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Stardom in Postwar France

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Volume 12

Polygons: Cultural Diversities and Intersections

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Stardom in Postwar France

Edited by John Gaffney and Diana Holmes

248 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-020-5 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (February 2008)

ISBN  978-0-85745-160-6 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (February 2011)

eISBN 978-0-85745-009-8 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…an excellent volume, original and instructive, for researchers as well as for students, be it in cultural anthropology, sociology of culture or French Studies. For anthropologists adopting a comparative approach, here is an opportunity to find out how Anglo-Saxon colleagues perceive a hexagonal culture from outside.” · Anthropologie et Sociétés

“This strong collection, through its insistence on the import of stardom beyond an array of one-dimensional incarnations of a zeitgeist to consider complex embodiments of specific contemporary tensions and dynamics, succeeds in expanding successfully the consideration of star identities in French studies and provides both fascinating case studies and valuable models for future analysis.” · French Studies

“This highly enjoyable and provocative book convincingly demonstrates that celebrities are pivotal sites for the historical analysis of national identity.  Those figures that attracted public attention were all able to incarnate the aspirations and anxieties that shaped France in the postwar moment.  And it is through examining icons like Bardot, Hallyday, Poulidor, and de Gaulle, the authors insist, that we gain insight into the social concerns of the day. Why the post ’68 era failed, in their view, to produce a similar gamut of stars, remains an intriguing point of departure for future research.” · H-France


The 1950s and 1960s were a key moment in the development of postwar France. The period was one of rapid change, derived from post-World War II economic and social modernization; yet many traditional characteristics were retained. By analyzing the eruption of the new postwar world in the context of a France that was both modern and traditional, we can see how these worlds met and interacted, and how they set the scene for the turbulent 1960s and 70s. The examination of the development of mass culture in post-war France, undertaken in this volume, offers a valuable insight into the shifts that took place. By exploring stardom from the domain of cinema and other fields, represented here by famous figures such as Brigitte Bardot, Johnny Hallyday or Jean-Luc Godard, and less conventionally treated areas of enquiry (politics [de Gaulle], literary [Françoise Sagan], and intellectual culture [Lévi-Strauss]) the reader is provided with a broad understanding of the mechanisms of popularity and success, and their cultural, social, and political roles. The picture that emerges shows that many cultural articulations remained or became identifiably "French," in spite of the American mass-culture origins of these social, economic, and cultural transformations.

John Gaffney is Professor of Politics at Aston University. He is the author and editor of a dozen books on French and British politics and culture.

Diana Holmes is Professor of French at the University of Leeds. She is the author of many books and articles on women writers in 19th and (mainly) 20th century France, including Colette (1991), French Women’s Writing 1848-1996 (1998), Rachilde: Decadence, Gender and the Woman Writer (2001). In film studies, she has co-authored a book on the cinema of François Truffaut, and co-edits a major series on French Film Directors (Manchester University Press). She is currently at work on a study of female-authored romance in 20th century France, and working on gender in Hollywood and New Wave film in the 50s/60s.

Subject: History: 20th Century to PresentFilm and Television StudiesCultural Studies (General)
Area: France


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