The apparent self-sufficiency of joie de vivre means that, despite the widespread use of the phrase since the late nineteenth century, the concept has rarely been explored critically. Joie de vivre does not readily surrender itself to examination, for it is in a sense too busy being what it is. However, as the essays in this collection reveal, joie de vivre can be as complex and variable a state as the more negative emotions or experiences that art and literature habitually evoke. This volume provides an urgently needed study of an intriguing and under-explored area of French literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the contemporary era. While the range and content of contributions embraces linguistics, literature, art, sport and politics, the starting point is, like that of the term joie de vivre itself, in French language and culture.
This volume will be of special interest to researchers across the full range of French studies, from literature and language to cultural studies. It will be of direct appeal to specialist readers, university libraries, graduate and undergraduate students, and general readers with a lively interest in French literature and culture of the medieval, early modern and broad modern periods. This book's fresh perspectives on the theme of joie de vivre and its relation to questions of privacy, contemplation, voyeurism, feasting and nationhood will also be of relevance to researchers in comparative and cognate disciplines.
Notes on contributors Michael Freeman: joie de vivre, joies du livre I Susan Harrow and Timothy Unwin: Introduction II Rodney Sampson: The joys of Romance III Jane H.M. Taylor: `Balades & Rondeaux nouueaux fort ioyeulx': joie de vivre in a Renaissance miscellany IV John Parkin: Joie de vivre in Des Periers's Nouvelles Recreations et joyeux devis V Richard Cooper: Comic interludes in French Renaissance prose romance: Aldeno's amours in Gerard d'Euphrate (1549) VI Stephen Bamforth : Melons and wine: Montaigne and joie de vivre in Renaissance France VII Richard Parish : `Une vie douce, heureuse et amiable': a Christian joie de vivre in Saint Francois de Sales VIII Edward Forman : `Le carnaval autorise cela': cruelty and joie de vivre in the denouements of the comedie-ballet IX Noel Peacock: `I told you I was ill': joie de vivre and joie de mourir in Le Malade imaginaire X Haydn Mason: The state of happiness? Ancient Sparta and the French Enlightenment XI Patrick O'Donovan: Poetry and the discourse of happiness in nineteenth-century France: the case of Vigny XII Bradley Stephens: `Baisez-moi, belle Juju!': Victor Hugo and the joy of Juliette XIII Helene Stafford : Mallarme et Bachelard: la reverie des mots XIV Richard Hobbs : Ensor's hyperbolic joie de vivre XV Edward Nye: Joie de vivre and the will to win in the literature of cycling XVI Martin Hurcombe: The joy of specs: the power of the gaze in the novels of Sebastien Japrisot XVII Gino Raymond: Rejoicing in the Other: France, England and the case of Major Thompson XVIII Alison Finch: Joie de vivre: the afterlife of a phrase Michael Freeman: list of major publications Index of names