Literature is a narration where words flow in the minds of characters created by a writer. The thoughts created to form a flowing story give anyone reading the piece of literature the impression that they are inside the characters mind. This makes understanding every piece of written literature interesting and motivating. Literature varies from writer to writer and from period to period. We also have different genres of literature ranging from poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays, drama, folktales romance, prose and many others.

French literature evolved from what it was in the Middle Ages to what we have today as modern literature. Below are the stages French literature went through to be what it is today.

Medieval Literature

Marie de France

French literature goes back to the medieval times. This was between the 11th and the 15th centuries. There was a lot of creative work then and this period saw many poets, jongleurs and clercs display their literary skills through different genres. Some of the best medieval literature poets during this time were Aube, JeuParti, Chanson and Chant Royal. Also among the medieval French writers, using the old French language was Canticle of Saint and Eulalie. Besides poetry and other written work, there were also theatre genres made up of plays of passion, plays of mystery, plays of morality and plays of miracles.

16th – Century Literature

Works of Guillaume du Bartas

After Medieval literature, there was French Renaissance literature. This was 16th – century literary works, which was the highest level of rebirth or French Renaissance. During this period, there was use of middle French language and people could finally read great works of literary work due to the introduction of printing press.

17th – Century Literature

Jean de La Fontaine

After French Renaissance literature, things changed tremendously in the literary world.  The birth of seventieth – century literature saw many writers and poets with better taste, knowledge and creativity than the renaissance literature writers did. Order and clarity in written work improved and there was better expression and building of characters. Some of the best-known seventieth – century writers are Jean Racine and Madame de la Fayette.

18th – Century Literature

Portrait of Moliere

Thereafter came the eighteenth – century literature when French was going through modernization. Great and prominent playwrights emerged at this time bringing with them interesting literature. Some of the eighteenth – century, literary French giants included Moli

ere, Corneille and Racine.

19th – Century Literature

Proust, Marcel

Nineteenth – century literature followed the eighteenth – century literature. During this period, France had started developing tremendously and there was a heightened thirst for literature. This period saw literary written work start to bloom. It was during this period that a group of French writers popularly known as “Advanced Romantics” started a romantic movement. This they did from the influence of a similar “Advanced Romantics” group of writers that started in Germany, England and Spain. They wanted to change the old way of viewing romance and bring something different into their stories. Their claims that romance lacked reason saw them create romance stories that had imaginations and emotions. During this period, French literature was a great success both at home and internationally. Besides romance, other genres that made nineteenth – century literature stand out were naturalism, poetry and symbolism.

20th – Century Literature

From 1900 to 1999, twentieth – century literature made more turnarounds. Literature got better and some happening in other parts of the world greatly influence literature of the twentieth – century. Some of these were French colonialism of some states, African imperialism, and Algerian independence war among others.

Contemporary Literature

Tristan Garcia’s book Faber, The Destroyer

Today, we have contemporary French literature. What influences Todays contemporary French literatures are events happening from across the globe like the spread of terrorism, unemployment that causes a lot of imbalance in the standards of living, racism and violence seen in many parts of the world. Some of the best-known French contemporary writers are Christophe fiat and Tristan Garcia.

From the medieval periods of the 11th – century to today’s contemporary French literature, there has been a tremendous growth of French literature. Some of the best-known writers in the world today, some of them award winning writers, are French and have put French literature in the map worldwide. As the world moves forward and with the onset of technology, French literature continues to grow every day as there is always something influencing its growth. French novels that touch on romantic literature makes love come out as so passionately. If its nature, one can feel the beauty of it in the writings. Writers express themselves much better today than they did back then.