© 2004

Teaching the Cult of Literature in the French Third Republic

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Introduction Literature versus Scripture

    1. M. Martin Guiney
      Pages 1-22
  3. Origins: The Revolution and the Republican Cult of Literature

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 23-23
  4. Language and Literature in Primary Education

  5. Literature in Secondary Education: The Question of Latin, the Crisis of French

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 139-139
    2. M. Martin Guiney
      Pages 141-155
    3. M. Martin Guiney
      Pages 157-172
    4. M. Martin Guiney
      Pages 173-203
    5. M. Martin Guiney
      Pages 205-225
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 227-268

About this book


This book explores literature in its role as a sacred text within the confines of 19th-century French primary and secondary education, helping the school to take over the role of spiritual authority from the Catholic Church.


assimilation bibliography church crisis critique education English literature French French literature literature pedagogy revolution sacred text spirituality Third Republic

About the authors

M. Martin Guiney is Associate Professor of French at Kenyon College.

Bibliographic information


"Teaching the Cult of Literature is a highly successful undertaking, one full of rich cultural insights. Professor Guiney's principal objective is to demonstrate the construction and transmission of a specific literary pedagogy during the Third Republic in France. He sheds light on the key issue of nation building and French cultural identity, as well as the role of canon formation during this period. In his analysis of the pedagogy underlying the teaching at both the primary and secondary levels of the curriculum, he shows quite well this pedagogy constituted an urgent national mission and to what extent evangelism was inherent in republican schooling: the literary cult was indeed an integral part of the national cult. This book will surely represent a major contribution to French cultural studies." - Ralph Albanese, Dunavant Professor of French at The University of Memphis

"Teaching the Cult of Literature in the French Third Republic is a wholly engaging and valuable contribution to the cultural history of education, to understanding the emergence of literature as secular scripture - and to understanding contemporary culture wars, in France and in the U.S. Guiney's account is based in extensive scholarship, and also eminently readable." - Peter Brooks, University Professor, University of Virginia