style that embodied the aesthetic ideals of the third estate on the eve of the French Revolution. The Paris productions of Gluck’s operas Iphigénie in Aulide (1774), Armide (1777), and Iphigénie in Tauride (1779) intensified the struggle between the various trends in opera. The proponents of the old French opera and of Italian opera opposed Gluck and championed the traditional operas of N. Piccinni. The struggle between these two factions, which ended in victory for the adherents of Gluck, reflected the profound ideological changes taking place in France in the second half of the 18th century.
The French Revolution imbued music with a new spirit. Such gifted composers as E. Méhul, Gossec, L. Cherubini, and J.-F. Lesueur came to the fore. The new social function given to music by the revolutionary situation inspired new popular genres, including marches and songs, such as Méhul’s “Campaign Song” and Gossec’s “Song of July 14,” and compositions for multiple choirs and orchestras, such as those by Lesueur and Méhul. Patriotic songs were composed. In 1792, C. J. Rouget le Lisle wrote “La Marseillaise,” which subsequently became the French national anthem.
The revolutionary ideology gave rise to new genres, which included agitational spectacles involving large choirs, such as A. Grétry’s The Festival of Reason, or the Republic’s Chosen One (1794) and Gossec’s The Triumph of the Republic, or the Camp at Grandpré (1793). Another new genre was the rescue opera, which was suffused with the romanticism of the revolutionary struggle against tyranny; notable rescue operas included Cherubini’s Lodoïska (1791) and Les Deux Journées (1800) and Lesueur’s La Caverne (1793).
Revolutionary change also affected musical education. The church schools (maîtrises) were abolished. In 1793, two Parisian institutions, the Music School of the National Guard and the Royal School of Voice and Declamation, were merged to form the National Institute of Music, which became the Conservatory of Music and Declamation in 1795. Paris became an important center of musical education.
Music suffered a relative decline under the Napoleonic empire and the Restoration. The only prominent composer was the Italian G. Spontini. Spontini’s large-scale and sumptuous operas written for the Paris stage, the finest of which is La vestale (1805), reflected the demands and tastes of the time, when art was dominated by the ornate Empire style.
The social upsurge that culminated in the July Revolution of 1830 brought new life to music. The opéra comique was enriched by romantic fantasy in such works as A. Boieldieu’s The White Lady (1825). As the opéra comique became more romantic, its lyricism was heightened, and folk melodies were used more often; this trend can be seen in certain operas by F. Auber, such as Fra Diavolo (1830) and Le Cheval de bronze (1835), and in operas by F. Hérold, F. Halévy, and A. Adam. Adam introduced romanticism to ballet music as well, in Giselle (1841) and The Corsair (1856). In this period, the grand opera came into being; a genre characterized by heightened emotion, elaborate sets, and an abundance of theatrical effects, it was exemplified by Auber’s La Muette de Portici (1828) and the Paris production of G. Rossini’s opera William Tell (1829). The greatest exponent of this genre was G. Meyerbeer, who composed Robert the Devil (1831), The Huguenots (1835), The Prophet (1849), and The African Woman (1865).
In the 1830’s and 1840’s, Paris was a world center of musical culture and attracted musicians from many countries. It was in Paris that the romantic pianism of F. Liszt and F. Chopin was perfected and the vocal art of P. Viardot-Garcia and M. Malibran flourished; many prominent artists performed in the city. The French violinists G. B. Viotti, P. Baillot, P. Rode, and R. Kreutzer rose to fame in the early 19th century, as did the female singers L. Cinti-Damoreau, D. Artôt, and C. Galli-Marié and the male singers A. Nourrit, L.-G. Duprez, J.-L. Lassalle, and V. Maurel. The concerts presented by the Concert Society (founded 1828) of the Paris Conservatory contributed to the city’s rich variety of musical performances; amateur choral societies were founded, such as Orphéon.
French romantic music of the first half of the 19th century found brilliant expression in the works and career of the great composer, conductor, and critic H. Berlioz, the creator of the romantic program symphony (Symphonie fantastique, 1830). Berlioz conjured up monumental canvases, such as his Requiem and the Funeral and Triumphal Symphony (1840), that revived the traditions of the popular art of the French Revolution. He also composed the dramatic cantata (légende dramatique) The Damnation of Faust (1846) and the opera Les Troyens (1855–59). Berlioz was an innovator of form and orchestration and made important changes in the symphony orchestra.
The opéra comique and the grand opera gradually declined in the mid-19th century. The traditions of the opéra comique were carried on in the operetta, a genre characteristic of the Second Empire, which was a period when public taste ran to café performances, theatrical revues, music halls, and the cancan. The French operetta was nevertheless a vehicle for biting satire and topical criticism. A founder of this genre was J. Offenbach, who established in 1855 the theater called Bouffes-Parisiens; his operettas include Orpheus in Hades (1858) and La Belle Hélène (1864). Other works in this genre are C. Lecocq’s The Daughter of Madame Angot (1872) and Giroflé-Girofla (1874), R. Plan-quette’s The Bells of Corneville (1877), and Hervé’s Le Petit Faust (1869) and Mam’zelle Nitouche (1883).
In the second half of the 19th century realism asserted itself in the French opera, and the lyric opera emerged. This genre reached its height of perfection in the work of C. Gounod, the composer of Faust (1859) and Romeo and Juliet (1867). Lyric operas were staged at Paris’s Theatre Lyrique (opened 1851). Other composers of the lyric opera were A. Thomas (Mignon, 1866; Hamlet, 1868), J. Massenet (Manon, 1884; Werther, 1886), C. Saint-Saëns (Samson et Dalila, 1877), and L. Delibes (Lakmé, 1883). Delibes was an innovator who moved toward a fusion of ballet music and symphonic music, notably in Coppélia, or the Girl With the Enamel Eyes (1870) and Sylvia, or Diana’s Nymph (1876). The French realistic opera reached its apogee with G. Bizet. His opera Carmen (1874) and the incidental music to A. Daudet’s play L’Arlesiénne (1872) are marked by a profound rendering of human conflicts, the creation of strong characters, an originality of musical idiom, and a brilliant use of national color.
In the 1880’s France enthusiastically welcomed the music of R. Wagner. The 1890’s, however, saw a reaction against the domination of Wagnerian ideas in music. Composers and the democratic public called for a distinctly national art and for works drawn from the life of the common people. Soon there appeared G. Charpentier’s Louise (1900) and A. Bruneau’s operas, such as L’Attaque du moulin (1893) and Messidor (1897), based on plots from the fiction of E. Zola. These highly successful works represented naturalism in French music, a trend that was influenced by verismo.
The Société Nationale de Musique (founded 1871), which included musicians of various artistic schools, called for a rejuvenation of music and the assertion of national traditions. The leaders of the society made a great contribution to the development of symphonic, chamber, and vocal music; in addition to Saint-Saëns, who was a master of instrumental music, and C. Franck, who was a composer and organist and an exponent of a classical romanticism, they included G. Fauré, E. Chabrier, E. Chausson, V. D’Indy, and E. Lalo.
The concert schedule became busier during this period, and excellent symphony orchestras were founded by a number of conductors. In 1861, J. Pasdeloup founded the Concerts Populaires de Musique Classique (renamed Concerts Pasdeloup in 1920); in 1873, E. Colonne founded the Concert National (renamed Concerts du Châtelet in 1874; later known as Concerts Colonne); and in 1881, C. Lamoureux founded the Société de l’Harmonie Sacrée (renamed the Nouveaux Concerts in 1881 and Concerts Lamoureux in 1897). Writers and critics active in the second half of the 19th century included A. Lavignac, J. Combarieu, J. Tiersot, H. Prunières, and R. Rolland.
France is the birthplace of the “Internationale,” which was sung for the first time at a workers’ holiday in Lille; the lyrics were written by the poet and Communard E. Pottier, and the music was composed by the worker and musician P. Degeyter. The music hall, a flourishing French institution, served as a platform for pointed social satire. Music hall singers were popular; V. I. Lenin often heard G. Montegus perform and praised him highly.
At the turn of the 20th century, impressionism emerged in French music. The founder and most brilliant exponent of this new movement was C. Debussy, whose innovative works—such as the opera Pelléas and Mélisande (1902) and the orchestral compositions Nocturnes (1897–99), Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1892–94), and La Mer (1903–05)—greatly influenced 20th-century music. Impressionist elements are also found in such works of the great French composer M. Ravel as the orchestral work Bolero (1928), the ballet Daphnis et Chloé (1911), and the operas L’Heure espagnol (1907) and L’Enfant et les sortilèges (1925). The art of Ravel played a special role in altering the tonal and harmonic means of expression of symphonic music and music for the piano. Impressionism had some influence on P. Dukas, who composed the opera Ariane and Bluebeard (1907) and the symphonic scherzo The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1897), and on A. Roussel, who produced symphonic and chamber compositions and the opera-ballet Padmâvatî (1918).
After World War I such movements as neoclassicism, expressionism, and constructivism became established in French music. E. Satie, the prophet of constructivism, and the dramatist and painter J. Cocteau led a movement of young composers who objected to impressionist refinement and called for an art of everyday life. The followers of Satie and Cocteau included the six composers A. Honegger, D. Milhaud, F. Poulenc, G. Auric, L. Durey, and G. Tailleferre, who founded the creative association Les Six. The members of Les Six were considerably influenced by I. F. Stravinsky and by the new sounds and rhythms of American jazz, which had just reached Europe. Despite their fascination with urbanism and constructivism, an interest reflected in Honegger’s orchestral work Pacific 231 (1923) and Milhaud’s song cycle Machines agricoles (1919), the members of Les Six retained their artistic individuality; their experiments often branched out in opposite directions.
In the 1930’s the composers of Les Six joined the antifascist Popular Front and were active in the National Musical Federation (founded 1935), a progressive democratic organization that directed workers’ choruses and popularized political songs for the masses and French folk music. The federation was headed by Roussel, C. Koechlin (subsequently a founder of the society France-USSR), Durey, Milhaud, Auric, Honegger, and Pruni-ères and by such writers as L. Aragon, J. R. Bloch, and L. Moussinac. The musical traditions of the French Revolution were revived: French revolutionary songs for the masses, such as “La Marseillaise,” were included in operas, and large-scale open-air spectacles were staged, such as Honegger’s mystery play Joan of Arc at the Stake (staged 1938).
New composers of the 1920’s and 1930’s included J. Ibert, C. Delvincourt, G. Migot, J. Rivier, R. Loucheur, H. Sauget, and E. Bondeville. The group La Jeune France was founded in 1935 (first concert and manifesto, 1936). It assumed the task of countering constructivism and academism with a living music pervaded by humanism. In addition to O. Messiaen, a master of chamber and vocal music, whose works are often associated with religious and mystical themes, the group included A. Jolivet, D. Lesur, and Y. Bodrier. The group disbanded during World War II.
French musical life came to a standstill during the fascist occupation. Progressive composers devoted their creative work to the struggle against the enemy; music of the struggle included Resistance songs, Auric’s Quatre chants de la France malheureuse, and Poulenc’s Figure humaine. Some members of the French intelligentsia retreated into an extreme individualism or sought salvation in religion.
French musical life was rejuvenated after the war. Parisian theaters revived French operas and ballets, and concert halls featured previously banned works by French composers. New works were written by Messian, Poulenc, Milhaud, Jolivet, Sauget, Auric, Lesur, J. Françaix, M. Landowski (director of music of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 1966), and H. Dutilleux.
In the late 1940’s composers turned their attention to abstract and technological systems of composition, such as musique concrète and dodecaphonic, serial (seeSERIAL MUSIC), aleatoric, and electronic music. The composer and conductor P. Boulez, a prominent representative of the avant-garde, organized and directed the Domaine Musical concerts (founded 1954, directed from 1967 to 1973 by the composer and conductor G. Amy), which were devoted to the new music. This center of avant-garde music became a rallying point for composers who represented the latest trends in French music, such as P. Mefano, C. Ballif, J.-C. Eloy, L. Ferrari, F. Miroglio, M. Constant, and B. Jolas. Many of these composers, after mastering the principles of serial music formulated by Boulez, moved on to aleatoric music; aleatoric music is based on the “indeterminancy” of musical form, which depends on chance elements. Exponents of electronic music include F. Bayle, B. Parmegiani, and F. B. Mache. Composers of musique concrète include P. Schaeffer and P. Henry. Stochastic music, which is based on mathematical calculations and probability theory and makes use of computers, was created by I. Xenakis, a composer and architect of Greek origin.
Outstanding French conductors of the 20th century include C. Chevillard, P. Monteux, I. Markevich, A. Cluytens, C. Munch, L. Fourestier, P. Paray, C. Bruck, S. Baudo, J. Martinon, and P. Boulez. Prominent pianists include L. Diémer, Y. Nat, A. Cortot, M. Long, R. Casadesus, S. François, J.-B. Pommier, M. Bruchollerie, and M. Aatz. Other noteworthy performers are the violinists J. Thibaud, Z. Francescatti, and G. Neveu; the cellists P. Fournier and P. Tortelier; the organists C. Tournemire, C. Widor, M. Dupré, and M. Duruflé; and the singers D. Duval, R. Crespin, and J. Giraudeau. Variety artists include A. Bruant, M. Chevalier, Mistinguett, E. Piaf, S. Reggiani, J. Bécaud, C. Trénet, J. Brassens, and M. Mathieu. Musicologists include L. de La Laurencie, R. Dumesnil, E. Vuillermoz, A. Goléa, P. Landormy, N. Dufourcq, F. Lesure, J. Chailley, V. Federov, B. Gavoty, and R. Hoffmann.
Musical culture flourishes in the major French cities, where new musical and theatrical institutions are being established. Music festivals are held in Paris, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Strasbourg, Besançon, Bordeaux, Tours, Rouen, and La Rochelle.
Paris, a world music capital, has numerous musical institutions, including the Grand Opéra. The Opéra Comique closed in 1972 but reopened in 1973 as a studio where young performers mount experimental productions. The Théâtre des Nations (founded 1954) holds performances in various theaters, including the Théâtre des Champs-Elysees; it presents opera, ballet, drama, and performances by ethnic ensembles from many countries. Paris has five symphony orchestras, including the Orchestre de Paris (founded 1967). Concerts are given in the Gaveau, Pleyel, and Olympia halls. In 1975 the Palais de Congrès began presenting symphony orchestra and choral concerts. France’s principal music schools are located in Paris, including the Paris Conservatory, the Schola Cantorum (founded 1894), and the Ecole Normale de Musique (founded 1919). Also located in Paris are major recording companies and musical societies, the National Music Committee of France, and UNESCO’s International Music Council.
International music competitions held in France include the M. Long-J. Thibaud Competition for violinists and pianists (founded 1943 as a national competition; an international competition since 1946), a vocalists’ competition in Toulouse (since 1954), a young conductors’ competition in Besançon (since 1951), and a guitarists’ competition sponsored by French radio and television (founded 1951 as a national competition; an international competition since 1961).
Music journals include La Revue musicale (since 1827), Revue de musicologie (since 1917), Journal musical français (1951–73), Le Courrier musical de France (since 1963), Diapason (Boulogne, since 1956), and Musique enjeu (since 1970).
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Combarieu, J. Frantsuzskaia muzyka XVI veka. Moscow, 1932. (Translated from French.)
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Radiguer, H. Frantsuzskie muzykanty epokhi Velikoi frantsuzskoi revoliutsii. Moscow, 1934. (Translated from French.)
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Dumesnil, R. Sovremennye frantsuzskie kompozitory gruppy “shesti.” Leningrad, 1964. (Translated from French.)
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The development of stage dancing in France dates to the 13th and 14th centuries. The first ballet production, Ballet comique de la reine, was staged in 1581 with choreography by B. de Beaujoy-eux (B. de Belgiojoso). This and other such productions of the 16th century were plays with singing and dialogue, in which dancing played an integral part. In the ballet du cour, or court ballet, which arose in the 17th century, dancing gradually acquired greater importance although it was not yet totally separated from the spoken word. The Académie Royale de Danse was founded in 1661 for the purpose of regulating and perfecting the art of the dance. The Paris Opéra, where some of the most important ballets in the history of French dance were staged, was founded in 1669.
The ballet evolved into an independent theatrical form in the second half of the 18th century. The court spectacles, with their magical effects and divertissements, gave way to the dramatic ballet, in which the inner conflicts of the protagonists were expressed through the dance. The leading exponent of the dramatic ballet was the great French dance theorist and choreographer J. G. Noverre, who staged, among other works, the tragic ballet Médée et Jason (1776), with music by J. Rodolphe. The choreographer J. Dauberval, a disciple of Noverre, staged La Fille mal gardée, to music by several composers (1789). Prominent dancers of the first half of the 18th century included M. Camargo and M. Sallé, and of the second half of the 18th century, A. Vestris, G. Vestris, and P. Gardel.
The romantic ballet became dominant in France in the 1830’s. F. Taglioni’s stagings of such works as J. Schneitzhöffer’s La Sylphide (1832) and A. Adam’s La Fille du Danube (1836), in which M. Taglioni performed, reflected the contradiction between fantasy and reality. The portrayal of unearthly creatures, who embodied an unattainable ideal, called for new dancing techniques, in particular, dancing on the toes. J. Perrot poeticized and romanticized reality in his ballets, such as Adam’s Le Corsaire and C. Pugni’s La Esmeralda, using images akin to those found in Byron’s poetry and Hugo’s works. One of the most important romantic ballets was Adam’s Giselle, staged in 1841 to choreography by Perrot and J. Coralli. In the 1860’s and early 1870’s major works were choreographed by A. Saint-Léon (L. Delibes’ Coppelia, 1870) and by L. Mérante. With the decline of romanticism in the second half of the 19th century, the ballet declined as well, and by the early 20th century, much of the interest in it was lost.
Interest in the ballet was reawakened in the second decade of the 20th century, after the first Russian Seasons in Paris, featuring M. M. Fokine’s ballets with the dancers A. P. Pavlova, T. P. Karsavina, and V. F. Nijinsky. S. P. Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, which performed in France until 1929, staged ballets to music by the French composers M. Ravel, D. Milhaud, F. Poulenc, E. Satie, and H. Souguet. Sets by P. Picasso, H. Matisse, A. Derain, F. Léger, and other artists determined the character of the productions, such as cubist or surrealist. L. F. Massine, B. F. Nijinska, and G. Balanchine often staged their works in France. Russian dancers, such as O. I. Preobrazhenskaia (Preobrajenska) and L. N. Egorova, opened ballet schools in France. The 1930’s was dominated by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and other companies that were founded on its basis. S. Lifar was artistic director of the Paris Opéra Ballet from 1929 to the early 1960’s (with interruptions) and one of the company’s leading dancers (until 1956). He developed a large repertoire, mainly of his own works, such as Suite en blanc to E. Lalo’s music (1943), G. Auric’s Phèdre (1950), and J. Leleu’s Nautéos (1954). Dancers in his company included L. Darsonval, S. Perreti, Y. Chauviré, N. Vyroubova, L. Daydé, M. Renault, and Y. Algaroff.
In the second half of the 1940’s, young dance artists, seeking to develop new directions in dance and to relate it to contemporary reality, founded their own companies and developed new repertoires. The choreographer R. Petit worked at the Ballet des Champs-Elysées beginning in 1945; later he worked at the Les Ballets de Paris and staged Carmen, to Bizet’s music (1949), and H. Dutilleux’s Le Loup (1953). The ballerina R. Jeanmaire danced in Petit’s ballets. J. Charrat and J. Babilée also founded their own companies. M. Béjart began his choreographic career in the mid-1950’s in his own company, which was renamed the Ballet of the 20th Century and moved to the Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie in Brussels in 1960. Béjart, who continues to work in France as well, has developed a new type of monumental ballet, designed to be performed on a huge stage or in an arena. His ballets include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (1964), Romeo and Juliet (to music by H. Berlioz, 1966), and P. Henri’s Nijinsky, Clown of God (1971). The works of Petit, Béjart, Balanchine, and J. Robbins were staged at the Paris Opéra in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
By the mid-1970’s, two trends emerged in French dance. Adherents of the first trend are primarily interested in the revival of old ballets in their original version, such as La Sylphide and Coppelia. Adherents of the second trend support extensive experimentation by young French choreographers and by foreign choreographers, such as G. Tetley, J. Butler, and M. Cunningham, a representative of the American avant-garde. The Paris Opéra Ballet, rejecting the academism of the Grand Opéra, attempts to follow the mainstream of French ballet, dominated by interest in the latest forms of theatrical art.
Major dance companies of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s include the Ballet-Théâtre Contemporain (choreographer F. Adret; based in Amiens from 1968 to 1971 and in Angers since 1971), J. Lazzini’s Le Théâtre Français de la Danse (1969–71), Ballets Felix Blaska (founded 1969), Les Jeunesses Musicales de France (choreographer P. Lacotte; founded 1962), and Le Théâtre du Silence (founded 1972). There are ballet companies at the opera theaters of Lyon (choreographer V. Biagi), Bordeaux (choreographer V. Skouratoff), and Mulhouse (choreographer J. Babilée). Petit has been artistic director of the Ballet de Marseille since 1972. Prominent ballerinas of the 1960’s and 1970’s include C. Motte, C. Bessy, J. Amiel, J. Rayet, C. Vlassi, N. Thi-bon, N. Pontois, W. Piollet, and G. Thesmar; the leading male dancers include A. Labis, C. Atanasoff, J.-P. Bonnefous, M. Denard, J.-P. Franchetti, G. Piletta, and P. Bart.
Ballet festivals held in France include the International Festival of Dance in Paris (annually since 1963) and the Festival of Avignon.
Scholars of the ballet from the 1930’s to the 1970’s include P. Tugal, F. Reyna, L. Vaillat, B. Kochno, M.-F. Christout, A. Livio, and I. Lidova. Journals of the 1950’s include Dance et rythmes and Toute la danse et la musique; journals of the 1960’s and 1970’s include Cahiers de la dance, Art et danse, and Les Saisons de la danse.
REFERENCESIof’ev, M. Profili iskusstva. Moscow, 1965. Pages 179–200.
Guest, I. The Ballet of the Second Empire. London, 1953.
Vaillat, L. Ballets de l’Opéra de Paris. Paris, 1947.
Kochno, B. Le Ballet: Le Ballet en France du quinzième siècle à nos jours. Paris, 1954.
Christout, M.-F. Le Ballet de cour de Louis XIV. Paris, 1967.
Guest, I. Le Ballet de ‘Opéra de Paris. Paris, 1976.
The French theater originated in the art of the itinerant actors and musicians of the Middle Ages, the jongleurs and trouvères. As early as the ninth and tenth centuries a liturgical drama emerged, based on episodes from the Gospels and performed first inside the church and later in the parvis, an enclosed space in front of the church. In addition to the clergy and parishioners, jongleurs often took part in the performances as well, imbuing them with the lively spirit of a carnival or folk festival.
The realistic and popular nature of the open-air spectacles developed further in the miracle plays and mystery plays. Originating in the liturgical drama, the mystery plays became the most important and widespread form of medieval theater. One of the most impressive and popular mystery plays was the Mystery of the Passion by Arnoul Greban (mid-15th century). Secular mystery plays were staged as well. The mystery plays were performed by guild members and amateur actors from the cities who united into confraternities. The largest of these was the Confraternity of the Passion, in existence from the 1370’s to 1676. In 1402 this confraternity was granted a monopoly in Paris and performed in buildings allotted for its use. It moved to the Hôtel de Bourgogne in 1548 and performed mystery plays, farces, morality plays, and soties (satires). However, that same year the church banned performances of mystery plays, which were becoming increasingly realistic and comic.
Beginning in 1578 the Confraternity of the Passion periodically leased its premises to other theatrical groups. These included the association of law clerks called Basochiens, who braved persecution to give performances caricaturing judges and the church hierarchy, and the confraternity known as the enfants sans souci, whose members included the poet P. Gringore and the improviser J. du Pont-Allais. In 1599, Valleran-Leconte’s troupe, which was France’s first permanent professional company of actors, began performing in the Hôtel de Bourgogne. Its repertoire included tragedies, tragicomedies, and the pastoral plays of A. Hardy; in the 1630’s the company staged plays by J. de Rotrou and G. Scudéry. Farces were performed for the common people by comic improvisers at fairs, among them Gaulter-Garguille, Gros-Guillaume, and Turlupin.
A new era in the history of the French theater began with the establishment of an absolute monarchy in the 17th century and the predominance of the concept of statehood. During this period a fixed system of aesthetics based on Greco-Roman models was developed. Classicism became firmly entrenched in art, and its major representatives in the theater were the tragedians P. Corneille and J. Racine and the writer of comedies Molière. In 1634 the Théâtre du Marais was founded under the direction of the actor G. Montdory; it presented primarily the tragedies of Corneille. Later, in the Hôtel de Bourgogne, productions of the plays of Racine served to develop the talent of the actress M. Champmeslé.
The classical trend determined the style of acting in France in the 17th and 18th centuries and influenced the development of the theater in other European countries as well. The aesthetic ideal was the lofty individual; tragic heroes were endowed with refined, elegant manners and their acting was marked by grandiloquence, an impassioned spirit, sensitivity, and expressiveness.
The classical school of acting gave rise to the creation of distinct character types and integrated productions. At the same time the limitations of classicism were revealed: its idealization of the hero and its disregard for his place in history and his national characteristics. Acting was often stilted and excessively emotional. The realistic traits of the classical manner of acting were most evident in comedy, which retained elements of folk art. Molière, both as a playwright and an actor, sought to portray authentic character types whose traits were typical of his contemporaries. As the head of the theater at the Palais-Royal in Paris, Molière created a new type of theatrical company, comprising actors with similar artistic aims and a realistic manner of acting. The actor M. Baron and the tragedienne A. Lecouvreur continued Moli-ère’s traditions at the Comédie Française, which was founded in 1680 after his death.
Beginning in the 18th century such French humanists as D. Diderot, viewing the theater as an important means for educating the people, sought to establish an Enlightenment drama in France’s principal national theater, the Comédie Française. The tragedies of Voltaire and his followers occupied the foremost place in this theater’s repertoire. The ideals and aspirations of the third estate were reflected in the bourgeois drama (drame bourgeois), whose best examples were written by Diderot, in the tearful comedy (comédie larmoyante), and in the satirical plays of Beaumarchais.
The actor who most fully represented Enlightenment classicism was H.-L. Lekain. Continuing the tradition begun by Baron and Lecouvreur, Lekain sought to combine grandeur with simplicity, and heroism with psychological authenticity. The most outstanding actresses of the 18th century were Dumesnil and Clairon. The actors J.-B. Brizard, F. Mole, and J. R. Aufresne adapted the classical style of acting to the needs of the bourgeois drama by performing in a more realistic and expressive manner. The comic actors Dazincourt and J. B. Dugazon continued the realistic traditions of Molière’s school of acting.
The French Revolution reaffirmed the heroic approach to acting. The innovations of revolutionary classicism and its civic spirit, heroic emotions, and patriotism were most fully revealed in the acting of F. J. Talma. During the Jacobin dictatorship, large-scale theatrical performances on the Champ de Mars and the Place de la Concorde extolled rationalism, the victory of the revolutionary troops, and the feats of heroes; the performances also satirized the revolution’s enemies—the aristocracy and the clergy. The revolution abolished the privileges of the court theater and gave free scope to private theatrical enterprise. In 1791, immediately after the Decree on the Freedom of the Theaters was issued by the Constituent Assembly, 19 new theaters opened in Paris.
The sociopolitical restrictions introduced during the First Empire were unable to hinder the process of democratization in the theater. The profound dissatisfaction of different social groups after the revolution found expression in romantic art. The Comédie Française, despite its outstanding company of actors, was conservative and remote from progressive, innovative trends. The spirit of protest prevalent in the 1820’s and 1830’s that was reflected in the romantic drama and in the realistic plays of H. de Balzac was alien to the actors of the Comédie Française. However, the theater did stage some plays by V. Hugo, A. de Vigny, and A. Dumas père; its premiere of Hugo’s Hernani in 1830 was a major event in the history of the French theater.
The théâtres des boulevards (boulevard theaters), including the Porte-St. Martin, the Ambigu-Comique, the Gaieté, and the Funambules, were instrumental in the development of progressive theatrical art in the first half of the 19th century. The number of provincial theaters increased steadily. In additional to light, entertaining plays, the théâtres des boulevards staged dramas by Hugo and Dumas père, the socially oriented melodramas of F. Pyat, and plays by Balzac. The merry, genuinely native art of such vaudeville actors as P. V. Déjazet, C.-G. Potier des Cailleti-ères, and J. C. Audry developed in the théâtres des boulevards. The greatest romantic actors began their careers in these theaters as well, among them Frédérick-Lemaître, M. Dorval, P. Bocage, and J.-B. Deburau, performers whose acting was marked by strong emotionalism and abrupt contrasts. At the same time a trend toward critical realism was emerging in the French theater. Lemaître’s sharply satirical performance of the title role in the play Robert Macaire, which Lemaître produced in collaboration with B. Antier, was an outstanding achievement. To contemporary Frenchmen, Macaire became a symbol of the bourgeois July Monarchy.
On the eve of the Revolution of 1848 the theme of heroism found renewed expression in the acting of E. Rachel. Rachel revived the classical tragedy at the Comédie Française, stressing an antityrannical motif when performing in such works as Racine’s Athalie. Rachel combined the best achievements of the traditional French school of acting with the freedom and authenticity of emotional expression that the romantic era demanded. The turn to reaction on the part of the bourgeoisie, which had been alarmed by the uprising of the French proletariat in June 1848, intensified conservatism in the theatrical repertoire, as seen in the presentation of plays by A. Dumas fils, E. Augier, and V. Sardou.
The leaders of the Paris Commune of 1871 sought to make the theater an instrument of public education. The political reaction that ensued after the suppression of the Commune led to the decline of the bourgeois theater, whose repertoire came to consist mainly of melodramas and vaudevilles. The acting of the outstanding tragic performers Sarah Bernhardt and J. Mounet-Sully of the Comédie Française was alien to progressive social thought; it stressed technical virtuosity and was marked by academicism and stylization.
The realistic tradition in comedy and drama was continued by E. Gôt and B. C. Coquelin, who skillfully portrayed characters from different social strata and were masters of speech and gesture. On the whole, however, the French theater of the late 19th century underwent an ideological crisis. Even the democratic théâtres des boulevards devoted themselves to entertaining the bourgeois public. E. Zola criticized the contemporary theater, demanded its reform, and appealed for a new realistic drama in articles published in two volumes as Our Dramatists and Naturalism in the Theater.
The actor and director A. Antoine, an ardent exponent of the trend of naturalism that Zola had originated, created profound changes in the French theater. As founder of the Théâtre Libre (1887–96) and the Théâtre Antoine (1897–1906) and as director of the Odéon (1906–14), Antoine sought to present plays that were imbued with a single ideology and that reflected topical issues. The lack of native French dramas dealing with contemporary problems led Antoine to stage mainly plays by such foreign dramatists as H. Ibsen, G. Hauptmann, L. N. Tolstoy, and I. S. Turgenev. The Théâtre Libre achieved its greatest success with productions of Tolstoy’s The Power of Darkness in 1887 and Hauptmann’s Weavers in 1893. In seeking to modernize the French theater, Antoine stressed the importance of the director, whose function, in Antoine’s view, was to synthesize the individual elements of a production and subordinate them to a single ideological and artistic concept. Antoine was opposed to the tradition of actors performing starring roles and introduced the principle of the theatrical company as an ensemble. His views on the theater found adherents among many French directors of the 20th century, and the realistic traditions that he upheld were continued by the actors L. Guitry and G. Réjane.
Beginning in the early 20th century, many attempts were made to establish a people’s theater in Paris and the provinces. Many outstanding French theatrical figures sought to fulfill this aim. In theoretical writings, R. Rolland upheld the concept of a people’s theater.
The symbolist theater developed in France as an antipode to the naturalist theater. In contrast to the naturalist theater’s prosaic portrayal of everyday life, the symbolists created an imaginative world remote from reality and contemporary social problems and sought to portray the inner state of man’s soul. Symbolist plays were presented in the Théâtre des Arts, founded in 1910 by J. Rouché. Rouché was influenced by the innovations of the directors G. Craig, M. Reinhardt, G. Fuchs, and A. Appia, by the French symbolists, and by the theatrical achievements of V. E. Meyerhold. Rouché’s theater was eclectic and marked by modernist overrefinement and aesthetic stylization, but he succeeded in creating a company that included the outstanding directors and actors C. Dullin, L. Jouvet, and J. Copeau.
Copeau, the founder of the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier, was one of the leading figures in the French theater from 1910 to 1930. He rejected both the naturalist mirroring of the details of everyday life and the symbolist alienation from reality. Instead, Copeau favored an imaginative theater that would combine simplified scenic design with profound psychological insight and whose leading actors would portray characters with profound thoughts and feelings. Copeau and his actors and directors believed in the artistic and moral influence of the theater and were motivated by a collective spirit, a desire to attain a high level of quality in theatrical productions, and a distaste for mediocre, commercial art. These traits were also characteristic of the Cartel, an association founded in 1926 that comprised the directors G. Baty, Dullin, Jouvet, and G. Pitoëff. The Cartel staged works by Molière and Shakespeare but focused on the plays of A. P. Chekhov, G. B. Shaw, L. Pirandello, P. Claudel, G. Duhamel, J. Romains, J. Giraudoux, J. Anouilh, and A. Salacrou. In their productions, which were marked by diverse artistic approaches, the directors belonging to the Cartel portrayed the complex and contradictory atmosphere of the decades between the two world wars.
In the early 1930’s, during the growth of the democratic and antifascist movement, and particularly with the victory of the Popular Front, the democratic theater made significant gains. A major event was the founding of the Théâtre National Populaire in 1920 by the outstanding actor and director F. Gémier, who sought to realize in practice Rolland’s theoretical principles regarding the people’s theater. Such prominent French cultural figures as J.-R. Bloch, L. Moussinac, and C. Vildrac sought a new mass audience.
During the fascist German occupation of World War II (1939–45), the French theater almost ceased functioning. Even during this period, however, France’s leading directors staged plays with plots drawn from history and mythology that allegorically appealed for resistance against the fascist conquerors. Examples were Anouilh’s Antigone, directed by Barsacq, Sartre’s The Flies, directed by Dullin, and Claudel’s The Satin Slipper, directed by J.-L. Barrault.
After France’s liberation, the nation’s cultural life rapidly revived. Theatrical figures sought to retain the national theatrical traditions and opposed the government’s indifference to artistic development. The progressive public gave its support to France’s oldest theater, the Comédie Française, where the most outstanding actors and directors of the modern French theater were trained, among them Barrault, M. Renaud, P. Dux, and J.-P. Roussillon.
In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s an extensive network of drama centers and houses of culture was established in France. The actor and director J. Dasté, a follower and associate of J. Copeau, founded the first of the drama centers in 1947 in the small industrial city of Saint-Etienne, near Lyon. New theaters were established in Lyon, Grenoble, Toulouse, Cannes, Bordeaux, and Strasbourg that staged antifascist dramas such as Kruczkowski’s The Germans, Soviet plays such as Vishnevskii’s An Optimistic Tragedy, and plays dealing with the peace movement. Major theaters founded in the Paris suburbs included the Théâtre de l’Est Parisien, the Théâtre Gérard Philipe in Saint-Denis, the Théâtre de la Commune in Aubervilliers, the Théâtre Municipal Romain-Rolland in Villejuif, and the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre. An outstanding group of directors devoted themselves to democratic theatrical art, including R. Planchón, M. Maréchal, G. Rétoré, R. Gerbal, P. Débauche, A. Vitez, P. Chereau, J. Valverde, G. Garran, and M. Sarrazin.
The most important progressive theater at this time was the Théâtre National Populaire (TNP). Between 1951 and 1963 it was headed by J. Vilar, who continued the tradition begun by R. Rolland and F. Gémier of staging plays for the widest possible audience. The outstanding French actors G. Philipe, M. Casares, G. Wilson, D. Sorano, and S. Montfort performed at the TNP under Vilar’s direction. Vilar organized an annual theater festival in Avignon that was first held in 1947, and directed the festival until his death in 1971. Beginning in 1963 the administrative director of the TNP was Wilson, who staged works by such modern dramatists as F. Arrabal and J. Osborne, as well as M. Gorky’s Children of the Sun, J. Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot, and B. Brecht’s Master Puntila and His Man Matti.
In 1972 the TNP closed in Paris owing to financial difficulties. The Théâtre de la Cité in Lyon, whose administrative director is R. Planchón, acquired the TNP’s subsidies and prestige. Its repertoire includes modern French and foreign plays by Planchón, M. Vinaver, and T. Dorst, as well as French classics. The theater’s production of Molière’s Tartuffe by Planchón and that of Marivaux’s The Dispute by P. Chereau, who had been the TNP’s leading director, are notable for their contemporary relevance and their wealth of expressive, meaningful character portrayals. The Théâtre du Soleil, directed by A. Mnouchkine, draws on the folk origins of the theater and stages lively, vivid productions intended for a wide audience. Its presentations of two plays dealing with the French Revolution, 1789 and 1793, have been outstanding theatrical achievements of the 1970’s.
The actor and director J.-L. Barrault has made a major contribution to the development of the French theater. The Compagnie Madeleine Renaud-Jean-Louis Barrault, founded by Barrault and his wife, the actress M. Renaud, presents plays by such 20th-century French playwrights as Salacrou and Claudel. The company performs in a number of theaters, including the Théâtre Marigny, the Théâtre National de l’Odéon, the Récamier, and the Théâtre d’Orsay. In the 1970’s, Barrault has staged philosophical plays dealing with the place of the artist in society; examples are Rabelais, Jarry sur la Butte, and Thus Speaks Zarathustra.
The theater of the absurd of S. Beckett and E. Ionesco exerted a notable influence on the French theater of the 1950’s and 1960’s. It expressed profound disillusionment with contemporary society and a sense of the tragic hopelessness and meaninglessness of life.
Over the past century the Parisian théâtres des boulevards have remained essentially unchanged. The companies of these theaters, which include such celebrated performers as N. Courcel, P. Meurisse, F. Périer, and R. Lamoureux, stage mainly entertaining plays that stress witty dialogue, condescendingly satirize the vices of the contemporary bourgeoisie, and present variations on the standard lovers’ triangle.
The humanist and democratic art of the pantomimist M. Marceau continues a long-standing national tradition and has won recognition in many countries of Europe.
France’s oldest theater, the Comédie Française, maintains and continues the national theatrical traditions. The theater’s company is relatively permanent, whereas other French theaters generally select different casts for each production. The company of the Comédie Française includes L. Seigner, J. Bertheau, M. Au-mont, D. Ivernel, J.-P. Roussillon, and J. Meyer.
In 1954, in order to establish broad international contacts, a number of French theatrical figures founded the Théâtre des Nations in Paris, which has been the setting of international festivals and of productions performed by companies from around the world. Theatrical journals in France include the Revue d’histoire du théâtre (since 1948) and Avant-scène: Le Journal du théâtre (since 1949).
REFERENCESIstoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1956–63.
Gvozdev, A. A. Zapadnoevropeiskii teatr. Leningrad-Moscow, 1939.
Boiadzhiev, G. Teatral’nyi Parizh segodnia. Moscow, 1960.
Antoine, A. Dnevniki direktora teatra. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939. (Translated from French.)
Vilar, J. O teatral’noi traditsii. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from French.)
Dullin, C. Vospominaniia i zametki aktera. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from French.)
Gémier, F. Teatr: Besedy, sobrannye P. Gzellem. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from French.)
Jouvet, L. Mysli o teatre. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from French.)
Zherar Filip: Vospominaniia, sobr. A. Filip. Leningrad-Moscow, 1962. (Abridged translation from French.)
Petit de Julleville, L. Histoire du théâtre en France, vols. 1–5. Paris, 1880–86.
Lintilhac, E. F. Histoire générale du théâtre en France, vols. 1–5. Paris, 1904–10.
Surer, P. Le théâtre français contemporain. Paris, 1964.
Dort. B. Théâtre public. Paris, 1967.
Dort, B. Théâtre réel. Paris, 1971.
The most famous permanent circuses in Paris during the 19th and 20th centuries were the Cirque d’Hiver, the Cirque d’Eté on the Champs-Elysées, the Cirque Fernando, the Cirque Medrano, and the Nouveau Cirque, which had special equipment for aquatic dramas and fairy plays. A wealthy landowner and horseman, Molier, founded a famous amateur circus. France’s many hippodromes also played an important role in the history of the French circus. Since 1976 there has been one permanent circus in France, the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, and a number of tent circuses.
Outstanding French circus performers have included the equestrians P. Cuzent and A. Lejars, C. Loyo, and F. Boucher; J. Leotard, who created the flying trapeze act; the clowns J.-B. Auriol, C. Noiset, the Fratellini brothers, U. Guillaume and A. Frédiani (Antonet and Béby Frédiani), Rico and Alex Bria-tore, A. Porteau, G. Sosman (Pipo), and A. Zavatta; the animal trainer Capellini; the aerial gymnast M. Begary; the juggler C. Bauman, and the acrobat P. Alizé. The journal Le Cirque dans l’Univers (since 1950) is published quarterly in Paris.
REFERENCESKuznetsov, E. Tsirk, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1971.
Halperson, J. Das Buch vom Zirkus. Düsseldorf, 1926.
Serge, M. F. Histoire du cirque. Paris, 1947.
The first public exhibition of the Cinématographe, which was invented by the brothers L. and A. Lumière, took place in Paris on Dec. 28, 1895. On this occasion the Lumières showed several of their short films, including such candid scenes as Arrival of a Train and A Child’s Breakfast and the comic scene L’Arroseur arrosé (A Practical Joke on the Gardener). G. Méliès was a leading figure in the early days of the French motion picture; he introduced special effects into film and created film fantasies (ciné-féeries). An important contribution was made by the company Film d’Art, which attracted prominent playwrights, theatrical actors, and composers to motion-picture work. In the first decade of the 20th century comedies starring M. Linder and the adventure serials of L. Feuillade achieved international recognition. Until World War I, the French film industry, notably the companies Pathé and Gaumont, produced approximately 90 percent of the world’s motion pictures.
In 1919 the director A. Gance produced the antiwar “pamphlet” J’accuse. A. Antoine made film versions of literary works, including Earth (1921; based on the novel by E. Zola) and The Woman From Aries (1922; based on the play by A. Daudet). After the war a group of theoreticians and film-makers, including L. Delluc, Gance, M. L’Herbier, J. Epstein, and G. Dulac, led a movement known as the Avant-garde. The movement opposed the commercialization of the cinema and called for its artistic rejuvenation. Dedicated to formal experiment, the Avant-gardists expanded the expressive means of the cinema. Cinema clubs were established, which publicized the finest achievements of world cinema, including Soviet motion pictures. Noteworthy motion pictures were made by a group of realist directors that had come into contact with the Avant-garde movement but relied on traditions developed in the other arts. These motion pictures included J. Feyder’s Crainquebille (1922) and The New Gentlemen (1928), J. Renoir’s Nana (1926) and The Little Match Girl (1927), and R. Clair’s The Italian Straw Hat (1927).
In the early 1930’s the French film industry turned to the mass production of sound motion pictures. During this period, the leading role in the ideological and artistic development of the cinema was again played by realist directors; important motion pictures included Clair’s Sous les Toits de Paris (1930) and A nous la liberté (1932), Renoir’s La Chienne (1931) and Toni (1934), J. Vigo’s Zéro de conduite (1932) and L’Atalante (1934), L. Buñuel’s Land Without Bread (1932), and Feyder’s Lady With Two Faces (Le Grand Jeu, 1934) and Hotel Mimosa (1935). The work of these directors combined a critique of bourgeois society with a profound realism and a genuine democratic spirit. In the mid-1930’s social consciousness in the cinema was associated with the Popular Front; the Octobre group and the association Ciné-Liberté were formed. Motion pictures typical of this period include Renoir’s The Marseillaise (1938), which was financed by public subscription, and Grand Illusion (1937), a masterpiece of the French cinema. Other works characteristic of this period include Clair’s political satire The Last Billionaire (1934) and J. Duvivier’s La Belle Equipe (1939). The collaboration between the screenwriter J. Prévert and the director M. Carné in the second half of the 1930’s resulted in the poetic realism of a series of motion pictures, such as Port of Shadows (1938) and Daybreak (1939), that reflected the growing tensions of the prewar years. The French school of motion-picture actors, which achieved international renown at this time, included J. Gabin, L. Jouvet, J.-L. Barrault, P. Brasseur, F. Rosay, M. Simon, C. Vanel, J. M. Raimu, M. Morgan, Fernandel, and D. Darrieux.
During the Nazi occupation, French film-makers managed to produce a number of allegorical motion pictures that sounded a call to action and heroic deeds; these films included Carné’s Les Visiteurs du soir (1942) and J. Grémillon’s Heaven Is Yours (1943). The underground Committee for the Liberation of the French Cinema was established in 1943; in 1944 it released La liberation de Paris, which was filmed on the day of the Paris Uprising. Carné’s Les Enfants du paradis (1945) affirmed the finest humanist traditions of a national culture opposed to fascism.
One of the first motion pictures of liberated France was R. Clement’s Battle on Rails (1946), which dealt with the Resistance. Such motion pictures as J. Becker’s Antoine et Antoinette (1946) and J.-P. Le Chanois’s Address Unknown (1950) were imbued with compassion for ordinary people. L. Daquin’s Dawn (1951), which deals with the lives of French miners, recalls the poetic manner of the Italian neorealists. The director A. Cayatte, turning to the theme of justice, posed pressing moral and ethical questions in We Are All Murderers (1952) and Avant le Déluge (1953).
The finest adaptations of classic works of French literature achieved international prominence; they include Christian-Jaque’s The Charterhouse of Parma (1948) and C. Autant-Lara’s The Red and the Black (1954), both based on the novels by Stendhal, and Carné’s Thérèse Raquin (1953) and Clement’s Ger-vaise, both taken from novels by Zola. The artist and philosopher R. Bresson explored man’s courage in A Man Escaped (1956). New actors came to the fore in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, including G. Philipe, Bourvil, J. Marais, M. Casares, L. de Funès, and S. Reggiani.
Most of the motion pictures of the second half of the 1950’s were designed to entertain and were far removed from the country’s social turmoil. Attempts by screenwriters to address crucial problems, such as the Algerian war and class struggle, met with the opposition of producers and ran the risk of censorship.
In the late 1950’s, against a background of declining attendance and a crisis in film production, the New Wave (nouvelle vague) emerged; within a short time, more than 150 new directors appeared, including F. Truffaut, J.-L. Godard, C. Chabrol, L. Malle, and C. Lelouch. A. Resnais’s innovative Hiroshima mon amour (1959) was instrumental in bringing cinematic expression to a new level. Noteworthy musicals of this period include J. Demy’s Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967). In search of a French film hero possessed of strength of character and an inner spiritual unity, film-makers turned to the Resistance and the antifascist struggle in such motion pictures as A. Gatti’s L’Enclos (1961), Clement’s The Day and the Hour (1963) and Is Paris Burning? (1966), and the Franco-Soviet motion picture Normandie-Niemen, directed by J. Dréville.
After 1968 the French cinema adopted a more political stance, as evidenced by C. Sautet’s motion pictures criticizing the consumer society, Y. Boisset’s political films, and B. Paul’s films dealing with the life and struggle of the French working people. Godard’s ambiguous political position veered increasingly at this time toward outright anticommunism. In the 1970’s more motion pictures dealt with social and political problems; these films included M. Drach’s Elise, or Real Life (1970), R. Allio’s A Bad Day for the Queen (1973), R. Vautier’s Twenty Years in the Aurès (1973), P. Aubier’s Marching Song, R. Gilson’s The Brigade (1975), and B. Tavernier’s The Judge and the Murderer (1976).
The French school of comedy in the postwar period is represented by such films as J. Tati’s Jour de fête (1949) and My Uncle, Mr. Hulot (1958), Christian-Jaque’s Fanfan la tulipe (1952) and The Law Is the Law (1958), and P. Etaix’s Le Soupirant (1963) and Yoyo (1965).
French short subjects, which enjoy high prestige, include the poetic motion pictures of A. Lamorisse, notably The Red Balloon (1956); the animated cartoons of P. Grimault; the innovative documentaries (films-essais) of C. Marker; and the sociological motion pictures of J. Rouch.
By the mid-1970’s the cinema had visibly retreated from the important problems of French life. The national film industry came to be dominated by motion pictures, mediocre in form and content, that were designed solely for entertainment. A growing proportion of the motion pictures shown are American and Italian, and restrictive measures taken by the government in 1975 have failed to stem the flood of pornographic motion pictures. In the last 15 years the motion-picture audience has declined by nearly 50 percent.
The most prominent French actors of the 1960’s and 1970’s were J. Moreau, J.-L. Trintignant, J.-P. Belmondo, C. Deneuve, A. Delon, and A. Girardot. The best French cameramen were R. Hubert, A. Thirard, R. Coutard, H. Alekan, and H. Decae. Such film critics as L. Moussinac, G. Sadoul, A. Bazin, and J. Mitry have made important contributions to the history and theory of French and international cinema. In 1943 the Institut des Etudes Supérieures Cinématographiques was established to train directors, cameramen, and editors. Approximately 220 French motion pictures are released annually; in 1975 the figure was 222. Periodicals devoted to the cinema include Cinéma, Cahiers du cinéma, Ecran, and Revue du cinéma. In 1936 the Cinématheque was established, and in 1972 the Museum of Cinematic History was founded.
An international film festival has been held in Cannes every year since 1946, except for 1948 and 1950. In 1976 a national motion picture award, the César, was created; similar to the American Oscar, it is presented annually.
REFERENCESSadoul, G. Vseobshchaia istoriia kino, vols. 1, 3, 6. Moscow, 1958–63. (Translated from French.)
Clair, R. Razmyshleniia o kinoiskusstve. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from French.)
Leprohon, P. Sovremennye frantsuzskie kinorezhissery. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from French.)
Frantsuzskoe kinoiskusstvo: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1960.
Daquin, L. Kino—nasha professiia. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from French.)
Iutkevich, S. Frantsiia—kadr za kadrom. Moscow, 1970.
Bazin, A. Chto takoe kino? Moscow, 1972. (Translated from French.)
Official name: French Republic
Capital city: Paris
Internet country code: .fr (territories’ codes are French Guinea .gf, Guadeloupe .gp, Martinique .mq, and Reunion .re)
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the “Le drapeau tricolore” (French Tricolor), the origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution; the official flag for all French dependent areas
National anthem: “La Marseillaise” by Rouget de Lisle
National emblem: Gallic rooster
National motto: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)
Geographical description: The continental territory is considered “metropolitan France” and is located in western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the United Kingdom; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain.
Locations of French territories are as follows: French Guiana: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname Guadeloupe: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico Martinique: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago Reunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar Total area: 212,741 sq. mi. (551,000 sq. km.)
Climate: metropolitan France: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-tonorthwesterly wind known as mistral French Guiana: tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation Guadeloupe and Martinique: subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average Reunion: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry (May to November), hot and rainy (November to April)
Nationality: noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women); adjective: French
Population: Total including territories: 63,718,187; metropolitan France only: 60,876,136 (July 2007 CIA est.)
Ethnic groups: Metropolitan France: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, African, Indochinese, and Basque minorities
Territories: African, European, mixed African and European, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian
Languages spoken: French 100% (declining dialects and languages in metropolitan France include Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish; French and various Creole patois spoken in territories)
Religions: metropolitan France: Roman Catholic 83-88%, Muslim 5-10%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, unaffiliated 4%; territories: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and others
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