Mankind’s Last Recourse Wallace Fowlie has documented the fact that Giraudoux called himself a ‘‘journalist of the theater.’’ As Giraudoux gauged the receptivity and intelligence of his audience, so did the public evaluate his style and purpose. What they found, says Fowlie, was that ‘‘Giraudoux believed fervently in the cause of
literature. He believed that literature was the last recourse of mankind.’’ Still, some critics questioned his commitment to both art and the concerns he presents in his work. These are the same detractors who criticize his characters as vague, undeveloped creations that confuse allegory, symbol, and reality instead of revealing any kind of truth.
Life’s Truths Giraudoux’s supporters, however, see his legacy as a writer as being due to his treatment of such serious themes as love, death, war, and humanity’s relationship to the universe. According to Robert Emmet Jones:
Giraudoux is the only contemporary French playwright. . . who has created a dramatic world at all comparable to those of the great dramatists of the past. His world contains people of all social classes and all educational levels, and whether they be ancient Greeks, Biblical characters, or provincial Frenchmen, they transcend their times and become as universal in significance as any characters in the modern drama.
Fowlie concurs, observing that Giraudoux’s theater ‘‘reveals to men the most surprising and the most simple truths, which they never fully realize, such as the inevitability of life, the inevitability of death, the meaning of happiness and catastrophe, the fact that life is both reality and dream.’’ Giraudoux, it would seem, remains an important writer because of his distinct and interesting vision of the world.
Responses to Literature
1. Research French theater from 1900 to 1945, noting major authors, literary movements, historical figures, and world events taking place that had an effect on drama during that time period. Create a timeline that displays the facts you have learned. Designate one side of the timeline for people and the other side for literary movements and historical events.
2. Because of the
creative spirit of French literary and artistic movements at the beginning of the twentieth century, many writers were drawn to France—Paris, in particular. Using your library, the Internet, or other available resources, find at least five writers or artists who moved to France to enjoy this creative environment. Why do you think France became such a center of artistic activity at this time? Were any works produced there that could not have been produced elsewhere? If so, what were they? Why could they have been made or published only in France?
3. Compare Giraudoux’s play Tigers at the Gate with ancient legends of the Trojan War such as Homer’s Iliad. How does each work depict the prospect of war? It has been said that Giraudoux used the Trojans and Greeks to parallel the tenuous relationship between France and Germany throughout the first third of the twentieth century. Which do you think Giraudoux intended the Trojans to represent— France or Germany? Why?
4. The premise of Giraudoux’s play The Apollo of Bellac involves a sheltered woman who is told the secret to controlling men: Compliment a man’s looks, and he will do whatever you ask. Do you think this is a valid observation? Why or why not? Do you think the opposite technique would work for a man complimenting women? Why or why not?
5. Why do you think Giraudoux did not begin writing plays until he was in his forties? In your opinion, would Giraudoux have ever written plays if he had not met Louis Jouvet?
Chiari, Joseph. The Contemporary French Theatre. London: Rockliff Publishing, 1958.
Cohen, Robert. Giraudoux: Three Faces of Destiny.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. Fowlie, Wallace. Dionysus in Paris. New York: Meridian
Books, 1960. Ganz, Arthur. Realms of the Self: Variations on a Theme
In Modern Drama. New York: New York University
Press, 1980. Guicharnaud, Jacques. Modern French Theatre: From
Giraudoux to Genet. New Haven, Conn.: Yale
University Press, 1967. Jones, Robert Emmet. The Alienated Hero in Modern
French Drama. Athens: University of Georgia Press,
1962. LeSage, Laurent. Jean Giraudoux: His Life and Works.
Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press,
1959. Raymond, Agnes. Jean Giraudoux: The Theatre of Victory
And Defeat. Amherst: University of Massachusetts
Press, 1966. Reilly, John H. Jean Giraudoux. Chicago: Twayne,
Pages: 1 2
Please do not pass this sample essay as your own, otherwise you will be accused of plagiarism. Our writers can write any custom essay for you!
French playwright Jean Anouilh was an accomplished craftsman Considered among the most important and influential twentieth-century French dramatists, he had a life and approach to literature that were both far from ordinary. While most French dramatists of the 1930s and 1940s not only wrote for the stage but also composed poetry, novels, or essays, Anouilh concentrated exclusively on writing for the stage. Among French Literature in the Age of Reason The Age of Reason, or the Enlightenment, was a period in France during the 1700's following the classical age. Within this time, philosophers placed the emphasis on reason as the best method for learning. It explored issues in education, law philosophy, and politics. It attacked tyranny, social injustice, superstition, and ignorance. This time produced advances The French and English Revolutions THE FRENCH REVOLUTION The French Revolution was effected and caused by many things and people. Some people that had to do with the French Revolution were, Louis XVI, and, Marie Antoinette. Marie played an active role in the Revolution but suffered for her royalist sympathies. King Louis XVI also played an important role in the France 2 Sample essay topic, essay writing: France 2 - 964 words
France is a beautiful and captivating country full of art, culture, and an important historical background. It is in the heart of Europe and is sometimes called 'The Hexagon', Because of it's shape. It is the largest country in Western Europe and covers about 211,200 square Michel de Ghelderode Michel de Ghelderode was among the most influential twentieth-century dramatists working in French, earning an international reputation as an avant-garde playwright. Although he lived his entire life in his native Belgium, Ghelderode achieved his critical and commercial success in Paris. His plays are often set in surreal, dystopic fanta-sylands, peopled by grotesques, dwarves, and marionettes;